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Modesty in the Workplace - A Personal Account

One of my personal issues regarding struggles around being in hijab occurred when I was registering for my first year of university.
I had to come in before classes start to register for the year ahead. There were a few procedures to follow, one being to take a photo for your student card. I waited in the queue to take my photo. After I had taken it, and my student card was made, they called me back and told me I need to remove the 'thing' on my head. I was really shocked and slightly confused. Why should I remove my hijab? They told me if I'd feel more comfortable they'd accommodate for me by having only females in the room. This made no sense to me and I explained to them that men would be seeing my student card in the future and by sending all the men out of the room in that moment wouldn't fix the problem. The other ladies in the room tried to understand where I was coming from and one of them took me down to their
supervisor.
My husband was waiting for me outside, and as we walked down to the supervisor I called him over and explained to him what was going on. He was just as shocked as I was and we both couldn't believe how intolerant and ignorant they seemed. We proceeded down to the supervisor with positive hopes that the situation would be resolved easily. 'They can't really expect me to remove my scarf.' I thought to myself. To our surprise, this figure of authority, who should've been the most educated and tolerant to other's circumstances and beliefs, he was even more ignorant and stubborn than the people before. He didn't allow either of us an opportunity to explain anything as he went on his rant trying to justify why not only me, but all female students are required to remove their scarf. His argument was weak, misinformed and frankly quite laughable as one of the points he made was that the 'hijab' can easily be changed for another color or style, so how could I possibly be recognized. He went on for a while and then eventually after his lecture my husband got the opportunity to defend the right to wear hijab but was still rudely interrupted by the man in charge. My husband was eventually able to get his message across by saying that anyone can change their appearance even more so, by changing their hair colour or style compared to a Muslim female wearing a different head scarf. He also pointed out that on an international security level female Muslims are not required to remove their head scarf, and then posed the question, what makes this university's security above the international standard of security.
We left the situation completely bewildered and offended by the ignorance level that is still in our community regarding religious rights.


This whole situation especially made me feel uncomfortable and uneasy about starting at a university that seemed to have no regard for my religion or my religious rights.


Fortunately, this issue was resolved and nothing like this has come up since.
I feel it is important that this issue gets addressed as not many people would stand up for themselves.

-Ammaarah Bagus