During a period of time right after my conversion to Islam, I contemplated the idea of wearing hijab. I rushed off to several stores and bought a giant scarf collection that now sits in my dresser. I experimented with the veil, and I was basically a weekend hijabi (I wore it to go to the mosque and to hang out with my Muslim friends). I even tried out niqab after a friend convinced me of wearing it to go shopping. Later on, I decided that neither hijab nor niqab were going to work out for me… In the first place I had a non-Muslim family in Canada who, being immigrants, were trying hard to somehow preserve our Mexican identity (hijab didn’t figure in there). Then, I had the family in Mexico who did not understand my conversion and any physical attribute would have been a point of contention.
Despite many of my fellow Muslim friends’ disapproval, I decided that as a Mexican convert in a Western country I was not ready to commit to this piece of cloth everyone was talking about. Yet, I saw several friends, converts and otherwise, transition from no hijab to all sorts of hijab styles and niqabs. In many cases, hijab and niqab are central to Muslim women’s lives, whether it is for religious, political or personal reasons. And as much as we discuss the rights or wrongs of women who wear hijabs and niqabs, it must be recognized that choosing to wear such a garment is not easy.