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Why are popular Muslim women taking off their hijab?

Dina Torkia, Asya Al Faraj, Bushra Sheikh – for the last year three popular Muslim women decided to take off the hijab, which they have been wearing for many years. We will try to figure out. What moved them and where it can lead to?

Dina Torkia (more known to her followers as Dina Tokio) is one of the first bloggers, who began her career on the internet, positioning herself as a blogger in hijab. After the events of September 11, 2001. It was very important to change attitude to Muslim women, who were perceives as the wives of terrorists.

Dina Torkia showed by her example that hijab can be beautiful and stylish, then she created her own line of these headwears, which added to her popularity.

Before announcing her decision about taking off her hijab, she released her book called “Modestly”. In which she told her story, emphasizing that she still associates herself with the religion of Islam. At the end of 2018, Dina decided to share her decision with the public, that she was leaving the ” community of hijab”. She was faced with a huge wave of negativity to her address, up to threats. To counter this, she recorded a video in which for more than 40 minutes she read out the most shocking messages she received in that period. She commented on her decision this way:

“This ‘hijabi’ community is starting to become a very toxic cult.. the obsession & entitlement is appalling.. I’m out”.

By “toxic cult”, she meant that if you are popular, everyone will search flaws in you, and for the slightest mistake, hair out of a scarf, they’ll be ready to throw stones.

Bushra Sheikh is a famous British Muslim fashion designer and a star of the TV show “The Apprentice” on BBC. She had been wearing a hijab until September when she announced her decision to stop. In the article for the British newspaper The Telegraph she says:

“Someone might think that I am making a big ideological statement and oppose the principle of hijab or even religion itself. But none of this is true. It was thanks to my desire to have a genuine relationship with my faith and my public image. So I made a choice. Although my hijab was a big part of my life, it was wrong. I didn’t want to look more religious than I was – authenticity is more important to me than conformity”.

Also, Bushra called the increase of Islamophobic attacks in recent times an important reason for her decision. After one of three such attacks, she acquired a post-traumatic stress disorder, which is usual for military personnel who visited hot spots.

A day after Bushra Sheikh’s story, a video message from the popular Muslim blogger Asiya Al-Faraj was released, in which she, like the previous girls, said that the hijab is no longer part of her.

She began her career like Dina Torkia – promoting the hijab and making it popular for wearing in the society, bringing it to the international level.

Together, Al-Faraj and Torkiya influenced countless Muslim women, including Zahra Walji, founder of Ayah Home, a home decor brand, who grew up in the UK and was the only hijab student in her school in Essex.
“It was so inspiring to see girls of the same age as me paving the way for humble fashion with such confidence and style,” says Walji.

Dina Torkia and Ascia Al-Faraj at one time showed that modern Muslim women are not oppressed while becoming role models for many girls.

No matter how surprising it may sound, the reason why all three girls took off their hijabs is the same: the same as the heroine from our last article – they all lost their identity. Who they are in a scarf, and who they are in their daily lives became two totally different personalities for them.

“I no longer feel the way society sees me,” Al-Faraj says in his video admission.
A Kuwaiti blogger explains that the anxiety that she felt about being in the spotlight of the public negatively affected her health, so the decision for her was deeply personal and related to mental health and her personality.

When you are a famous person, you involuntarily become a leader of opinions. Once they wore a hijab and started to promote a modest fashion, they were an example for many. Their decision to remove the hijab with a high probability can also be the impetus for such conclusions among Muslim women whose faith is not strong enough or, on the contrary, has weakened. After removing the hijab, all three girls continue to wear rather modest clothes and do not talk about their withdrawal from religion. At the same time, one should not be forgotten that each of them, based on their words, has psychological problems.

It is important to consider that a blogger or any popular person is also a person who is characterized by weaknesses, who is just a slave of his Lord. Having abandoned their scarf they, perhaps without even realizing it completely, were estranged from Him. Allah sends us trials to test our resilience. Whoever is weaker will be at a loss. We hope that having understood themselves, these girls, like many others, will return to the path of truth. And Allah knows better.

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