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Interesting sociological experiment


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Someone PMed the article to me so I was able to read it. I found it very interesting and though provoking.

 

Osmosis Mom, hijab is a choice not a requirement, right?

 

Oh, yes. Definitely a choice. Islam actually requests you as a teen to decide on your own religious choice as there is no compulsion in our religion (despite all the propaganda *and* extremism... And should I add here illiterate Muslims??).

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Oh, yes. Definitely a choice. Islam actually requests you as a teen to decide on your own religious choice as there is no compulsion in our religion (despite all the propaganda *and* extremism... And should I add here illiterate Muslims??).

Thank you. If you don't mind answering questions could I PM one to you?

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That was very interesting, thanks. I was a bit confused as to why she was so annoyed that most people didn't ask her about it. I would hesitate to ask someone who wasn't a very good friend something like that; I would consider it too personal and probably annoying.

I think that was her point. People are scared to ask. That "fear" (of invading someone's privacy or setting off a fanatic) keeps us from conversing honestly. Without that honesty and conversation false premises live on.

 

Imo, of course ;)

 

ETA, she compared it wearing other religious symbols, but I felt like she didn't really give people a fair shake. I doubt that anyone is more comfortable asking about a cross around someone's neck or any other symbol of faith. There's a silence built of fear, irritation, and LOTS of preconcieved notions that surround religion/religious people. Again, in my opinion :D

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I think that was her point. People are scared to ask. That "fear" (of invading someone's privacy or setting off a fanatic) keeps us from conversing honestly. Without that honesty and conversation false premises live on.

 

Imo, of course ;)

 

Huh. I'm rather fond of my privacy and dislike nosy people. :001_huh:

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Huh. I'm rather fond of my privacy and dislike nosy people. :001_huh:

Right. I don't get into religious conversations, because I like my head on my shoulders. Her article, though, seemed to imply that fear was what kept people from asking (although those she asked said it was too personal to ask about).

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Yeah, as interested as I am, I don't ask bikers about their tattoos either. I'm scared of them, LOL!!!

 

I wouldn't be scared of a Muslim-looking woman with a scarf. I don't think I'd even ask a person I saw occasionally why they started wearing it. I'd just assume they converted.

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I've noticed the same response to Christian women who wear headcoverings and dresses only. I've always assumed that people were by not asking trying to make it not a big deal. So, you're Muslim now, or so you're dresses only now, etc. I've always assumed it was people staying out of private matters.

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I admit, after several years of covering, it has gotten old when people ask why. Sometimes the logical replies are amusing, though. Many Muslims who ask do so by asking where I'm from, rather than if I'm Muslim. When I say "Texas" they get confused. Others will run through religions, and I wind up saying no to every one ("Are you Muslim? Jewish? Christian?").

 

I don't wrap my scarf in a standard hijab fashion (I usually leave my ears and neck bare), but then many of the Somali Muslims who shop in my store wear a headscarf and another shawl across their bodies, sometimes leaving ears free and not entirely covering their necks. I also often wear pants, so I don't look Orthodox Jewish, either.

 

Some days I wish I could wear a khimar like several of the Somali women I work with wear, but it's pretty much a "Muslim-only" look. I think it would be cooler in the summer heat than the sort of head wrap I usually do.

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OK, a few free-flowing comments from me here. For the record, then I have been wearing the hijaab for, what, 23 years now, since age 16 actually when I converted (even though my father was a Muslim, but he wasn't practicing and I had been raised a-religious with a Christian tradition).

 

My scarf and coat used to be "Syrian-style" so that other Muslims would recognize the heritage and actually comment that I must be Syrian. Recently, though, then I have changed style a bit to more nonspecific. That said, then most are wearing their hijaab in so many varied styles that you can't necessarily tell. I believe God tells me to cover up my body-shape and hair incl. ears and neck and only show my hands and face (and possibly my feet). I am not going to get into the discussion of niqaab except that I do believe it is a viable option for the woman *who wants to do it* if she is living in a Muslim country where her facial beauty stands out.

 

I often encounter people who find I am free game for questions. Some people are just plain rude, but others are less complicated people who have a genuine interest or lack of knowledge and just want to know. I'd take that any time that close-minded people who already stereotyped me and gape when I open my mouth and can talk (and I meet those kinds a lot).

 

It doesn't embaress me when kids look and ask, only annoys me when they stare and don't know how to ask instead. I mean they are kids, right? I am the tyoe who usually will ask myself if I am curious. I met a homeschooler two times and saw her wearing a hat and it occurred to me that perhaps she was doing it for Christian reasons. When I had decided to ask her about it, then she wasn't wearing it, though!!! I have an acquaintance who wears a wig (Orthodox Jew) and while I haven't asked her about it, then we do talk religion and religious traditions/similarities.

 

You know, what annoys me truly is how people stereotype based on appearance without bothering to try to get to know the person. I do realize, though, that that issue is part of the territory and most likely a test from God and why not every Muslim gal chooses to wear the hijaab and thus publicize their religious convictions.

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My 8 year old asks me why some people cover their head (if we are at the grocery store, for example). I always tell him to go up and ask them because I don't really now. I'm waiting for the day he does. ;)

 

I have actually been asked on several occasions, by young children, why I cover. Sometimes their mom would ask on their behalf, half apologetically that they were curious, sometimes the kids themselves asked.

 

It's actually easier to explain to kids, because they *get* simple explanations and don't come to the situation with any baggage. I have always told them that, in my religion, only my husband and immediately family are allowed to see what makes me pretty. Since it's nobody else's business, and they don't have the right to decide whether or not they like me based on how pretty I am (or not) instead of the kind of person I am, I cover myself. That usually satisfies both kids and parents ;).

 

Unfortunately, this type of honest and innocent questioning has just about stopped since 9/11. I feel everyone is just too uncomfortable to "go there".

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What might that be? I haven't done an intensive study, but it seems as though you can pick where a girl is from by the way she wears her hijab. What is the standard look in your area?

 

Rosie

 

Pretty much, covering everything except hands and face, including neck and ears. The exception I've seen, as mentioned, is Somali women in the area who may leave their necks exposed, and sometimes lower arms (younger girls may have on a hijab with short sleeves, too).

 

I cover my head, either with a triangular scarf tied under my hair, or else with a rectangular scarf tied into a Dutch crown or sometimes bun-style. I don't cover my ears, either.

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I admit, after several years of covering, it has gotten old when people ask why. Sometimes the logical replies are amusing, though. Many Muslims who ask do so by asking where I'm from, rather than if I'm Muslim. When I say "Texas" they get confused. Others will run through religions, and I wind up saying no to every one ("Are you Muslim? Jewish? Christian?").

 

 

LOL! I'm Muslim and wear a scarf in public, but I'm of European ancestry and very "white" looking. This seems to puzzle people to no end, and when I'm in a teasing mood, the conversation goes like this:

 

"Where are you from?"

"Houston."

"Oh. Where were you born?"

"Pittsburgh."

"Oh. Where were your parents born?"

"Pittsburgh."

Silence.

 

Then I usually take pity and tell them I converted to Islam. :)

 

Also, I'm often mistaken, by Arabs, for an Arab. Apparently in some areas (Syria? Lebanon?) they have hazel eyes and lightish skin and hair.

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I've noticed the same response to Christian women who wear headcoverings and dresses only. I've always assumed that people were by not asking trying to make it not a big deal. So, you're Muslim now, or so you're dresses only now, etc. I've always assumed it was people staying out of private matters.

 

Dawn, I'm with you on this.

 

I'm Christian, and started wearing a headcovering about three years ago, at age 29. No one, and I mean NO ONE in my family has asked me about it. Not even my sisters. I mean, the nice older lady at the grocery store that we go to a lot asked me about it; but my sister in law would rather pretend like she doesn't notice. :)

 

I don't know why no one in my family will ask. I guess they just figure it's something too personal? I don't know.

 

I wish more people would ask. I mean, it's not like I think they haven't *noticed by now that I wear a headcovering. :D

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Pretty much, covering everything except hands and face, including neck and ears. The exception I've seen, as mentioned, is Somali women in the area who may leave their necks exposed, and sometimes lower arms (younger girls may have on a hijab with short sleeves, too).

 

Hmm. I've seen what I've thought were Somali women wearing headwraps more like turbans, and others that wear something like the khimar you mentioned in a previous post. Maybe I'm mistaken and one bunch aren't Somali, or perhaps not Muslim though I thought virtually all Somalis were. Or maybe there are different looks. The turban styling women wear some outlandish combinations of colours. They look great :D

 

 

Rosie

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I don't know what the deal is with Moslem girls at both the college my son attends and the summer program at another college my daughter went to. Okay so you wear a scarf but then you dress provocatively? Tight jeans, tight, low cut shirts, nose rings, tattoos, etc.

:lol:

It's a phenomenon limited not only to one religion, though. How many times have you seen rosaries on wonderfully open decolletes, or a kippa on a head of a guy whose T-shirt says "25 ways to use the F-word"?

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I wonder, if one of the main reasons women wear headcoverings is not to be noticed, why do we care if people ask us why we are wearing them? :-)

I wear a headcovering, but frankly, I do not feel a need to explain it. I would rather people not ask.

 

The reason I wear a headcovering has nothing to do with 'not being noticed'.

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I think I worded that poorly....some of the posters seemed to be saying that their reasoning was to keep their beauty private; and I took that to mean trying to make those parts unnoticeable to others outside of their family. A modesty issue of sorts.

I did not mean to imply that people wear coverings to become invisible. I don't wish to be invisible either. :-)

Bethany, I didn't think you commented on your reasoning...so I didn't mean to address you personally at all. I hope I didn't offend! Going to crawl back into my hole, and hope not to be noticed anymore tonight. :-)

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I think I worded that poorly....some of the posters seemed to be saying that their reasoning was to keep their beauty private; and I took that to mean trying to make those parts unnoticeable to others outside of their family. A modesty issue of sorts.

I did not mean to imply that people wear coverings to become invisible. I don't wish to be invisible either. :-)

Bethany, I didn't think you commented on your reasoning...so I didn't mean to address you personally at all. I hope I didn't offend! Going to crawl back into my hole, and hope not to be noticed anymore tonight. :-)

 

No, no, you didn't offend me. I just don't wear a headcovering for that reason.

 

I believe, based on 1 Corinthians 11, that I should cover my head:

 

As a sign of my husband's headship

Because it is improper/shameful for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered

Because of the angels. (And no, I can't really explain that. :))

 

My understanding of why a Christian woman covers her head really has nothing to do with modesty. Now, ask me why I dress the way I do, and that will have very much to do with modesty. However, I do understand that women of other faiths do perhaps cover for that reason.

 

ETA: The only reason I wish more people would ask about is is because I'd love any reason to share my faith, and that would give me an easy opening.

Edited by bethanyniez
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Maybe people don't comment on your head coverings because you didn't tell them they were supposed to think it a big deal! If my sister started covering, I'd probably shrug, assume it was something to do with her new found religion, be mildly surprised that she's got that much into it and carry on. I'd be more likely to comment if my brother showed up here in a pair of shorts and a Hawaiian shirt because that would be a striking break from his usual "uniform" of a flannel shirt and black fat pants :tongue_smilie:. If he deviates from that, it is for the purposes of being asked (major attention seeking, lol!) so it would almost be impolite not to. ;) I wouldn't want to disappoint him, ya know!

 

I wouldn't suppose a girl would cover her hair for attention seeking purposes. I don't really think headcoverings are much to comment on unless it would be to compliment on a cuter than usual style. And if you want your rellies to ask, why not ask them why they haven't asked?

 

Rosie

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I think even within a religion, the reasons, underlying meaning, and personal interpretation of what is acceptable is going to vary. For instance, the Somali women I mentioned, whether in wrapped headscarves, khimar, or the head-wrap-and-shawl combo, always wear long skirts--the girls who are stockers may wear jeans under them, but the skirt is always there. Even young girls are dressed in head coverings and long skirts, though arms might be exposed. Other Muslims are fine with pants, some with the stipulation that they be loose-fitting or have a longer shirt over them, but others not.

 

Wearing traditional clothing may be more a matter of cultural, rather than religious, convention. One of the young women I work with made a comment about not being used to getting up so early (she was coming in for a morning shift). Being devout is perhaps not her main reason for wearing hijab, given she skips dawn prayers.

 

One thing I've wondered is where the supervisors got the idea that they couldn't assign the Muslim girls to the tobacco cage. It seemed to make sense to me, because it puts them close to the supervisors' podium so they can grab them more quickly to deal with alcohol/pork (as several of them refuse to handle either one, or at least the alcohol). I pointed out that tobacco wasn't haram to any Muslims I'd ever heard of and that they should ask them about it.

 

Another thing--while the hijabi girls who cashier won't touch the pork or alcohol, the Somali young men doing the same job don't seem to have the same issue, across the board. It makes me wonder if it's a bit easier for the men to assimilate/blend in/Americanize because they aren't expected to dress differently.

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However, I do understand that women of other faiths do perhaps cover for that reason.

That's the Jewish view, yes - covering one's hair as a married woman is done out of modesty. With the orthodox, it's not the matter of choice, there are different ways of doing it (partially, fully, wigs or only hats, etc.), but ultimately it's a must, I'm not sure anyone within orthodoxy claims otherwise, even the most modern.

 

Which is interesting, though, as from what I read, it seems that in Islam a hijab would be fully a choice, not related to one's marital status or age? Could one be a fully-fledged orthodox Muslim woman without covering her hair, though? I realize religion per se is a choice, but within the religion itself once it's chosen, is it a choice or no?

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That's the Jewish view, yes - covering one's hair as a married woman is done out of modesty. With the orthodox, it's not the matter of choice, there are different ways of doing it (partially, fully, wigs or only hats, etc.), but ultimately it's a must, I'm not sure anyone within orthodoxy claims otherwise, even the most modern.

 

Which is interesting, though, as from what I read, it seems that in Islam a hijab would be fully a choice, not related to one's marital status or age? Could one be a fully-fledged orthodox Muslim woman without covering her hair, though? I realize religion per se is a choice, but within the religion itself once it's chosen, is it a choice or no?

 

I asked the same question on page 1. Osmosis Mom responded with:

 

Oh, yes. Definitely a choice. Islam actually requests you as a teen to decide on your own religious choice as there is no compulsion in our religion (despite all the propaganda *and* extremism... And should I add here illiterate Muslims??).
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I asked the same question on page 1. Osmosis Mom responded with:

Thanks! :)

I suppose I misunderstood that reply (no wonder, given that I skim more than read lately :blush:), I thought it was referring to the general freedom of a religious choice, rather than a freedom with regards to this specific thing when a religious choice has already been made.

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Which is interesting, though, as from what I read, it seems that in Islam a hijab would be fully a choice, not related to one's marital status or age? Could one be a fully-fledged orthodox Muslim woman without covering her hair, though? I realize religion per se is a choice, but within the religion itself once it's chosen, is it a choice or no?

 

The vast majority of Muslim scholars say that hijab is required (not based on marital status but on age--from puberty through menopause, roughly). There are one or two respected scholars that I'm aware of whose opinion is that it's not required; they are very much in the minority. Most (though not all) Muslims would therefore consider it a requirement.

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The vast majority of Muslim scholars say that hijab is required (not based on marital status but on age--from puberty through menopause, roughly). There are one or two respected scholars that I'm aware of whose opinion is that it's not required; they are very much in the minority. Most (though not all) Muslims would therefore consider it a requirement.

Thank you - that's actually what I was asking, yes. So it does turn out that most consider it a requirement, I see, unlike what I thought. Interesting. Thanks. :)

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ETA: The only reason I wish more people would ask about is is because I'd love any reason to share my faith, and that would give me an easy opening.

 

This may be why your family hasn't asked you about your head covering. ;)

 

If they're not Christian, they probably don't want to be evangelized. If they are, they probably don't want to feel like they're missing it somehow. I've been involved in that thought process/reasoning.

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Thank you for posting the link. ;)

I don't think anti-Muslim thoughts about women who wear head coverings, or about men who "look" Muslim. I have smiled at the women but it was hard to get any eye contact. I averted my eyes from the men because I have thought it would be offensive to them for a woman to look at them and speak to them (men) first.

I don't want to offend anyone, not because I am afraid of them. Their beliefs are their business, not mine. I would hold the door, pick up the item they dropped, catch their child if running into the street, etc.

When I see women with a headcovering I think of them as holy women who take their God seriously.

Recently I read that Mormons and Muslims share similar beliefs. I assume a non-Mormon/non-Muslim wrote that, but just thought I'd throw that out there for thought. I am what is considered a "Mormon."

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My hunch is that asking could have an implication that the person doesn't agree with the headcovering. Like, if I saw a woman feeding her child junk food and asked her why she's feeding her child ___________, there might be an implication that I have a problem with it.

 

Or, if I saw a woman counting 1-2-3 with her child and I asked her why she did that, I could be implying that I think it's odd.

 

A great movie that this thread has reminded me of is Arranged.

 

Dawn, I'm with you on this.

 

I'm Christian, and started wearing a headcovering about three years ago, at age 29. No one, and I mean NO ONE in my family has asked me about it. Not even my sisters. I mean, the nice older lady at the grocery store that we go to a lot asked me about it; but my sister in law would rather pretend like she doesn't notice. :)

 

I don't know why no one in my family will ask. I guess they just figure it's something too personal? I don't know.

 

I wish more people would ask. I mean, it's not like I think they haven't *noticed by now that I wear a headcovering. :D

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Thank you - that's actually what I was asking, yes. So it does turn out that most consider it a requirement, I see, unlike what I thought. Interesting. Thanks. :)
There are a lot of Muslim women who don't wear a head covering; what I'm not sure of is whether they don't believe it is required, or they do but don't wear it anyway. I mean, pretty much every Muslim-majority country I've visited has had a good percentage of local women who don't cover, with the exception of Saudi Arabia and UAE (although that is starting to change here).
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Dawn, I'm with you on this.

 

I'm Christian, and started wearing a headcovering about three years ago, at age 29. No one, and I mean NO ONE in my family has asked me about it. Not even my sisters. I mean, the nice older lady at the grocery store that we go to a lot asked me about it; but my sister in law would rather pretend like she doesn't notice. :)

 

I don't know why no one in my family will ask. I guess they just figure it's something too personal? I don't know.

 

I wish more people would ask. I mean, it's not like I think they haven't *noticed by now that I wear a headcovering. :D

 

I am a Christian too and have known several head-covering women. I stopped asking about it because it isn't my business what convictions they have and why they have them. I don't share that view of scripture so there really isn't anything to talk about. I don't have any issue with those that do, but it has to be pretty obvious that I disagree with the choice or would be doing it myself so why bring it up?

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I get less of the "why are you wearing that" and more of the "aren't you hot in that?" Maybe it's the same question, but asked differently, since it generally leads to the same discussion. I don't mind at all when people ask either question (as long as it's in a kind tone), it sure beats the negative comments.

I'd guess it was a way to ask, without seeming like they were attacking you. Why do you wear that? It seems a little offensive to me, like they're questioning you, which of course they are, but not in a nice way, if that makes sense. Aren't you hot? That's like a friendly, considerate comment that opens the door to YOU choosing to explain or not...

 

If any of that makes sense :p

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Hmm. I've seen what I've thought were Somali women wearing headwraps more like turbans, and others that wear something like the khimar you mentioned in a previous post. Maybe I'm mistaken and one bunch aren't Somali, or perhaps not Muslim though I thought virtually all Somalis were. Or maybe there are different looks. The turban styling women wear some outlandish combinations of colours. They look great :D

 

 

Rosie

 

Aren't those ladies wearing turbans Ghanian? My Somali friends wear regular cover with only a very few wearing it "Indian-style" with the ears showing.

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I get less of the "why are you wearing that" and more of the "aren't you hot in that?" Maybe it's the same question, but asked differently, since it generally leads to the same discussion. I don't mind at all when people ask either question (as long as it's in a kind tone), it sure beats the negative comments.

 

The hot-part is usually said half-snarkily. It used to be sneered towards me in grocery-stores, so it is not a friendly thing for me! However, I have gotten so mellow with time that now I just smile and pretend it was meant friendly..!

 

About others not wearing the hijab, then it has been my experience talking with sisters that converts or Muslims living abroad tend to reason that it is not asked by us in the Quran, but *suggested* whereas Arab women not doing it are still on the fence; they understand it is something God is asking of us, but also that it is not -God knows best- a Dealbreaker on the Day of Judgment, meaning your prayers and behaviour is probably more important. I feel free to say this because I do wear the cover, but would feel it sounded very liberal coming from a non-covered person. Please know, though, that I am not judging others. It's really none of my business.

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My hunch is that asking could have an implication that the person doesn't agree with the headcovering. Like, if I saw a woman feeding her child junk food and asked her why she's feeding her child ___________, there might be an implication that I have a problem with it.

 

Or, if I saw a woman counting 1-2-3 with her child and I asked her why she did that, I could be implying that I think it's odd.

 

A great movie that this thread has reminded me of is Arranged.

 

I beg to disagree strongly with this sentiment. I am trying to understand my fellow mother, friend, neighbour, human being and break down misunderstandings and misconceptions. I get it personally that Christians and Jews can choose to wear the cover. OK, let me tell you this. If you met me in person then without a doubt religion would come up. I would need to know if we were regularly hanging out what your world view is because to me that is part of who you are and on what your values are built. It is nothing more than that. I have acquaintances who are anything under the sun and we have fun and deep conversations, both parties respectful of the other's viewpoints and value-system.

 

For strangers on the street asking me, then, gosh, considering how much attention and misunderstood issues are shown in the media, then I'd much rather have invasion of my privacy and chat with some stranger than go away and having made no or only a curious impression. Does that make sense? I try to teach my kids that their examples in public might be the only exposure someone has of a Muslim apart from the stereotype, so they should try to be mindful of that. Comes back to open communication.

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