Fully Covered Muslim Woman Opens Up

Oct 17, 2021 528.6K Views 7K Comments

What does a Muslim woman in a niqab (full cover) think about being Muslim in the USA? How does she feel about men having 4 wives? What does she think about freedom? Join me to find out the answers to these questions plus many more and get access to a perspective most of us will never come into contact with. This is the first video (out of 7) from my series about Muslims in the USA.

♪ Arabic music ♪
Good afternoon, guys.
Quite often, when a non-Muslim
sees a woman in full cover
the niqab.
There are
curious thoughts
thoughts of the unknown
and sometimes even fear.
So what not better a way
to get into the mindset
of a woman in a niqab
than by talking to them.
So that’s what we’re gonna do right now.
We’re going to talk
to a niqabee.
A woman with a niqab.
to get her perspective.
♪ electronic Arabic music ♪
Thank you fore meeting up.
Appreciate it.
Our pleasure because it’s not easy
to speak with someone in a niqab.
-Thank you.
-Especially with a camera.
So
I’m just gonna ask the questions that
most people are interested.
Most in my audience
ask me when it comes to
women and cover in Islam.
The first would be
why?
Why would you wear a niqab?
You have a choice, right?
-Yes, well it started in 2017.
I went to Iraq
and I went down to
and that’s where it started to
actually
become
that I wore the hijab
as soon as I came back
from there.
But before that I was kind of like
wearing my scarf already
and then at cold times
I would put it over my nose and face.
So those were little
steps I noticed before
it actually happened.
-So it’s been a process?
step by step.
Through the travels when I came back
I had a sense of
of emptiness and a sense of
loss.
Oh my goodness
I didn’t know that was going to happen.
I’m just starting to cry right now.
-Oh, it’s okay.
-So I had emptiness and a loss.
-What’s up buddy?
-Hello, sweetheart.
Thank you for that
You’ve given me regrouped, okay.
Pulling it together.
He didn’t know he
pulled it together for me.
But at times I didn’t
know that this material…
Putting it back on and standing here
and that just mentioning him brought me
right back to
to Iraq and the feeling
that I felt when I left there
that emptiness.
So
I wanted to be covered.
-Okay.
-I wanted that protection.
I wanted that feeling of that comfort.
-Protection from what?
-I wanted to feel safe.
I wanted to feel that safeness,
and comfort, and ease, and peace
and that freedom of being there in Iraq
that I felt
and I said I want to
do that
by wearing Niqab.
So on the…
I said to Fattemah
Ali Al Salam,
“I want to wear Niqab.”
and I just put it on.
-Look, the typical thought process is
if you’re dressed like
this you’re restricted.
You’re suppressed and
I’ve been to Saudi Arabia.
So I’ve talked to not a
lot but a few Niqabees
and I’ve gotten different answers.
What’s your opinion on that?
-Mine is the total opposite
because one, I’m Hispanic.
I reverted to Islam.
So I had that sense of
not wearing a scarf.
Maybe…
I’m not answering for them
but I’m just saying maybe
because they didn’t ever
experience the differences
of it and how it made them feel.
of it and how it made them feel.
-So you dressed
normally before?
-Yes.
-Normally as in
-Normally, whatever is normal, yeah.
T-shirts, tank tops, bathing suits
on the beach
no problem.
I grew up in a Hispanic family, Catholic.
-That’s interesting you feel…
You feel free?
Is it because nobody can judge you?
-Yes.
Well one thing, let me ask you
would you have known I’m Hispanic?
-No.
Can you tell me how old I am?
-No.
So can you tell me anything about me?
-No.
-No.
So I look at everyone the same way now
but I didn’t then.
-Okay.
So I look at everyone as if
I know nothing about them.
Which I don’t.
Even if they’re wearing
clothes or they’re not
does not make that person better or worse.
Surely does not make me better
because I’m wearing
full-blown shador right now
and a niqab and
hijab, it does not make me
any different than anyone else.
-Right.
We just go through our
own struggles in our own way
and I think the most for it
was I didn’t know who I was.
I was trying to find it out through my life
and I believe that now I’ve come to the
conclusion and the
confirmation within myself
and that self-peace
that I know who I am
and I know what I believe in
This helps with that?
-Yes, it does.
Because nothing else…
I feel so different.
I don’t have to worry
about what I’m wearing
what my hair looks like
bad hair day.
No make up, make up.
I want to dress up or down
or however I feel.
So maybe there’s less
judging from the outside?
-Yes.
They said, “Words can hurt.”
Right?
That young girls
in this image that we’re
trying to portray nowadays
words can hurt people
because of what they think about
what they’re wearing or how they look
or their body size or
they don’t fit in
they think they’re overweight
they think they’re underweight.
-Right.
So it’s self image, a lot of the
things that we struggle with.
And I did struggle with that.
I was always too
skinny, too tall for myself
but I don’t feel judged in that way
and I think a lot of
this went through was me
trying to identify who I am.
So you’re saying nobody judges you but
-They still judge, I know.
If you’re in an airport
-Yeah, they still judge.
People are scared, right?
-Right, yes.
-Is that fair to say?
-Yes.
And that’s another thing I was gonna say.
So in that I’m comfortable
within myself, right?
but now as I wear it
and when I came from Iraq
I didn’t realize it’s
going to hit me like it did
when I put the niqab on.
My family had a hard time accepting it.
-Right.
-My friends had a hard time accepting it.
“Hold on…
You were…
You never wore a scarf
and now you’re in the…”
So a lot of that still happens.
I’m not going to say we can eliminate it.
However…
it brings up the conversation too
of the fact I said you know…
A lot times people don’t know.
This guy one time, we were
on a Facebook thing for work
and they posted a picture
of me and I wore a niqab
for real estate.
I don’t know if you’ll
keep this or not but…
-Wait, wait, for real estate?
-For real estate and
he started to type to me
in Arabic.
-Tell me about real estate.
-Yes, so I do real estate
and they posted a picture of me
with my niqab
welcoming me to the
new company that I’m with.
So he starts, he’s like,
“Yay, finally I get to use my Arabic.”
He started texting me in Arabic.
I’m like, “That’s great,
now tell me what it says.”
I said, “Because I don’t read Arabic.”
and I said, “I can speak it.”
-You speak Arabic?
-Yes.
-Fantastic.
-But I can’t read it.
So he started to laugh.
He said, “Wait a minute.”
I said, “‘Cause I’m Mexican.”
-Yeah, yeah.
-And so it’s like he’s…
He sat here and then like
we are just going to take this
out of the atmosphere here
and leave it where it as
and everybody was so
understanding that I just love it.
But you’re doing real
estate as in showing homes?
And so if you have a non…
hijabi or niqabi, excuse me.
Niqabi client you don’t show up like this
or do you?
-I wouldn’t come in my full shador
and my full…
You know, I still have my niqab on.
I’ll have a niqab on.
-Niqab being this?
-Niqab being the face veil.
-So you’re showing up to say
I’m coming to Dearborn to buy a home
our first introduction
you’re going to come in…
-With my niqab, yes.
-How do people react?
It’s not up to me
to determine
how they’re going to accept it
however, I will tell you that sometimes
I do lighten it a lot
for them because I can wear masks now.
-Oh.
-One had Century 21…
-One had Century 21…
-Because of COVID?
-Yes, because of COVID
So it has (breaken) some of those barriers
where if it’s uncomfortable for them.
But one time, first of all, I
like to show up in my niqab.
-Okay, so
you can get away with a mask
but I guess the whole point is you can
never show your face in public?
Is that what it is?
-Yes, I don’t take pictures.
You won’t see me
posting anything without my
face-veil on.
and that was a hard thing for
the companies that I’m dealing with
and also even when I did actually do
early childhood education as well
It’s hard for the kids too
but it was a conversation piece…
-Sure.
-‘Cause I was already
teaching them and they
were asking questions,
“Why do you have to wear that now?”
and it was a big transition for everyone
but it’s a good conversation.
-Right, so you can feel free
because you’re not being judged.
You choose…
I’m trusting that you’re
saying you choose to wear this.
This your 100% choice
-Yes.
-It’s not a
husband or anything that’s choosing?
-Most definitely not.
-Okay, okay.
And you had many more choices
and you find freedom
in the anonymity let’s say?
-Yes.
It’s odd
but yes, because
I wouldn’t have thought of it but
the fact of the simplicity of it
and not having to
like you were saying,
“You had it all.” right?
I’ve done all.
I’ve done things.
Well, I haven’t done everything but
you know what?
I mean I’ve had the…
everything was accessible to me.
-What would you say to
the those women that think
you’re oppressed?
You’re held down and
you’re not
you’re not allowing yourself to be free?
-Yeah, I would say
I don’t agree with that because
I’ve never felt more free here in America.
Where this is the land of the free
home of the brave.
I feel brave, I feel free.
-A thing I’ve had a problem with
as an extrovert…
one of the things, not a huge problem
but it’s sort of something
missing out of life.
Is 90% of our communication is non-verbal.
-Right.
So this, in a way takes
away the non-verbal.
I can see a little bit through
your eyes and whatnot
but
it’s more of a mystery, let’s say.
-Yes.
-Like how you feel about me
or whomever, right?
-Right.
-I think that’s probably
subconsciously one of the challenges
people might have
that aren’t in your world.
-Right, right.
-I could imagine because honestly
the masks outside at distance
last winter was like
you didn’t get anyone’s
facial expressions.
-Yes.
It was sort of hard and
I’m just trying to think
through this thing.
-Exactly, so it’s hard to get
into somebody’s mind, right?
It’s hard to know what they’re thinking
what they’re saying
what they’re speaking
but it’s that
want to be that mysteriousness
that you’re not knowing.
So a lot of people couldn’t understand me.
They told me either talk louder
’cause they usually read my lips
if they couldn’t understand
they’d look at you.
-I said, “Talk louder.” a few times.
-Exactly.
So talk louder or my facial expressions
if I’m smiling
I have little wrinkles that are here
you’ll know if I’m smiling
and anyways I left a party
the other night and I told my friends
we were taking these selfies.
They’re taking of their friends
you know the whole party.
-Okay.
-And we were at a restaurant and I go out
to birthday parties
where it was a gathering at a restaurant
and she made accommodations
that we were in the corner
so I was able to take down
my niqab and eat in peace.
So it was really nice and
the thing is that when we were taking the
picture afterwards
I told her
I was like,
in the picture I was smiling by the way
and they all started laughing.
So it’s kind of like
you can take the negative out of anything
or you can take the positive out of it.
I’ve chosen to take the positive.
-So to be fair though
there are some women in niqabs that
do not want to be in niqabs.
Is this fair to say?
Some do, some don’t.
I would say, “Yes.”
and I would say there’s
even women that have (wore)
scarves before that took their scarves off.
I’ve known people
who’ve done that as well.
-Okay, so that’s complicated.
Like everything in the world
the more you go into a culture, a people,
whatever, right?
Traditions, it gets complicated.
-Yes. and culture.
-That’s something you
can’t put a label on it.
The niqab is repression
or freedom.
However you want to spin it.
It depends the person
the conditions
the place
the family…
-Yeah.
What they’re comfortable
with because again
I don’t know if I said
but my family is Hispanic
and they’re still Catholic
and I go
to church if I can
with them and…
-You go to church like this?
-Yes.
-Catholic church?
-Yes.
-Like this?
-Yes.
-What’s the reaction?
-Well…
[chuckles]
they’re really welcoming, actually.
-Oh, that’s good.
-So and also
I haven’t been to…
I told you before that I
do practice the sabbath.
Which is something that a lot of Muslims
they don’t do and they…
-You practice it with Jewish friends?
-I have no Jewish friends.
I met a few.
-Do you want Jewish friends?
-I would love Jewish friends.
-Okay, Jewish friends out there…
I did a series on the Hasidic Jews.
-I saw that.
-And many of the women
said,
“We want to meet Muslim women.
-There you are, please…
This is how the internet can work.
This is how the internet can work.
-That’s exactly, please yes, yes.
-There are a lot of
commonalities, I gotta say
between
the Hasidic Jews and say
your level of Islam.
You practice Salt, right?
Five times a day?
-Yes, yes.
Five times a day and at night as well.
Sometimes I wake up at 3:00
in the morning.
I try to wake up in the middle of
the night and do prayers as well.
-Okay, we’ve ended up
in the back of a parking lot.
We’ve been instructed
not to shoot the school.
So bear with us, audience.
Trying to stay out of the wind.
trying to not
cause any problems there.
-You are a delight.
-And we’ll walk back this way.
-So it’s a parking lot tour
but it’s about the content not about
the scenery so much..
-Exactly.
-It’s beautiful out front though.
It’s a whole other topic
but for wives was hard.
There’s a lot of things in Islam
that took me time to understand.
-Okay, so would you be
okay with that, four wives?
-Yes.
-Really?
-Yes.
So
I wouldn’t be Muslim if I
didn’t get past that hurdle.
So when I went through it…
-Okay, wait, we gotta
stop on that for a second.
[laughter]
[laughter]
-That’s a whole ‘nother topic.
-Okay, I want to be fair because again
every religion
people are going to have different
ways of looking at things and opinions.
So for you
if you’re with a husband
you’re no longer with a husband
is this correct?
-Correct.
-Okay.
It would be okay if he
had three other wives?
-He couldn’t handle two.
-Yeah, that’s true, I couldn’t imagine.
That seems stressful.
-There was a situation that happened
and it’s okay for you to film
this ’cause I’m totally fine with it.
So there was a situation
that happened that
we got divorced.
He went ahead and got
divorced in American law
not Islamic law, there’s a difference.
So he got remarried and
he came back, had a wedding, dadadadada.
He comes back and then
we had children together
so he decided that he still wanted
to try to work things out with us
with me and him
and I said, “But you’re still married to
your wife.
She needs to accept me.”
She didn’t accept me.
She was Muslim.
-She was Muslim?
He was from Iraq?
-He’s was from Lebanon.
-Lebanon, okay.
But some Muslim women
are not going to be okay with
three other wives?
-Yeah, so that’s proof of it.
She did not accept me.
I couldn’t go through with it because
if she does not accept
me it’s not harmonious.
How it should be.
-Sorry to interrupt.
So guys, if you want to
come to to my videos for clarity
to unpack a concept…
Way of life and make it easy to digest.
This is probably…
It’s the reality.
It’s the reality, right?
-Yes, yes.
I couldn’t imagine having four wives.
I mean, I’m super happy with one wife.
-Even two seems…
Apart from the infidelity
which I don’t think is healthy.
It would be too much to manage.
-Exactly, I agree with that
but I want to make this point
-Okay.
-That the law was made
for specific reasons like this.
So he made a choice
We got a divorce.
He made a choice and he had
regrets of that choice that he made.
He had already got married to someone else.
Now, should I say,
“Okay, divorce her and come back to me.”?
No, that would be bad on my end.
So for me, it was hard
I’m not going to tell you it was easy.
It was hard for me to say,
“You know what?
If I wanted to be…
Represent Islam in the best that I have.
If I want to accept Islam I have to
accept everything that’s written in there
and I have to do it the best that I can
and be the best human being
I could be.”
-How many daughters do you have?
-Yes, I have three.
Three, and they all wear…
What are they wearing?
-Well no, actually
they don’t all wear hijab.
One of them wears hijab.
The older one.
And it depends sometimes
she’s pinned properly .
Sometimes it’s kind of loose in the neck.
Sometimes it’s you know…
And then my other one did wear a scarf
but more because I was
pushing her to wear a scarf.
She ended up taking it off.
And then my other daughter…
-You were pushing her to wear a scarf?
-I was highly encouraging I’d like to say
but I was kind of like saying…
but I was kind of like saying…
-So her freedom is not wearing it?
-Her freedom is not wearing it.
-And you respect that?
-And I respect it.
And I embrace her, totally.
What would you have to say to
those scared
people that are scared
of women in niqabs?
I…
I would be scared of something
that I don’t know as well.
Honestly, if I didn’t know
anything about Islam
or the language, Arabic language.
I didn’t know anything
about anything, honestly.
I’m still Mexican.
I learned about this through my husband
and everything was new to me.
Everything, I was scared of.
So you said
reverted to Islam earlier.
I didn’t say anything.
We talked about it
off-camera but it was like
you were born Christian.
By reverted you meant
you should have been born Muslim.
-Yeah.
-So that’s what you meant?
You came back into it.
-I believe we’re all born into submission.
Into Islam and the purity
of being born by God because
I believe that there is one God.
So I believe all of us are connected
through him and our parents
are what make us either Catholic
or Jewish or…
-But that means I’m Muslim by birth?
-I believe that to be…
To be totally honest with my words, yes.
I would believe that, yes.
-So would like everyone to be covered?
Like from your perspective
since you’re the minority of being covered.
Most people aren’t covered.
-I would like to be in a world
actually to tell you the truth
I would like to be in a world
that I did not have to cover.
Because I would love to be in the country
and that’s why I want to go to
the country and have a house there.
-Countryside?
-Countryside
poolside, lakeside, whatever
and be able to take off my scarf and feel
at that place
and I do do that sometimes
in the woodsy areas and stuff like that.
Just to kind of…
But…
-You’ll go out there
and take everything off?
-Not everything but my scarf.
I’ll take my scarf off or I’ll
loosen it at least or
I’ll have some more…
And it’s more of…
It’s more of a
comfort within myself
’cause I grew up in the country
and I love that feeling that’s there
and just like the wind in your hair.
-Sure.
-Like right now the wind’s in my scarf
but I mean just a comforting feeling
but I would love to be in a world
that we don’t have to because
we respect each other’s boundaries.
We respect each other
as humanity as a whole.
-So any final words?
What would you want to tell people
that have questions about
women in niqabi?
Should they speak to them?
I’ve tried, some women will
speak to me and some won’t.
-Right.
-My time in Saudi Arabia I think
the default was do not approach.
-Right
At all.
And if you’re introduced
or something you can speak.
Is that sort of what it means too?
Don’t come in my world?
-Somebody I would say like anybody…
Anybody in general.
Sometimes there are
people that you can approach
and there are some
people that are stand-off-ish
that introverted, that they
don’t want to speak to anyone.
Some people that might
have biases as far as cameras
and stuff like that.
I am really…
It goes against.
-I think you’re the only
one of the few
women in a niqabi
that would do this.
-Uh huh, really?
-Don’t you think?
-I don’t know about that but I mean
I’m definitely more outgoing
because of I think the
lifestyle that I’ve had and
I’m more open maybe to
have these conversations
because I think I’ve
been through a lot of the
pain and the struggle
that it took me to get there
that I’m kind of like
saying that
I’m here
I’m good
and I’m happy
and I’m
growing as an individual
as far as Islamically.
I feel that I’m very strong
in my religion and my faith.
-Sure.
-And I’m so strong in
it that I would love to go
and I love the place that
you chose because it’s got
a church over on that side
and there’s another church there.
-Over there.
-So it’s like…
-Orthodox…
-I love the positioning of this
mosque when it was built.
-Yeah.
-Because I would love to go
and like I said I go to the church if I can
if I would be invited to a temple
anybody, I would love to
definitely go there and…
-But that’s not normal.
You’re open mindedness to other places.
You’re open-mindedness to other places.
-I would be open-minded to go
to definitely to different places
and I think
the fact that I’m
comfortable in myself now.
I think I’m able to talk about it.
Maybe before I wasn’t.
-Okay.
So
thank you.
-Thank you.
-Appreciate it.
-Thank you so much.
-Just to let you guys know
Annettee’s a very brave soul
and very open for her
willing to be on camera
and take these questions.
It’s not a normal thing I would say.
For a woman in a niqab to
be able to talk to me on camera.
So we have to thank her for letting…
Letting us into her world.
Letting us into your world
’cause that’s the only way we learn
and see somebody’s perspective
and understand things better.
-And I must thank you.
For doing what you do because
like I said
you took me into other worlds that
I wouldn’t have been able to see
and that was one of the reasons
that I decided to do this with you.
-Yeah, we connected because
Annette saw the Hasidic Jew series.
-Yes.
Hasidic Jewish series
and I think you saw the woman.
-The Amish now too.
Yes, there was a woman there.
-Malki.
-Yeah, so if anybody wants
to invite me to the countryside
and the Amish to learn about that
I would love that as well.
That would be a great video.
-Yes, yes, oh yes.
-What if I did this video?
I put you with my buddy
Cashmere from the hood…
-What hood are you talking about?
I was from Southwest Detroit.
-East New York.
-Okay, I could go there, okay.
-My Hasidic friend Shlome
-Okay.
-And then one of my Amish friends
and we go to Amish Country.
How about that?
-There we go, that sounds amazing.
I’m there.
I’m packing.
-All right, guys.
Hope that answers some of the questions.
Thanks for coming along.
Until the next one.
♪ Arabic electronic music ♪

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