Proper Hijaab in Belgium
|I did it, I did it! Yesterday I went shopping and as an experiment, I went shopping in proper hijaab in the most crowded area of Brussels, our capital where there is the highest immigrant concentration in about the whole country I would guess. |
I had it all: covering the face and a light black veil covering the eyes, and was dressed in black for all the rest and I wore black gloves (I even made pictures of myself at home with the "self" function of my camera).
Well I was very surprised of the result. I was shy at first to go out of the house, since this is my first time in proper hijaab and there are absolutely NO other proper hijaabi sisters here. Really not, except sometimes for tourists I have seen once.
I was afraid of the stares I would get or the remarks. People stared, of course, but not longer than they stare at me when I wear just hijab. Most of them didn't make any remarks. I could hear that easily because I took the train to get to Brussels.
The person who sold me the train ticket was not very friendly, but when he noticed that I spoke perfect Dutch he loosened up a bit. I guess he's one of the ultra-right voters , He returned my money but without giving my change in my hand, just on the counter. Like it should be done with women-men interference.
Along the road, I felt more and more confident, although I was not much at ease in the beginning. Shopping went quite well too, except for the fact that in the Moroccan stores I went to, everybody thought I was an Arabian woman. They spoke Arabic to me and they were very surprised when I told them, in French, that I didn't speak Arabic.
Nobody asked any questions of where I was from, as they do when I wear just hijab (the headscarf). Whenever I gave money and it was returned , nobody touched my hands. The immigrants knew that I was a strict muslimah and that I wouldn't accept change from anybody's hand directly. It was a mark of respect. But I sometimes had to smile interiourly at their surprised faces.
The funniest thing happened when I got back home. A part of my anti-depression therapy is to look for something funny happening each day, and when I got home in Antwerp there was really something funny. I walked past some women who let their little children play in the playground near my home. Their children suddenly started to scream: "look mama, a ninja, a ninja"! They came at me and wanted me to do some "ninja-tricks", by which they meant some street fighting. (Ninja movies are very popular here for some reason).
I went by without saying anything, but interiourly I laughed, most of all because the women suddenly were very anxious to get their children back and away from me, saying they did not have to disturb me. It was a funny experience.
Overall, the first step to take was difficult, however, I think I will wear proper hijaab again when I go out alone. I get maybe a little more stares, but so much more respect.
Part Two , Mashallah