April 2nd, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Living under the headscarf

Editor’s Note: "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" features the Muslim community of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where sisters Dima and Lema Sbenaty grew up and live. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. Watch “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET April 2 on CNN.

By Elizabeth M. Nunez, CNN

Few items of clothing inspire as much controversy as the hijab, or headscarf. To some it represents oppression or radical Islam.

But to American-born Muslim sisters Dima and Lema Sbenaty, the hijab is a source of pride.

“Before I thought it would bother me to wear a scarf in public. I was surprised to feel that I was proud of my religion and all of my friends," says Dima Sbenaty, 20.

"We all go out together and they’re all wearing headscarves as well. It’s nothing that I’m ashamed of, and that’s part of my strength with my religion.”

The sisters have lived most of their lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Now they are students at Middle Tennessee State University. Lema, a chemistry major, wants to become a pediatrician and dreams of tending to children in Ethiopia. Dima, a biology and chemistry double major, is working toward becoming a dentist. Neither has decided if she will permanently wear a hijab, but both cover during daily prayer.

In Arabic, hijab roughly translates as “barrier” or partition. In Islam, it refers to the principle of modesty in behavior and dress, as described in the Quran: "Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments.”

Women raised in the faith like the Sbenaty sisters say the moment to start wearing a hijab is theirs to choose.

For others who convert to Islam, like Ivy Balloul, a blue-eyed American raised as a Methodist, the hijab comes with her adopted faith. “This was part of me converting to Islam," she said. "You can’t divide it up into little pieces and pick and choose what you want. It’s a whole package.”

Ivy, married to the imam of the Murfreesboro mosque, has received negative comments for wearing a hijab. “One man said to me in the post office that I can take off my scarf, that I’m free here. Another woman felt like I was a traitor. A man called to me one day from his car telling me that, uh, I should go back home.”

But these experiences do not discourage her from covering her head.

“I feel like I have more respect. Before, I could be pumping gas in my car and some guy would whistle or make some type of catcall. It was an uncomfortable situation," she said.

"When you put on a scarf ... [you] know that people can’t look at you as a sexual object. The first time I put it on I felt more comfortable in my own skin.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim

soundoff (1,575 Responses)
  1. JLP

    If wearing a head scarf makes you feel better, feel free to wear one .But expect to be looked upon as a member of a religion that advocates the killing of non believers. Pretty hard for the average American to be supportive when Muslims are killing us as well as each other on every news program you watch.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • DSADSA

      LOL "average american to be supportive" I'm pretty sure the average Americans are supportive. The only non-supportive Americans are less than average.

      April 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I see! So, if someone makes the choice to freely express themselves or follow a religion that YOU do not approve of, you'll harass them? So, the first amendment only applies to royalty? Or only to SOME religions and not others? Or should we throw away ALL of those silly amendments? If so, kindly never speak again, as you got rid of that right.

      April 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Amanda

      When I emigrated to US as a foreign students, I didn't know that the majority of this country is airheads. I mean, look at what all those ignorant people wrote while sitting in a nation where they're free to access information. Instead of accessing information to educate themselves, they read propaganda. What a shame!

      April 10, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • Sulayman F

      Claiming islam advocates killing non-believers is like claiming Christianity advocates killing gays and raping children. No, the religion does not say it, and Muslims, Muslim leaders, and Muslim scholars have spoken out against terrorism.

      May 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  2. chuckmartel

    Anyone notice the links on this page to other articles about the peace, beauty, etc of islam. Threatening beauty conterstent with death, girl lashed to death under islamic law, and so on. Only the sickest imbeciles of all time would advocate importing more of this disease. Who needs it. Keep them out of the US and let them do what they will in islamiland.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Hana

      Yet if you actually read those articles you would have learned something.... like the girl received death threats from MANY communities and religious groups, not just Muslims. No one is blameless in that. So, dont try to act superior because one group did it.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Soso

      You are speaking like you own the US??Your tone sounds familiar doesn't it?. Bigotry against Blacks, Asians, Latinos and the list goes on and on.. In your view, no one is welcome (other that people who look like you and agree with every thing you say)??

      April 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  3. nohamed

    IIslam is a religion which views all non believers as those that need to either convert or die, period. Those that come to this country need to understand this is America and we have a culture. While we may tolerate we do not accept. There is a major difference between the two. Those that come here with the idea of changing our culture, taking over our culture, spreading their religion need understand that at some point we, the westerners, the Americans, the Christians will reach a point where we have had enough. At that point the Islamist will feel the resurgence of the Wests backbone. If your religion and culture are so important to you why did you come here to live with the western infidels? Why not stay in your pure holy land? The answer is the same. For freedom, for money, to escape persecution. So it's time for you to give up the structure that created those negative situations, ISLAM.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Julie

      You're absolutely right... I agree 100%
      I am friendly with folks from many religions, BUT their religions do not affect others as much as Islam followers. Islam is scary to many of us, not because we are ignorant, not because we have not learned about this religion, but because of what we see from the MIddle East and on our News... It is a very intollerant, constricting, opressive religion and folks get murdered or stoned for not following their protocol. You're not going to see a bunch of Catholics kill each other for not wearing a cross or for having an abortion – all they will do is simply pray for them and hope they change.
      Islam will crush you if you do not follow them...

      America stands for absolute freedom and we have problems with radical views/actions –

      April 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Tell the TRUTH

      @Soso how many other religions does Islam welcome ? They can't even tolerate the different sects in Islam, Sunni and Shiite, etc.. that's why the region is in turmoil everyday now. For those crying tolerance the loudest are the least tolerant people on the planet.

      April 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Yeah, like those backward and horrible people in Qatar, whose government sponsored and built a number of Christian churches, to include a Roman Catholic church.
      Compared to the very town this story is written in, where a mosque is NOT being permitted to be constructed, after the construction equipment to build it was torched by arsonists.
      So much for our first amendment! We are to have an official religion now, huh?

      April 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Joel Weymouth

      @Wzrd1 – you are lying about the arson. You know that Holder would be on it if that were the case. You are the typical Muslim that will lie about being persecuted.

      April 2, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Syed

      @ Julie, Why would you look at the news? the media hypes a lot of things way to much? You should actually read the book instead of looking at the news, they just talk about something that happened in a part of the world.. the book says that the religion does not allow peace, and whichever place you saw with murders.. they are the extremists.. and the countries the media may focus on may have their own culture of murders, Culture and Religion are both different things

      April 2, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Syed

      @ Julie I meant "the book says that the religion does allow peace"

      April 2, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  4. Mb


    April 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I see, so you want an EMPEROR, who conquers foreign nations and steals their resources.
      Sorry, sonny. Not going to happen.

      April 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • chzwiz

      Mb, mostly agree. I am sick of Americans dying to protect the Arab Sunni Saudis from the filthy Persian Shia. We should attack Saudi Arabia and Iran. Leave just enough people alive to drill and pump the oil for us.

      April 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Mb, are you saying let them eat their oil and sand?

      April 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Joel Weymouth

      @Wizrd1 – we want a person in the White House that protects American Interests over his buddies overseas. Remember he encouraged the Brazilians to exploit the oil offshore so "WE COULD BUY IT"!!! We practice eminent domain within our borders, why not eminent domain for our national interests?

      April 2, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  5. norcalmojo

    I bet people who wear fanny packs get more disparaging comments than women who wear head scarves.

    CNN should do an article on how unwelcome fanny pack wearers are.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • S


      That's all.

      April 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • lina


      April 3, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  6. Mark

    Just a reminder: Everybody Paint Mohammed Day 2011 is coming up on May 20th. Support the First Amendment and improve your artistic skills all in one day!

    April 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Well, of Mohammad comes over and asks me to, I'll gladly paint him. I hope he lets me know in advance though, as I don't keep body paint in stock normally.

      April 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  7. Matt Miller

    MissV, you're just an idiot. End of story!

    April 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  8. Mary

    People should be free to wear whatever symbols of their religion that they want to wear. The crucifix I wear offends some people but I don't care. If the Muslim women want to wear a scarf, then they should wear it without fear of some idiot bothering them.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Soso

      Thank you Mary. I don't have the right to tell someone what to wear and what not to wear.
      Should we also tell the Sisters (nuns) to stop covering their head?

      April 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Tell the TRUTH

      How many Sisters (nun) do you think the Priest would kill if they stopped wearing one ? I have searched but I haven't been able to find one example, just try doing a search of Muslim women kill by trying to stop wearing one,WARING you will be all day and night reading the examples that you will find.

      April 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Really, truth? You should actually LEARN about what you blather on about, where YOU would deny the first amendment to your fellow citizen over.
      Aisha, Mohammad's wife, threatened to remove her scarf and expose her hair.
      Why? To stop an impending battle. The men stopped cold and apologized to her.
      The funny thing is, *I* am Christian. But, unlike you, *I* learn about a subject before discussing it.
      Hence, *I* can converse with a Muslim regarding his religion intelligently, whereas YOU would simply forbid the first amendment to certain citizens. For, the NEW American way is that some people are more equal than others, right?

      April 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Luke

      What rights do the people where you come from, give to those that aren't Muslims?

      April 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  9. Mb

    The entire world is being ruined and divided by the rampant spread of this "peaceful" religion that can only spread itself like a plague through holy wars, violence and mass murder in the name of their god. It really is very simple. If you don't like the United States and what it stands for-GET THE HELL OUT AND GO BACK TO YOUR ABUSIVE, BACKWARD HELLHOLES THAT YOU CAME FROM!! Nobody wants you or your Mosques here!! Yours is a repressive religion that has no standards for human rights. That is not why our country was founded. LEAVE-ALL OF YOU!!

    April 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Wiseguy

      my friend, they have to place to go back.....they turn their place in to a pooping place.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Just like a good commie country.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Hana

      Ok, I will go back to the abusive, oppressive hell-hole that I came from..... can you tell me which one please? My family has been here since colonial times, moved from the UK, France, and what is now French Canada, a few other European countries added through marriage here in the US and a little Native American in there somewhere. Ohhhhhh, I know, you mean the literal hell-hole of heat! Got it! Sorry, already living here in Phoenix.

      April 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  10. Wiseguy

    If Muslim is a religion of peace, why is the whole arab world became a big waste disposal place? Now the Muslims are in the west, what is your agenda here? Can someone explain this to me?

    Also, I'm still waiting for someone to reply on my question. If I'll burn the Quran, will you KABOOMM me? just asking.......

    April 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • DSADSA

      @Wiseguy - funny, I bet you never went to college? You do realize the whole protest thing going on in the middle east is because of the want for democracy, the power to vote for leader. You obviously are not intelligent enough to understand this.

      April 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Hana

      If you burned the Quran, I would just shake my head at the ignorance. One huge hypocritical cycle of hatred that is not encouraged in any major religion.

      You may have the right, and I support your right to do so, but that does not make it the CORRECT or most successful course of action. I cringe when ANY book is burned, way to reminiscent of the Nazis.

      I cant speak for other Muslims, just for me.

      April 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  11. Patrick F

    If everyone worldwide gave up religion the world would be a lot friendlier. Religion is a lot less about inclusiveness and a lot more about fear... fear of the unknown. Give up the fear and embrace your life. Afterall, what is life about if it's not about living it to the fullest?

    April 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Isaiah Horbert

      So what you're saying is if everyone in the world converts to your way of thinking the world would be a lot friendlier? Isn't that what religious fanatics say all the time? The hypocrisy and ignorance of some people is surprising.

      April 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Yeah, it worked so well with Joe Stalin. It worked so well for the Chinese people, with summary executions.
      I think we'll keep that first amendment, thank you.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  12. mohamed

    have any non muslims women ever put on the hijab and see how they look,why the christians women wore a head scarf for her wedding,does it not make her more beautiful,look at princess diana she look more beautiful with her veil on her head on her wedding day.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Duane St.Pete fla

      Again, shut up. You people live like it's the middle ages and Islam is a stupid violent religion. Stop being so afraid of girls and give them equal rights

      April 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Harry

      So, you are comparing a religious requirement to wear certain things whenever in public to a 1-time ceremony, a wedding? Not tracking that logic my friend...

      April 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Nina

      your'e just so friggin twisted in your head. Its all about control of women.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Sarahjarah

      I live in a small town in north Florida. When I was 20 years old I wore all the traditional Muslim garb to a store. My husband did as well. We wanted to see what sort of reaction we would get. I must admit it was eye opening. I can only describe it as getting death looks. We all must remember that we are Americans and have fought for our right to believe what we want. I dont believe in women wearing head scarfs. If I want to walk around wearing a bakini all day I will and I have. What matters is having the freedom to choose.

      April 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Duane, get the hell out of my country. RIGHT NOW. I did NOT spend over 27 years of my life defending this land for you to destroy every right we have.
      Get out and go to a commie nation, like you REALLY want to have.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bohemond

      Ahh, so now it's about "beauty"... LOL

      April 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Karen

      The wedding viel is see through. It isn't like people wear it to cover up.

      April 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • joseph

      @Duane ,I cannot agree more with you

      April 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Amber

      You are very bitter today. What is wrong? Why are you all people so agitated today? There are two girls who want to wear what they want to wear. Are they stopping you from wearing what you want to wear?

      April 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • The Curious Sofa

      Your credibility is dwindling away. Please, don't make more of a fool of of yourself than you already have.

      April 3, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Maryam

      Please, some of you need to open some books up soon, the more a women has uncovered the more a man sees her as an item, a tool, and not a human (proven by studies too)
      not only but including Islam, how the brain works, and so on because I know middle schoolers that know more about how people think and the different religions of the world, and no they are all Christians and funny thing is not even one of them shares the same perspective as some of you people promoting immodesty and rewriting your own Bill of Rights

      April 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Luke

      You recieved death stares, becasue it horrifies free people to see women in bondage.

      April 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  13. Duane St.Pete fla

    Wow, that's so sweet......wonder how proud she will be when they stone her to death for what ever reason they choose. We should ban the damn things like the French have....we wont cause the French have more balls than our libs do.......

    April 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      So, one needs testicles to abandon the entire first amendment? Or simply cowardice?
      If you don't like it, move to France. Better yet, move to China. You'd fit in, just like the good little commie that you are.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Hana

      I am sorry, but I am quite proud of the men and women who have served this country, given time, effort, blood, and sometimes their lives to build and protect a country where religious freedom and freedom of speech are a foundational right. To suggest that those rights be taken away for a group simply because you dont agree with them is insulting to the very essence of the US military and those who have sacrificed.

      I am American. I am descended from one of those liberal rebels that signed the Declaration of Independence. Generations of my family have served in the US military at various times. I am proud of that history. And I USE my rights to follow the religion that I believe in.... ISLAM.

      I fully acknowledge that I have that right here in the US. For as much as people complain that Muslims kill other Muslims that leave Islam, so do the Christians who leave Christianity in that part of the world. It is a cultural thing, primarily based on a set of rules attributed to Omar, but some scholars believe may have been created much later... becoming doctrine, but never a part of the original texts or religion.

      It is my relationship with God, it is my faith, based on the Quran, and reading the Hadith. But, I do not base it on people, because people never agree and seldom truly follow what their religion preaches (true for all faiths). If I chose a religion based on how people practice it... I would have ended up being Bahai' or Wiccan.... but, I didn't, I followed God.

      April 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  14. Flaky

    Come out of islam and live a little! All this dogma is getting to be a little too much.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      One can say the very same thing to Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Tell the TRUTH

    Sister, tell the TRUTH about Islams Sharia Law of the headscarf, tell the TRUTH about what age it become MANDATORY ATTIRE, tell the TRUTH about what happens to women who try to dress "western" and not wear the hijab, we have some examples of what happens to them right here in the US, I am sure CNN can help you get that information from their news files.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, here IS the truth. I spent over 27 years in military service to this nation. I spent nearly 5 years deployed in the Persian Gulf region. I had my wife over to visit.
      No hijab requirement in Kuwait. No hijab requirement in Bahrain. No hijab requirement in Dubai. No hijab requirement in Qatar.
      Saudi is a bit different, pretty much they consider themselves like the Vatican, as they "own" Mecca.
      There is the truth.
      Iran has female politicians. Total inequality, huh? Women drive in ALL of the above named nations, save Saudi. And THAT has been brought up BY THE KING several times in the past several years.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • S

      Add Egypt to the list put forth by Wzrd.

      April 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Hana

      Add Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon to that list Wzrd. Ohhh, and lets not forget that Arabs are a minority among Muslims... so there are a lot more countries to concider as well.

      April 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • paperjihad

      Add Morocco and Tunisia to the list, and Turkey as well.

      April 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  16. Sal

    It's just that I don't trust these people. Their allegiance is to that damn religion and not to this country! Anytime they get a bug up their rear end they become jihadist and want to reek havoc! All you have to do is take a look at the killings at Fort Hood! Islam a peaceful religion? Don't make me laugh! Up to now all terrorists have been muslim! Do you see a connection there with that fanatical religion? It's so obvious too. 

    April 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • AllTerroristsAreMuslims,RLY??

      ya totally man:

      Abortion clinic bombers – Muslim
      KKK – All Muslims
      IRA – Ultra Muslim
      McVeigh – King of Muslims

      April 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • jerry

      try learning how to spell first

      April 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • damn yank

      our alliance isn't to any country or religion......our alliance is to God.

      you all have no problem standing up and putting your hand on your heart and saying the pledge of allegiance. You have no problem following blind patriotism....even when your own government represses and oppresses you. Yes.....the USA oppresses it's own citizens, but you're to blind to see it.

      For those of you who don't believe in a God, well....that is your choice. You can cover your eyes and say that the sun doesn't exist....but it does. The thing is, there is no scientific basis to disprove the existence of God. Go ahead, worship mankind, worship your technology, worship your government.........Go ahead and call Islam and Muslims evil. Go ahead and call the prophet of islam all sorts of names. Go ahead and have fun and laugh. Just remember that and one day, you'll be dead, buried, and forgotten.....but Islam will remain, and the prophet of Islam will still be remembered as the greatest man who ever walked the face of the earth.

      So yes, our allegiance is to God. The one who never dies, the everlasting Almighty creator. The one who takes away life and who gives it. Our allegiance is to the one who promises that one day we all will be held accountable for everything we say and do. And the one who will give mankind everything he deserves (good and bad) in the hereafter.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • ahe3

      dam yank, you sure drank the Kool Aid. It is a sad day when we all have to wait to be accountable to God when we first HAVE to be accountable to ourselves. It is called personal responsibility. I believe in God, but I use my moral compass not out of fear to God but because it is the right thing to do. Weren't you taught this as a child?

      April 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • notoreligion

      If God is at the top and a prophet below in the ranks, and Jesus was both a prophet and GOD. Then Jesus out-ranks mohamed!

      Also, as an American / Westerner. I have the right to: Not like muslims, not like, religion, wear a bikini, a towel, rag where ever, speak what ever, say whatever, make whatever, do something or nothing. etc. I will reap what my labor, mind, endurance bring me. I can have or not have religion, I can change it if i chose, I can say offensive things, I can say nice tthings. I can agree or disagree. I can stay or leave. I am an America, I support my country, my people, my land before all other things. I may do it in the name of Nation, Religion, Family, or whatever. But remember, this IS MY LAND. It was fought for and won, right or wrong by our forefathers. I am proud that they did what they did regardless of cost or sacrifice. I will not feel guilt, shame, or any remorse for what the people before did to provide the world with this amazing place we call the land of the FREE and home of the BRAVE. All humans have fought in our collective history and some have been winners others losers. I'd rather be a WINNER any time at any cost of the LOSER. Why, because the loser would do it to me in a heartbeat. So we can all pretend to be politically correct, kind, tolerant. In the end we will all take a stand when we are pushed. I support your right to be a muslim, wear a headscarf, yes Mother Mary wore one too, she was a jew and that is the same as all others in that region. culture. I will and do tolerate our differences. However, make no mistake or my / our level of education, income, intelligence. We've been here far longer than you and your religion. We have created all that is good in the world over that last 200 years of our history. Science, culture, music, education, technology all come from the west. If not for OIL what good has come from the middle east since the Egyptians 4000 years ago and beer! And yeas ill take the bikini too. And to western women. Some of us may not be the most polite but that too is our right. We mean no great harm. If we holler, what of it. We no right and wrong. The punishment for hollering is not getting to know you. Thats reasonable.

      April 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • timothyn

      -Nazi German (hitler looked to the bible for his ispiration)
      -First use of Nuclear weapons against civilians
      -Major world wars in past century.
      ... doesnt take a genius to figure out that christianity has killed far more innocents than all other religions combined.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      timothyn, without those Christians fighting for your rights, you'd have your head chopped off.


      April 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm |



      April 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Joel Weymouth

      McVeigh got his support form Ghadafi. – and those people that have been killed by anti-abortion activists could be counted on one hand. And don't refer to Hitler as a Christian – actually – Hitler's inspiration for genocide came from Darwin – read origin of the species and learn.

      The big difference between Christianity/violent Christians and Islam/Violent Muslims is that Christians condemn and cooperate with the authorities to prosecute violent Christians. Muslims cover up for them and apologize for them.

      April 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Syed

      @ Joel.. My Friend you have gotten it wrong.. Islam does not allow killing... people get mixed up with cultures and religion. In different cultures they may kill, but in Islam its a definite no. All the people that know little about Islam get it confused with culture

      April 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Garrick

      So, Sal - why don't you move some place else (how does Mexico sound?, or maybe find yourself a rock to crawl under).

      These "people" are Americans, just like (maybe?) you. They have every right to practice their faith. No one tells me what chirch to go to, and I am not about to tel anyone what or who to worship

      April 3, 2011 at 3:37 am |
  17. Brian

    Our nation is in global conflict with people who commit mass murder for the sake of their belief system, and it cannot be ignored in the interest of either religious freedom or political correctness.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      The "anti-political correctness" argument again. The rallying cry to ignore the laws of our once great land. It WAS great, but then some folks decided to ignore every amendment that was made. They decided that our laws of equality are meaningless. They decided to declare themselves above our laws and principles.
      In short, they became a clear and present danger to the safety, security and national interests of the Great United States of America.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Abudu Rahman

      Who are you talking about Brian, George Bush or Harry Truman?

      April 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • HistProf

      Hey Abudu...right now we are not talking about George Bush or Harry Truman...just thought I would refocus your discussion...this is about the hijab. What are your thoughts about it?

      April 2, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Brian

      Very true...

      April 3, 2011 at 5:01 am |
  18. mohamed

    if some one has a problem with the hijab the they have a problem with mary,mother of jesus,If so they need drastic help from a imaam or islamic scholar,they need to educate themselves a bit more,to be anti hijab is to be anti mary(anti christian) and anti semitic because all the great women the the 3 major religion wore the hijab or veil.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • bethe123

      That is one ignorant comment.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • chuckmartel

      more proof you vermin have got to go.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Nina

      seriously, could you stop making comparisons of life 2000 years ago versus today. Most cultures have evolved beyond that. do you not get that or are you so blinded by your religion or should I say Cult?????????????????

      April 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Janine

      I agree; I was once in the UP in Michigan and this little kid walks up to her mom and tells her: "Hey Mom this is Jesus Mom !" Innocent 3-4 years old girl has not seen another hijabi woman other than Mary's picture in her church 🙂

      April 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Hana

      For those of you who think it is just a comparison to 2000 years ago, take a look at modern day Nuns, Hesidic Jews, and a whole wide range of women choosing to cover their heads and/or dress modestly for religious reasons. It is not a practice isolated to Islam.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Fauzi

      Very good point. The sisters (nuns) in the Church wear hijab, as a sign of modesty and devotion to God. And you are right this is how Marry (peace be upon her and prophet Jesus) used to dress.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Tell the TRUTH

      So you are trying to compare the Muslim hijab to a Jewish Christian head covering of 2000 years ago ? Well then let us do a TRUE comparison...Mary or any other Jewish Christian woman then or NOW would NEVER be whipped, ran over by a wagon (then) or car (now), be stoned, nose cut off, shot with arrow (then) or gun (now). And these same Jewish Christians are the same people Islam has tried to kill then and NOW. Things don't change much over 2000 years in Islam.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Quite true, truth. After all, Christianity only brought us the inquisitions and burning women at the stake, in God's almighty mercy. Christianity only brought us crusades, murder, death and mayhem. Indeed, 4 crusades were INSIDE Europe.
      And the wonderful wars fought between the protestants and the catholics that ended up removing 1/3 of the population of Europe.

      Hijab was NOT required in most of the GCC states for women. BUT, many DID end up wearing a scarf over their hair.
      Sand storms, which carry an amazing amount of dust. Dust that hardens like concrete in one's hair. And *I* ended up resorting to the keffiyeh, for the same reason. Keep the stuff out of my hair and lungs, as the regular dust masks that we were issued clogged up in no time flat.
      But, I guess in your world, I sold out, as I wore that instead of choking to death.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Magic


      "Why? [hijab]
      Sand storms, which carry an amazing amount of dust. Dust that hardens like concrete in one's hair. And *I* ended up resorting to the keffiyeh, for the same reason. Keep the stuff out of my hair and lungs, as the regular dust masks that we were issued clogged up in no time flat"


      Taken in practical context, these coverings make sense.

      How would we regard native Hawaiians/Polynesians if they flounced around in grass skirts in Chicago? Permitted, sure, but pretty absurd.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • bowne

      why are people against the comparison of 2000 years ago, is religion suppose to change over time? if so, someone should let them nuns know to take their head gear off since it is 2011.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Karen

      True. Every religion has its own funny hat.

      April 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • joseph

      First , the nuns do not wear a Hijab and they will never do , second ,they chose to cover their head because they chose to and they were not obliged to do it ,just wanted you to be clear on that

      April 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • HistProf

      Wow, Mohamed...thanks for believing in the concept of free thought. You actually want everyone to be taught by an imam or islamic scholar? How about you get taught by a Christian or Jewish or Buddhist, etc. scholar? Are you willing to listen? Maybe you will hear a very different story about a great many things. Have a great day.

      April 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Upperhand

      I'm not anti hijab...I'm anti-Islam, anti-Muslim, anti- Sharia, anti-Jihadist, anti-cave dwelling 3rd world religion.

      April 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  19. Bob

    CNN will do anything in the name of western/white/christian guilt...another idiotic article

    April 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • jerry

      If she chooses to wear it, what does it matter to you? Isn't this protected under the First Amendment?

      April 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Bob, DO read the ENTIRE first amendment. If you disagree with it, kindly depart the land and never return.

      April 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  20. Assel Talassova

    I'm a Muslim woman living in the U.S. of Russian origin. I wear a headscarf. I once walked into a convenience store in some small little town on the outskirts of Tulsa on a trip to see my husband's family in Dallas. Some trashy looking blonde chick buying a pack of cigarettes and a 6 pack told me why I wore a headscarf and that she felt sorry for oppressed women like me and that she wasn't surprised I left the "hell hole" that I came from. I simply smiled and walked out. I'm a PE that makes $120k a year. I wear ahead scarf because I choose to, and I have a son and a husband who are everything to me. At some point, you realize that trying to explain anything to these brainwashed morons is useless. Let them think whatever they want. That woman felt sorry for me, when in fact I feel I have a life a million times better than she does. I choose to wear the headscarf. It's my choice. If you want to lay by a pool in a bikini and have men stare at you like you're a piece of meat, that's fine with me, but don't tell me I'm oppressed because I reject that way of life.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Harry

      So, religion that dictates such things as what you will wear is not brainwashing?

      April 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Duane St.Pete fla

      Go away

      April 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Charles Darwin

      Islam is the most oppressive religion. If this woman believes it isn't, she's kidding herself. I like how one of her statements completely contradicts islam. " If you want to lay by a pool in a bikini and have men stare at you like you're a piece of meat, that's fine with me, but don't tell me I'm oppressed because I reject that way of life." The ironic thing is she has the choice in a western society, but I'd like to see women in Islamic societies really having the choice to lay out in a bikini". That's oppression.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • scorpio

      Bob, what you do for living? how educated ru?If I my guess is correct, you're not among the 10% educated, intellectual american class. You belong to the rest.. high school drop out, low middle clas..who think they r best just coz they r white american 🙂 ..at least thats what ur use of language suggets!

      PS: I am not muslim fan.not at all with their ideologies. but at the same time offcourse they HAVE THE RIGHT to wear headscarf if they want to. what's ur problem with that buggers?

      April 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • lins

      you are missing the point of your own comment – we have to change the thinking of those men – who stare and make cat calls – not hide and cover our selves. You are treating the diseases not the cause. Very dangerous thinking.

      If you teach men and woman to respect each other and them selves – we wont have theses issues. you rae hiding because of the way a man treats you – by continuing to hide you empower him to continue to do that and make your self and the rest of us weak.

      Until we have equal respect for each other – i will teach my daughter to be string and counter the cat calls and stares with dignity and defiance – not by hiding under a veil and giving the abuser more power that he deserves.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Tell the TRUTH

      Sister, tell the TRUTH about your husbands reaction if you all of a sudden decided not to wear one,whipped, run over by a car and shot are a few examples of what happened to some women here in US that tried it.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Ok but

      You sound really self righteous and seem to ignore the fact that in plenty of Muslim countries you'd be stoned to death for wanting to be educated or have a career. This is why people express reservations about the trappings of your religion, which is a worldwide beacon of oppression and backward thinking. "piece of meat"... freaking grow up, will you?

      April 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Not your friend

      Assel, im happy for you and i think you are 100% correct. These people are idiots and don't realize that its a choice that you made, not were forced into. I guess if they took the time to actually LEARN, they would understand.. Or maybe not. Yeah maybe not actually.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Donna Jackson

      In America, we have fought for freedom for every race, religion and gender. That means, that the "trashy blonde" has a right to wear her bikini and buy beer and cigarettes. Hell, she probably makes $150 K a year! Why would you be so presumptuous as to think she is ignorant?

      April 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • notowelhead

      And why did you move here?

      April 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Hana

      Yes, I have had similar experiences as a Muslim convert. I just laugh. Society tells them that wearing hijab is oppressive, so they repeat it. But, the reality is that people are more respectful to me and around me. My husband loves me for who I am not the size bra I wear.... and honestly he would feel more comfortable if I did not wear it, but he supports my choice anyway. Hijab is not repressive, people are. I admit that there are cultures and individuals around the world and in the US that are oppressive to women and they can use the hijab as a tool in that. But, in and of itself, the hijab is respectful and liberating in many ways.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Diego

      And Christianity is not oppressive, enslaving, murderous? Who are you people kidding? There are good people in all faiths...and many evil. Only people make religion and governments evil or are you so blind? or just stupid? See the world it was in the name of Jesus Christ that it became oppressed, races annihilated, races enslaved? Fools you all are.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Prettygreenbird

      Good for you! There will always be negative people that try to make themselves feel better by putting others down. I feel sorry for them. I am a Christian, and I would like to let you know that you are welcome in my community ANY day! Forget people that choose to be ignorant.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Nina

      you looked at that woman and thought "some trashy blonde chick"... I look at a woman hearing a hijab and think religion of violence, oppression and intolerance.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • notoreligion

      So you make 120k a year. You should be thanking the West for that as your culture and homeland would have you beaten, scrubbing floors, and caring for a bunch of kids. Of course the boys are worth more than girls and you. In fact the reason you wear the head covering in the west is to throw it in our face, to stand out because you feel left out of our society, because you can not blend in as you r background and and ideas are so very different in so many ways. You are clinging to your culture for strength by fooling yourself in to thinking you are better than us. The reality is you admitted defeat by moving here in the first place. Your ideas are from the 4th century and earlier. Give them up or go to where they are welcome. Here you will face defeat in the end. America is not for everyone. Only those that wish to integrate. Other will face a life of misery.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • One of a Kind

      If I had my say, you could only lay by the pool in a bikini, if you had big boobs!

      April 2, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Hana

      Seriously people, learn something about these cultures, countries, and different Muslim groups. Yes, there are some countries, or communities, or even individuals who are oppressive. But, constantly saying that a Muslim woman would be beaten or stoned for getting an education or getting a job or whatever is just ridiculous. There are women holding a great many jobs with a wide range of educations around the Middle East and around the world... doctors, business women, engineers, and I even met a woman General in the Syrian military once. Many of them also wear hijab. Other women do dress more westernized. Islam encourages women to get educations and to have the right to pursue a job.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • JR

      I have never understood this argument that wearing a headscarf is a sign of modesty and somehow a "liberating" experience. If thats the case then why arent men enjoined to do the same thing if its so liberating? And please dont use the becasue "the koran requires only women to" argument. My point is why does it only require women? When I see a women in a headscarf my first reaction is not to say "oh she is very modest" but to think that she is from a different culture and a different religion and wants to be seperate from mainstream society. Now she may very well be doing it for modesty and it may not be true that she wants to be seperate from larger society but that is not what is being commnunicated. You talk about how you no longer hear the cat calls wearing the headscarf or being stared at while other women wear a bikini. That is the price of a little thing called freedom. Are there women who display no regard for modesty? Sure. Is the only solution a headscarf? No way. The alternative for many non Muslims is simply to dress modestly like millions of non Muslim women do everyday. You use the experience of a "trashy blonde" to put yourself in a superior position. How about a more appropriate comparison to a professional non Muslim women who does dress modestly. There are plenty of them out there. Using a trashy blonde is too convenient and too easy. Many non Muslim women would also look at her as trashy without resorting to a headscarf. Furthermore people need to keep in mind that wearing a headscarf is not seen as a requirment by all Muslims. Only one major segment sees it as a requirement. My basic point is that if you want to wear a head scarf, fine, thats your decision. But to make the very silly adolescent claim that not wearing one makes you more liberated than non muslim women is simply bizare and weird. There is absolutley nothing progressive about wearing a headscarf. Muslim women here in the U.S. may believe that way but in the country of your religion's origins women are anything but liberated. You are simply enjoying the fruits of western liberty without acknowledging and confusing it with your religion. Anyway nice try but no one is convinced by your arguments.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Trashy Blonde Chick

      Hey quit showing off, you're not the center of attention anymore. Big deal, so you wear a headscarf. We have lots of religions in America. That's the beauty of America, everything is accepted.

      April 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      JR, you SHOULD learn the facts. Men are required hijab as well. The head is to be covered and anything above the knees is to be covered. It also governs behavior, to not have an excess of pride or to be immodest in behavior, as well as with clothing.

      Assel, I see a woman in a bikini, I don't behold her like a piece of meat. I may briefly admire her physique, but I'll quickly move on and not pause, as I already have a wife, one that I'm quite satisfied with. So, kindly don't judge all men with the same filter.
      That said, I suspect, based upon your statements above, we'd get along very well in person. Probably to the point of our families dining together on a regular basis. As we have with other Muslim families we came to know while I was deployed.

      April 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Assel Talassova, it comes down to who has achieved spiritual awareness versus those that stay stuck in in their carnal delusions.


      April 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • S

      To those saying that Muslim women who choose to cover themselves are 'brainwashed,' we have rights in this nation. If a woman chooses to cover herself, SHE HAS THE RIGHT TO DO SO. If a woman doesn't want her body being examined every time she goes in public, THAT'S HER CHOICE. So stop whining.
      Honestly, the only reason this is an issue is because the media is making it one. Really, it's a non-issue. They can wear headscarves. That's that. Go move to France if you don't like it.

      April 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • S

      men are told to dress modestly and act modestly as well.

      I would also like to point out that maybe the U.S. could use a little modesty. When you can't walk through a mall without seeing a mostly naked woman (I'm talking V.S. ads) and when they offer push-up bikinis for 7 year olds, you really have to take a step back and think.

      April 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • HistProf

      Interesting how you have judged her in the same manner as she judged you...both blind and ignorant. We don't care if you wear a headscarf...our grandmothers did the same.

      April 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Upperhand

      Go back to your cave! You're not wanted in America.

      April 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • DragRacer

      To all the haters, I have one question: Would Jesus appreciate you wearing a bikini or would he be more pleased to see you dress up modestly?

      April 2, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • Joel Weymouth

      @Assel Talassova – I see your religion has made you quite sensitive to people who you consider "inferior" to you. The concept of charity is not in Islam, and by your own post – it is obvious. I noted ME ME ME in your post. A Christian is taught to love their enemies, and pray for them that hate you and despitefully use us. We don't mock them, and we certainly would never murder them, like your religion dictates.

      April 2, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Mike

      Islam definately doesn't brainwash!!!! What a joke, muslims are the most brainwashed people in the world....Everything is fine and dandy, but just don't try to convert to another religion.....

      April 3, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • John

      I respect you sister, these morons just don't get that womans in the middle east have more freedome than woman in USA. Show me a female president of any christian country??? but we muslims have a female president which in malysia, the biggest muslim country in the world.

      April 3, 2011 at 3:00 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.