According to a recent report by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), violence against people of other religions or ethnicities is up 68% since the 2016 Presidential election. A study reported by USA Today indicated that violence against Muslims increased by 15% in 2017. Frequently, as I sit around public spaces—schools, coffee houses, diners, post office, barber shop, in line at the grocery store or the local “Big Box” superstore, and even at church gatherings—I hear folks callously complaining about the head covering that some Muslim women wear according to their custom. I’m talking about the hijab, also called a headscarf. “They shouldn’t be allowed to wear those in America!” some say. “That’s what terrorists wear!” say others. I don’t mean to get up on a soap box, but I wanted to share some images that show how many famous—even iconic—Americans and Christians have worn head coverings. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” someone once said. Ironically, if America is a “Christian Nation” as so many erroneously declare, then it is a nation founded by individuals who wore similar headscarves, including Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Moses, and Abraham, just to name a few. Maybe, just maybe, as the proverb goes: Clothes do not make the man . . . or the woman. Underneath, we are all people.
[Left to right, Top row: Jesus, Mother, Mary, Mary Magdalene; Second row: Moses, Abraham, Mother Theresa; Third row: Mary Washington, Florence Nightingale, Jackie Kennedy; Fourth row: Juliet (from Romeo & Juliet, 1968), bad-ass biker, rapper; Fifth row: Catholic nuns, Lonnie Ali (Mohammad Ali’s widow), every American woman at the beach in the 1920s and 1930s]