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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

    Annum Ahmad: Hijab isn’t just what you’re wearing, it’s also what you say and do
    City College Student Annum Ahmad. Casandra Garcia | [email protected]

    Julia Macay

    Guest Writer

    [email protected]


    Hijabs are not a fashion statement.

    Annum Ahmad is a 23-year-old Pakistani, born and raised in the Sacramento area. She knew she wanted to start wearing a hijab in high school, as she became more familiar with the Islam religion. The religious headwear is important to women who are practicing the religion, and although they may come in different colors and prints, there is more to a hijab than fashion.

    “It’s to show modesty, which is a big part of our religious beliefs,” the City College student says. “It shows our connection with God, as well.”

    Ahmad was hesitant to wear a hijab in high school because she felt as though her peers would judge or make fun of her decision to start wearing one randomly out of the blue. She finally made the decision to start wearing a hijab her first day of college at the City College Davis Center back in 2012.

    “I felt like all eyes were on me,” Ahmad says. “I tried to tell myself it was all in my head, too.”

    Her friends had no comments on her choice at first, but they ended up supporting her decision to become closer to her religion as time went on.

    Ahmad, however, has been in the middle of multiple incidents when people did not understand what the hijab was supposed to represent, and she felt discriminated against.

    “I felt discriminated, but not to the extreme,” she says. “I grew up here my whole life, which makes me question, ‘Why do people still discriminate against me just by the hijab I wear?’”
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    A year ago, Ahmad went to her cousin’s graduation in Fresno. As she walked through the bleachers to find a seat before the ceremony, she spotted one seat that wasn’t taken. She asked the man sitting next to the open spot if the place was taken. He did not respond. Other people sitting in the bleachers began to look over at Ahmad and the man, wondering if he would respond to her.

    “I tried asking him three times, and he still did not respond,” she says.

    She decided to sit in the seat despite his lack of response. As the ceremony began to start, she dropped the graduation pamphlet, which had fallen between her and the man. She waited to see if he would pick it up for her. He didn’t. When she reached down to pick it up, the man moved over to the side quickly, acting as if Ahmad was going to touch him.

    “I thought to myself: ‘Calm down, dude. Just because I’m wearing a hijab doesn’t make me different from everyone else.’”

    Ahmad’s parents were very proud of her decision to wear a hijab. When she first told them, Ahmad’s father, Naseer Ahmad, bought a bag filled with hijabs of different prints and colors.

    “I was so ecstatic when she had told her mother and I,” Naseer says. “Now that she’s older I think she realizes the importance of our religion.”

    Just because Ahmad wears a hijab does not make her different from everyone else. She has goals to transfer to university, just like any other college student. She aspires to be a psychologist who works with children. In her free time, she enjoys doing the complex body art known as henna and loves watching Netflix.

    “I like to think that I’m just like my peers,” Ahmad says. “Just because I wear a hijab it doesn’t make me different from everyone else. It just identifi es with what I believe in.” Ahmad stays positive and wears her hijab proudly as she goes about her busy day.

    “I believe Ahmad is an inspiration to her siblings and family members,” Ahmad’s mother, Shahida Ahmad says. “The hijab shows she is proud of her religion and heritage, and it makes me feel blessed.”

    Ahmad feels as though she made the right decision to start wearing a hijab because of how it makes her feel when she wears one. She says she not only feels confi dent and closer to her religion, she’s also proud to be a Pakistani growing up in California.

    If you ever run into Ahmad around campus, be sure to approach her. She is just like any other friendly college student, but she will no doubt leave a lasting impression on you.

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