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A Muslim woman raised in a strict sharia observant Muslim family has revealed some of the mental and emotional torment Muslim women are subjected to since the time they are little. Her confessions and cries for help were published on Reddit. It’s heartbreaking to realize millions of girls around the world are subjected to psychological, emotional, social and even physical denigration through the oppressive demand of forcing women to wear the hijab since they are little.

This is what the nameless Muslima had to say about her experience of taking the hijab off in public for the first time since she was a kid.

I took my hijab off for a day and don’t know how to feel

I was raised in a very strict Islamic upbringing and have been wearing the hijab for 11 years (since I was 12). I also used to be amongst those who judged non-hijabis hard “for not following Allah’s commandments”. I never thought in a million years I would ever take it off. I did strongly believe in the hijab and there was a point I loved wearing it, but recently after reading more into it I’m starting to believe it’s not mandatory. I’m still very confused on this issue on whether it’s obligatory or not, so I decided to try taking it off for one day. The entire basis of my upbringing was almost based on the hijab so it’s something I had to think about for a long time.

But I’m having a lot of mixed feelings towards this experience of taking it off and frankly don’t know what to make of it. I thought that by doing this I’ll get some sort of clarity on this issue I’ve been struggling with for a while and that by the end of it, I’ll know which path is right for me. But I’m still just as confused.

Today, I decided to go out without my hijab. Before so, I asked God to guide me on this issue, and that by the end of it I’ll get some clarity. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was expecting. Getting out of the car, it was pretty surreal. One thing that shocked me was the wind blowing in my hair. I haven’t felt that since I was a child. It felt so nice. There were women passing by, and I felt more like one of them – a normal person; me being me. I went to workout, people were friendly as usual. I didn’t feel like anything changed and in fact, I felt like I blended in more to the background and that people didn’t perceive me as much. This felt weird but also really nice.

Afterwards, I went grocery shopping. Going through the aisles, no one really gave me the time of day (not that I expected them to?). For some reason, I thought I would be treated better but it was more of the same. I realized that I was feeling SUPER self conscious. I tried speaking to a worker and I couldn’t even make eye contact when usually I’ll be confident. I think I was a bit ashamed to be me.

There were moments where I just wanted to cry from the realization that other women were allowed to live so “free” (I hate using that word). At the same time, the hijab did give me a sense of identity, something that represents my faith (in today’s world), and allowed me to feel accepted in my family/Muslim community. But my hijab has been policed so much. In fact right before I went out, my Dad commented that “some of my neck was showing and to fear God” (I put the hijab on before I went out, my parents would go ballistic if they found out) which…made me so sad.

I don’t know why I’m writing this, but I’m trying to make sense of this experience. I still don’t know what to do going forward. I am incredibly scared that I’m off the right path and condemned to hell, but I also feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. The hijab is such a minuscule issue, but for some reason the relationship with my parents/community depends on it. At this point I don’t know what to make of everything.

Here Ex-Muslim Anni Cyrus describes her experience being forced to wear the hijab as a 9-year-old in Iran.

Yasmine Mohammed, a former hijabi Muslima, talks to Ridvan Aydemir, a.k.a. “Apostate Prophet”, about No Hijab Day and everything that’s wrong with the hijab.