Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Laila .. Hold your Ground

This Post is part of Kolena Laila initiative

I chose to wear the Hijab when i was 15 years old. My family was against this decision and my mum tried to convince me to delay this step claiming that I am too young and when I join college and see my friends dressing up and changing hair styles every now and then I would get jealous and might take it off. But I held my ground. it was my life and I had the right to choose. Now, it has been 14 years 5 months and 15 days and i have never regretted this decision.

I chose to join the Faculty of Arts and study English Literature. If you are familiar with the educational system in Egypt you would know that the Faculty of Arts is not exactly classified as one of the top faculties to join. My grades were really high and my family tried to convince me to join something else, but I loved Literature and I knew I wouldn't be comfortable studying anything else. So I held my ground. it was my life and I had the tight to choose. It has been 8 years since i have graduated and i have never regretted this decision.

I chose to travel and work in a different country. Once and opportunity came in the horizon I had to seize the chance to enhance my career. Again my parents were hesitant and as usual my mum was sick worried about here little kid who would live and work in a different country away from her and faces life all alone (I was 26 then by the way) but I didn't yield and I held my ground, it was my life and I had the right to choose.

If there is something I am really proud of in my whole life, it is my ability to always decide and choose for myself when it comes to things that really matters, things I am passionate about and things that will shape my future.

So you can imagine how mad I get when someone tries to convince me that wearing the Hijab is the result of peer pressure or brain washing and not my free will.

You can imagine how mad i get when i find laws are being drafted to force me into wearing or not wearing whatever I choose.

How mad I get when someone tries to undermine my achievements and tells me that as a Muslim woman I shouldn't be working and that the only place i belong to is at home.

When I see people forcing things on me I can't help but wonder what gave them the right to decide for me? Do they have any idea who am I?

I am Laila ... God created me with a brain and a strong will to decide and choose my path in life. I don't need you to tell me what to do. what to wear or how to live. I don't want anyone to force anything on me under the claims of religion, social norms or women's rights. Once you force something on me you then take away from me God's own gift .. my free will and the right to choose.

So, to all the Lailas out there, here is the bottom line:
Be brave and always hold your ground

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