December 16, 2003
Send us your questions
* I have turned to Islam
I'm a 20-year-old British-Iranian female studying at University in
London. I come for a family where religion was given very little priority.
'enjoying' the 'liberal' lifestyle I have been permitted to lead by
family, I've decided it's not for me because I can see there must be
greater purpose in my life. I have turned to Islam and in this I find
I am, in short, very confident in my faith and belief now.
This came as a huge shock to my friends and family, particularly
considering my previous un-Islamic lifestyle . They were however able
initial increased interest in Islam.
But recently I have decided
to start wearing the hejab and this concerned them greatly. They have
far as to persistently request that I remove it. They see that
it is as
something that will affect their image amongst friends and community.
think perhaps the hejab is looked down upon by many Iranians as
oppressive. For me it is to the contrary.
They cannot understand
why I have
chosen this lifestyle but my heart is REALLY in it. Now I am
faced with the
dilemma of obeying my parents or obeying Allah... both of which
are important to me. Maybe this is a strange, unique situation to be
case is often of hejab being enforced on girls. Anyway your advice
matter is appreciated.
Meanwhile I have my prayers to help me
Abjee Fotti and Abjee Pari write:
It is always very hard for a family to deal with one of their children's
religious conversion. Even in your case, where you were born into
a nominally moslem family, your newfound adherence to Islam is a shock
to your parents and friends because it looks as though you are going
against all the principles of secularism and liberalism they have raised
Also, for Iranian immigrants, Islam has come to serve
as a symbol of political oppression, something that has forced men women
and children to flee their homeland, so it is no suprise that they view
your adoption of those oppressive symbols as a slap in the face.
your case, your conversion to any religion would have been a difficult
subject but we would venture to say from their reaction, that your newborn
conversion to Islam is perhaps even more unacceptable to them as if ,
say, if you had decided to turn Mormon.
That being said, your parents and friends are wrong to constantly taunt
you and require that you remove your hejab in front of them. As
hard as it is, they must simply learn to accept you as you are, or fear
losing you. Perhaps if you engaged in some sort of dialogue with
them about what it is exactly that attracted you to religion and Islam,
and why you felt that the "liberal" lifestyle, however you
define it, was not right you, they may understand tolerate and even learn
to accept your life choice.
We wouldn't suggest calling a family
meeting perhaps it is better to try to communicate one on one. Who
do you think among your family and friends circle would be most prone
to listening to your side of things? Pick that person and take
them out for a coffee or lunch and discuss calmly and without prejudice
your different points of views, not to seek that the other person comes
to your view, but simply that they understand you better.
A lot of discomfort that your family is experiencing right now probably
comes out of fear. Unfortunately, the too recent memory of seeing
fresh-faced youths embroiled in the hysteria of religious brainwashing
has made them scared that they are losing you to the "Enemy." Alleviating
their fears and making them understand that this is a true spiritual
journey for you and something that makes you happy in your life will
go a long way to decrease the animosity they have displayed towards your
We wish you a lot of luck and the best in your future,
this page to your friends