Following are my very opinionated thoughts; my intention is not to insult or criticize, but to come to terms with my feelings regarding young girls and hijab.  Feedback and discussion are welcome and appreciated.

Several years ago we attended an ICNA conference  and I could not believe my eyes: an adorable eight or nine month old baby in a hijab, perched on her father’s lap.  Until this very moment, partly due to the fact that I am the mother of a five month old daughter, I often wonder why a Muslim parent would resort to donning an infant in a hijab.  Aside from my visceral reaction of borderline disgust (I know– harsh.  Just being honest.), it looked totally ridiculous.  She didn’t even have teeth.   A baby girl in a hijab seems as twisted as a toddler in a beauty pageant.    Excessive.  Seeing a baby covered in this manner, has triggered some emotions regarding my own children and their Islamic education and upbringing.

We are planning to send our kids to Islamic preschool, and if we find that the Islamic elementary schools in our area are dynamic, reputable and meet and exceed the standards for education– we will send them.  I find myself feeling anxious that my daughter will be required to wear a little hijab.  Sure, it’s cute.  Anything she does is cute, and anything she wears is cute.   Pre-K through second graders are required to wear hijab.  Third graders and older are required to wear khimar and jilbab!   I must ask, what message does this send?  Will Tiny Girl  chalk it up to ‘girls cover and boys don’t’ ?  Will she grow to love it or be turned off by it because it’s mandatory?  Will my son grow to be biased toward girls and young women  based on whether or not they cover?  As a matter of fact it is only mandatory when menstruation begins.  So why start so young?    I absolutely cringe when I hear another Muslim offer this explanation: “well, if she only starts wearing it to school when she gets her first period, everyone will know she has it”.

Spare.  Me.

As a Muslim parent, I do have concerns.  I want my children to grow to love God and to realize that living a well-balanced life is totally compatible with Islam.    Furthermore, I want my children to be in an unbiased and fair environment when it comes to schooling,  learning how to be social creatures and making new friends.  I want both my son and daughter, to understand and find internal value in the practice and preservation of modesty.   More importantly, I’m feeling like my parental right and duty to introduce my children to modesty and it’s practice are being taken away from me.  Why should I let an institution determine how or when my daughter practices hijab?   I take hijab-wearing seriously and it doesn’t mean a thing, if it’s not done for the right reasons. I find it hard to believe kids  will learn to embrace modesty if it’s forced upon them.

Is my logic grossly flawed or is  this a typical concern amongst other Muslim parents?  What are parents of Muslim teens saying?  I would love to know how they deal with this issue, and what the outcomes are.

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