Hijab is not an obstacle – it is a sign of self-confidence.

Wearing Hijab (head covering in Islam or called headscarf) always leads to interesting discussions and preconceptions. Our writer, Shilan Ahmed, who is from Syria and has been living in Germany for several years, is showing  her position towards Hijab in this article.

I believe that every woman has the right to live freely and to wear the clothes she feels comfortable with. There are Muslims who wear Hijab and Muslims who prefer to wear their hair down. As for me, I wear my Hijab with complete conviction and freedom.

Dress codes

Dress codes exist in many cases, and these codes that dictate certain styles of clothing for many different occasions. For example, there are professions with certain indispensable dress codes. We have also the British royal family abide by strict dress requirements for all its members.

In fact, nobody contradicts all these requirements. However, when it comes to a religion, it also sets certain conditions for women’s clothing, including the obligation to wear Hijab, and many people reject these rules. Here, you might immediately think of oppression and bondage. For me as a Muslim woman, I have embraced this religion and will accept all its conditions with my full conviction.

How I have grown up

I am a Syrian woman have self-confidence, born and raised in a conservative Kurdish family in a Kurdish society. When I was young, I saw my elder sisters wearing Hijabs with complete conviction and without any pressure from others. I noticed that this did not prevent them to complete their studies and work. So, I knew that one day I would follow their path and wear Hijab with all satisfaction and happiness. My parents taught us that Hijab is an honor and it will never be an obstacle to achieving our goals.

When I turned fifteen, it was the moment I had been waiting for. I started putting on my Hijab and felt very proud of myself. When I graduated from high school I never felt that it could stop me from achieving my goals.

In addition, the Syrian society in which I lived at that time is not like what is reported in the German media. In the media here, wearing a Hijab is portrayed as a symbol of “oppression of women”. This gives a bad impression of it and many people believe that a woman with Hijab is not likely open to the world.

Prejudice about Hijab

I have been living in Germany for four and a half years, studying education and social sciences. I have already done many trainings in different social institutions and got to know many Germans. However, when I first arrived in Germany, many people advised me not to wear Hijab. They warned me of its bad consequences (shortcomings). I can confirm that Hijab often provokes prejudice in Germany. I witnessed bias because of it. Hijab is often met with discrimination and prejudice. I see this leads to inequality of work opportunity, and in life. And consequently, getting fewer opportunities to invest your skills.

Most people in western societies think that Arab societies subjugate women, force Hijab on them, keep them out of sight and prevent them from going to school or enjoying the many „freedoms“ women enjoy in the West. However, those who claim that woman’s or girl’s Hijab is a restriction on their freedom, and considering it as backwardness and old habit, is wrong. Islam does not restrict women’s rights or impede their success. Hijab is not supposed to exclude and isolate women from this world. On the contrary, Islam says that a woman is free from slavery or from any inferior attitude or view.

Own experience in Germany

According to my experience in Germany, I know that some people judge me for my hijab, but those are very few. On the contrary, I have met a quite number of people without this Hijab-related prejudice.

Finally, I can say I wasn’t treated badly because of my hijab, and I was able to do my training here and learn German. But as a woman wearing Hijab, I would like to address all people who still have a bad idea about Hijab;

Please do not associate Hijab with evil, terror, fear, and oppression. No one should be judged by their appearance. Evil is crystal obvious in many actions other than man appearance. and the truth is that no one want to wear the symbol of evil.

This text was written with Margarethe Hoberg  in our schreibtandem project.


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This article is also published in German: here

Hijab muss kein Hindernis sein – ein Zeichen für Selbstbewusstsein


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Shilan Akan
Shilan ist eine eine kurdische Frau, 24 Jahre alt und studiert Erziehungswissenschaft und Sozialwissenschaft an der Universität Erfurt. Sie ist ein Mitglied im Diversitätbeirat der Uni Erfurt und kommt aus Syrien. Shilan lebt seit 2016 in Deutschland. Sie ist eine aufstrebende Studentin. Derzeit engagiert sie sich in mehreren Organisationen.  

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