Anecdotal instances in which Muslim women wearing hijabs have been singled out for verbal or physical abuse has some questioning whether it is becoming too dangerous to wear the head scarves, reports Religion New Service. Assaults or intimidation of Muslims had been steadily rising well before the November election, but they became more common during the divisive campaign of President-elect Donald Trump, who called for a ban on Muslim immigrants and proposed a registry for U.S. Muslims.
A Pew Research Center analysis of hate crimes statistics from the FBI shows that the number of physical assaults against Muslims reached 9/11-era levels last year. The number of anti-Muslim intimidation crimes — defined as threatening bodily harm — also rose. Now some imams across the country are saying it’s OK to take the hijab off, at least temporarily. Imam Abdullah Antepli recently asked a group of women at the Islamic Association of Raleigh (N.C.) how many of them felt unsafe in public. Dozens of hands shot up. He told them the extraordinary circumstances under which Muslim Americans now live may require extraordinary measures — including taking off the hijab, at least for a while. “I’m not trying to be alarmist,” said Antepli, the chief representative of Muslim affairs at Duke University. “But the nation is being sucked into a combustible mix. We have to think unconventionally.” (Meanwhile, in the wake of a lawsuit police in Long Beach, Calif., will allow detainees to wear headscarves and other religious items while in custody unless there’s a safety concern.)