My mother started wearing the hijab back in Egypt when she was around 12 years old. She came into this country year 1998, still wearing the hijab. Growing up I knew she wouldn't force me to wear it, not until I made the decision myself. Growing up I also knew the types of stares i'd get when I did start to wear it. I knew people would look at me differently and secretly start to judge me (sometimes not so secretly). Even then, I knew I still wanted to wear it so that I could represent my religion, so I did. I started wearing it in 7th grade. The hijab is a very big part of me now, even when it gets annoying sometimes. Even though it is just literally a scarf wrapped around my head, it shows who I am as an individual and who I am as a Muslim living in America.
– Leen Zaki