LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – Since the San Bernardino and Paris attacks, Muslims in the United States have been targets of harassment, especially Muslim women who wear their traditional headscarf, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.
As people of various religions and cultures gathered Thursday night at a vigil in Downtown Los Angeles to honor the victims of the massacre Dec. 2, safety was on the minds of many Muslims.
Sahar Pirzada is one of the event organizers and employee at CAIR. She said her headscarf, or hijab, symbolizes her love for God, but it can also make her a target for hate.
“For the first time in a very long time, I felt afraid,” she said. “Do I want to be recognized as a Muslim American in the public right now?” She said she sometimes wonders.
Edina Lekovic said she still wears her hijab despite her fear of backlash toward her or her family. “Nowhere should my life be threatened just for making the choice of being outwardly modest,” said the Muslim Public Affairs Council employee.
Shakeel Syed of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California said Muslim women can choose not to wear the hijab if they feel unsafe. “It is up to that woman. She is no less or no more respected because she kept or removed her jihab.”
There is a website called MuslimGirl.net that offers a crisis safety manual for Muslim women. It suggests tying a hijab like a turban or wearing a hood instead.