SHAFAQNA- Though many Muslim women might turn to removing their hijab over fears of falling victims to Islamophobic attacks, a Muslim doctor in Rockhampton in Australia’s Queensland decided to don the Islamic headscarf to stop her religion from being hijacked.
“I wanted to identify with Muslims,” Dr Gul-E-Rana told Daily Mercury on Friday, November 28.
“I always wanted to do it, but you need that conviction to do something.”
A year ago, Dr Gul was not wearing hijab.
This has changed after the increase of Islamophobic attacks on Muslims after the rise of militant attacks committed in the name of Islam abroad, mainly by the so-called Islamic State (ISIL).
Hearing another Muslim woman speak about the hijab and identity further cemented Dr Gul’s decision to start wearing the traditional headscarf.
Seeing her hijab as reflecting her Islam proudly, the Muslim doctor felt anxious about the ripples it might cause in her workplace.
She said the biggest worry was whether patients would still trust and respect her.
“It was just very natural,” she said, speaking about her first day in hijab.
“I think when you make the decisions that are right for you, you just have that positive thing about you and everything just works.
“You cannot get rid of your identity anyway, so you should own it.
“I never faced any of the hatred.”
Dr Gul said she was “very passionate” about Islam and believed it to be “100% peaceful”, but understood people feared the religion after reading about crimes.
“When this is splattered across the media … naturally you’re going to be afraid of us,” she said.
“For us it’s frustrating because we are Muslims. No religion tells you to do bad stuff.
“What are these people reading, what are these people doing? To us it is completely untrue,” she added.
Others, who took time to learn about Islam and understand most Muslims, did not agree with extremist behavior.
“We want to explain to people,” Dr Gul said.
“It’s not something which is exclusive to us. We’re all just people and we need to understand each other.”
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
In post 9/11-era, Australian Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
The anti-Muslim sentiments further increased following recent anti-terror raids, deemed the biggest in Australian history, in which 15 people were arrested from north-western Sydney.