Lobna Hewedi welcomes questions about her hijab, a traditional head scarf worn by Muslim women.
The hijab serves as a symbol of her Muslim faith and an entry point for interfaith dialogue when people at fuel stations and grocery store checkout lines stare at the Norman woman’s apparel.
"My feeling is that most of the time when people look, they are just curious,” Hewedi said.
She said many non-Muslims may be unaware of the significance of hijabs.
Recently, another metro area Muslim woman, said she refused to take her driver’s license photograph at a Norman tag agency when an employee there required her to push her hajib back past her hairline, exposing a portion of her hair.
Monique Barrett, 21, of Norman renewed her driver’s license at the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety headquarters last week after contacting the Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma chapter. A chapter leader and public safety department officials said Barrett only had to show her face from hairline to chin to comply with the law.
Barrett, a student at Oklahoma City Community College, said she believes most people do not understand Muslim customs, which can lead to misunderstandings.
"People are afraid, and they fear things they don’t know,” she said.
Razi Hashmi, Oklahoma director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Muslim women who wear the head scarves draw attention because their everyday apparel easily identifies them as Muslim.
"Unfortunately they are the easiest to discriminate against, but our Muslim sisters are very strong in the faith,” he said. (MORE)