Alicia Angyal, 21, fastens her hijab in front of her bathroom mirror before she goes in to work. Angyal, who was born and raised in Southern California and moved to North Carolina last year, converted to Islam at the beginning of this year.
The hijab, the Muslim women's scarf, is a source of pride for Angyal. She says, 'It's my choice, and honestly, it's an honor to wear my hijab ... to wear something for my religion.' She says, 'When I put it on, I'm saying to God, I love my religion, I honor my religion, I honor myself.'
Angyal thinks many people misunderstand the hijab. She says she was once called a terrorist while shopping at Wal-Mart. She says this particularly disturbed her because she has good friends in the military.
Another time, a stranger took her hand and told her she was going to hell only to be surprised that Angyal spoke English. She says, 'Being a Muslim is about peace, it's about love and the hijab is about respect. ... It's not a sign of oppression.'
After her conversion she says, 'I approach life now with meaning. I really understand where my life is going, where my life was, and the process that you go through in your life to find self-acceptance.' (MORE)