Zeitoun

Zeitoun

The Hijab Symbol Icon

Born into a Southern Baptist family, and having converted to Islam as an adult, Kathy has a privileged insight into what it is like to be Muslim in America. She particularly is able to see the prejudices Muslims face—especially, she believes, after 9/11. For many Americans, the hijab that Kathy and other (though not all) Muslim women wear to cover their hair is a symbol of women’s oppression and of scary “otherness.” Kathy’s mother, for instance, often asks her to “take that thing off” when she’s away from her husband or at home—as if Zeitoun forced Kathy to wear it.

For Kathy, however, the hijab is a powerful reminder of the life choice she made to convert to Islam, and of the commitment of faith that she continues to make each day. By choosing to wear the hijab, Kathy believes she is choosing dignity and peace, something she admired in Muslim women she met before converting. She often touches or rearranges it at moments of confusion or uncertainty, drawing strength from this physical reminder of her faith.

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The Hijab Symbol Timeline in Zeitoun

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Hijab appears in Zeitoun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Friday August 26
Faith, Perseverance, and Dignity Theme Icon
Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
Kathy adjusts her hijab (headscarf)—a nervous habit of hers—as she watches Zeitoun leave. His white van has “Zeitoun A.... (full context)
Family, Community, and Home Theme Icon
Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
...day to wait and watch for her. He saw a young woman wearing jeans and hijab, striking and young, walk right towards his car smiling. He was electrified, but then grew... (full context)
Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
...to head to the grocery store to stock up on basic supplies. She adjusts her hijab, bracing herself for the minor incidents of prejudice that she has faced increasingly after 9/11.... (full context)
Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
...has gone up. Teenage boys, for instance, would sneak up behind a woman, grab her hijab and run. This almost happened to Kathy when shopping one day with a friend, Asma,... (full context)
Family, Community, and Home Theme Icon
Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
...that they were probably hiding. In late September she finally saw another woman in a hijab in a Walgreens, and ran up to her to greet her. The woman, a doctor... (full context)
Part 1: Saturday August 27
Family, Community, and Home Theme Icon
Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
...family, who still struggles to understand her decision to convert to Islam and wear the hijab, even after fifteen years. Last time she had visited, her mother had told her to... (full context)
Part 2: Wednesday August 31
Family, Community, and Home Theme Icon
Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
When Kathy returns home, her mother points to her hijab and tells her to take “that thing” off and relax, since her husband isn’t there.... (full context)