The Power of Voice

April 22, 2013
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The Power of Voice

A dim light shone on a well-made bed and the desk located to its left. The white plaster wall peeked through sleek pages ripped out from fashion magazines and national geographic. These pages came together to create somewhat of an inspiration board that showcased hobbies, inspirations, and dreams. She quickly threw on her school uniform and grabbed her usual go-to hijab. She sat in front of her floor length mirror and began to put on her hijab. She pulled back her long, thick black hair into a tight bun, and then put on a white under cap that in the end of the process peeks out from the front of her hijab. She then put a black hijab on the top of her head, leaving one side longer than the other, she flung the longer end across her whole head, then pinned it to the side of her head only going through the under cap not coming in contact with her scalp. She took one final glance at herself in the mirror, and in approval of her appearance nodded and in one swift motion left her room and ran downstairs. She kissed her mother and father goodbye, and skipped out the front door in a particularly good mood. She took her usual route to school, walking amongst the early birds and the farmers who were setting up shop for the flea markets. Once she reached the steps of the school, she knew something was terribly wrong. She cuffed her hands on the window and peeked in to see what was going on. Inside, what she saw stayed in her mind forever. There were police officers crowding three Muslim girls wearing hijabs, one of them was wearing a niqaab. It seemed like they were having somewhat of an altercation. Amina finally decided to go in to see what was going on. She walked in and immediately was approached by her favorite teacher, Madame Tusseau.
“Amina! Don’t worry everything will be alright. I will try to compromise with them at least for today!” She said frantically.
With no time at all to comprehend what Mme Tusseau had just said, she was grabbed by the arm and approached by one of the officers. She looked up at his expressionless face and began to move her lips, but nothing came out.
“By the orders of the president and his council, here in France no one will be permitted to wear a head covering or a burqa. I will now ask you to either remove your head covering, or leave and return home.” The officer said.
Amina’s words quickly returned to her lips, and she sternly said. “No. No I will not remove my hijab.” She said putting an emphasis on the word hijab hinting at the officer’s use of “head covering”.
“I am here to learn and you will not disrupt that. If the president has an order of that outrageous caliber, then he can say it himself.” She said, her strong and brave character showing through. The expressionless face of the officer changed. He began to lean closer to her, stopping only when there was enough room for a paper to be slid in between them.
“Listen you ungrateful little girl. Take it off or I will.” He raised his hand as if to show proof that he would actually do it. The next thing that happened was the sole motivator of Amina’s mission.
Three years later
“Ok so today’s crowd should be much easier. Most of the audience members are Muslim women who although don’t see your vision, are close behind.” Amina’s assistant, Ben briefed her as they were on their way to the university located three blocks from the hotel they were staying in. They were in New York City, hoping to inspire and motivate people to help the situation going on in her home country of France.
Millions of women were being forced to choose between either going to school and not wearing their hijab or niqaabs (covered face except eyes), which is a big part of their religion, Islam. Or to stay at home and not go to school, sacrificing their education and in the end, their future.
The announcer shouted. “Please give a warm welcome to Amina Ayub!” She then walked onto the stage and was approached with an immense round of applause.
She took a deep breath and began with a standard. “Hello New York! How are y’all doing tonight?” Her thick French accent made it hard for the audience not to smile. She began her speech and before she knew it she was approaching the end. This was the part she hated the most. The time when she scanned the audience, looking into every other person’s eyes. She couldn’t help but wonder if she had actually made them think and realize that they could make a difference in this world. That although the problem in France seemed impossible to solve with the help of some first time college students. Their contribution and effort actually impacted the situation for the better. The government in France would see that other people in other country disagree with their choices and will help the Muslim women stand up for their rights. Now the only thing left to do was to pray that it all panned out the way that she hoped it would, before she would have to go in front of the French parliament and present her case.
It was the day, the day when she and her team would stand in front of the French parliament and order for them to stop this ban constricting Muslim women from trying to achieve their goals and dreams, and all in all having a normal, well lived life. Her palms were sweaty, heart pounding, her mind kept telling her to forfeit and go home. But her heart, though pounding with nerves, reassured her that this was worth fighting for.

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