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Voices Of Charlotte Muslims Who Wear A Hijab

Tom Bullock

Imagine for a moment that you are the "other." A member of a group feared because of the violent actions of a few. You have done nothing wrong. You’ve decried the violence. Still, your life is affected by the fear, or suspicions of those around you.

This hypothetical is reality for many Muslims.

And there are some legitimate fears today. Especially after Paris and San Bernardino. Or Charleston and Colorado Springs, two attacks where the shooter looks just like me, a white male.

My daily life didn’t change after those attacks.

For some Muslims, it’s a different story. Especially those who wear the most obvious sign of their faith the hijab, or headscarf. 

We wanted to know if and how the lives of Muslims in the Charlotte area have changed since Paris and San Bernardino, and the growing political debate and rhetoric in response to those attacks.

So we set out on an experiment.

We asked two women, Jamela and Yasmein, to record audio diaries about their life, their experiences, their view of how others see them. And we asked them to ask their friends and family similar questions.

Credit Tom Bullock / WFAE News
A young girl at the interfaith vigil on the campus of UNC-Charlotte.

Here is some of what they sent back.

These are their words, their interviews and their lives.

Jamela converted to Islam a few years ago. She began wearing the hijab earlier this year. Jamela and her mother, a Catholic, discuss her family's thoughts and concerns about her conversion and choice to wear the headscarf.

Hear more of Yasmien's audio diary

Dorene discusses being a Muslim in America with her daughter Sofia

Jamela interviews Deborah about why she likes wearing the hijab and Deborah's prayer for Donald Trump.

35 year old Haifa explains why she loves wearing the hijab and why she shouldn't be made to apologize for the actions of others.

The above are views and opinions from Charlotte’s Muslim community. We’ll be using these audio diaries to bring you other voices throughout the election year. We'll post details on how you can send us an audio diary in the future.

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR. Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit. Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others. Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.