Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Write of passage number sixteen: a heterogeneity of hijab

The route to younger daughter's school is long and straight along Baseline Road. It gives ample opportunity to observe government office workers and students en route to local high schools and Algonquin College. Many of these are Muslim women, wearing a variety of hijab: chadors, the occasional niqāb and a dazzling array of different coloured head scarves in every colour and pattern you could imagine. On a bright morning, the sun catches sparkles, gold threads, and even rhinestones.

There's a regular waif on the #118 most mornings: very slim, dark hollow eyes -- today she's wearing a Lakers' jacket over skinny jeans and a charteuse all-in-one ribbed al-amira. On other mornings I've seen her wearing a baseball cap sideways and at a rakish angle, balanced precariously on her veiled head.

Another girl boards the bus, prettily plump with a crimson al-amira bundled over her bun. Earrings with intricate patterns dangle below her scarf and brush her shoulders. She glances at the waif, then continues a lively conversation with her bare-headed companions.

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