There is still a lack of understanding
of Islam in the Netherlands. Yet people still often have an opinion on it. As a girl from the rural south of the country, I have almost never been in contact with the Islam. Therefore I had my own preconceptions
and decided to immerse myself in it. I also researched what it is like to live as a Muslim
women who wears the hijab in Dutch society… …and took a look under the veil. I wore a hijab for a week and tried
to look at a different perspective… …through interviews and participant observation. …this made it even more uncomfortable
to walk around the streets with the… …hijab, if I’m pronouncing it correctly. Because I didn’t quite feel like myself, and… I’m getting a bit emotional. But… I think that… If you really wear a hijab for your own beliefs, that you do it for Allah, but also for yourself, that it comes from within, …that it’s 10 times less uncomfortable
than I feel with it right now. [laughs] So uhm, yeah. Hi, good morning! Today is the day – I’m going to be
wearing a head scarf for a week! I’m quite nervous, I’m really wondering
what will come my way. I guess we’ll see. I’ve already run into a few things:
what clothes will I wear? I normally wear clothes that are quite tight fitting, as in Islam you’re not allowed to see
the shape of the body. So, I’m going to ask Zaynab how she deals with this. I’m now on my way to Zaynab. I know her from when
I was younger, when I was 16 we worked together. She didn’t wear a headscarf yet back then. She’s going to help me today
with wearing the headscarf and we’re going to be talking about her experience. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it! Where did you order this online?
– Uh, Islamieten.nl I think? [Zaynab] Okay, yeah, I know that one. [Zaynab] Let’s see how it looks. [Vera] Must my hair be in a bun?
– Oh, yes Okay Uh, I don’t have an extra cap for
underneath, but we’ll try it like this [Vera] Here we go! [Zaynab] Oh, it suits you. [Zaynab] You get something like this. Oh yeah, you fold it?
– Yes, you fold it back …and then you fasten it here. [Vera] Then this bit goes like this?
– Yes, over the shoulder [Zaynab] What do you think of it?
– I think it’s very different. My head instantly seems a lot smaller [Zaynab] Yeah it seems like that doesn’t it?
You don’t have the cloud of hair anymore [Zaynab] She’s wearing it! Yeah I wonder too. So yeah…. [Zaynab] Exciting…
– Yeah! I just got home from meeting with Zaynab. When I was walking back I saw people looking at me. I did feel a bit uncomfortable, I thought – see, they know that
I’m not a real Muslim… …and that I’m Dutch. Yeah, I was afraid to look anyone
in the eye on the streets. That made me feel really very uncomfortable. Look, …uh… …this is of course the first time that I’ve worn it
and no one else knows that it’s the first day for me, or why I’m doing it at all. But I wonder, so, if you wear a Hijab you would have this all the time, these looks, second glances from people. Or am I imagining it, am I interpreting it like this because it’s how I feel? So… Yeah… I had a look on the internet first of all… What’s the reason that they have to wear a headscarf? First of all, it’s an order from God, so you have to stick to it. Often people say that it’s so a women
can cover themselves against lust, but then I think; a man should be able to contain himself. People quite often comment in this way. But really, you have to cover yourselves
because the way that we live, it’s expected of us, you remain a virgin until marriage, and marry someone for what’s inside, not outside. I notice, since wearing my headscarf… …my appearance is a bit overlooked. – Of course I still wear make up and stuff. You notice that people listen more
to what you’re saying and aren’t as distracted by how you look or looking at your breasts. We say, the women must cover herself so that she is valued for what is inside her. But just as the woman has to cover herself, the man also has a number of rules
that he has to stick to. Stomach muscles, or a well trained body
aren’t really okay either, as this attracts attention too. Sometimes you see girls all like, drooling over a boy, they no longer look at who someone is. As the women really have to abide
by the rules, so do boys but in society you see this in one
but not the other. Everyone practices their faith as they interpret it. This is why there are so many directions. But that’s the basic rule so. I now have a new kind of headscarf. It consists of two parts, a cap and a veil for on top. Let me put it on. I’ve had it on before… …but I feel like it’s quite tight. I think I’ll ask Nora or Zaynab what the deal is,
or whether it’s supposed to be like this. So, how you’re wearing your hijab is really cute,
– Yeah, It feels a bit small This is an instant hijab, this is what all
the little 7 year old girls wear in the mosque… …when they come to learn.
– [laughing] oh really? It’s so easy, all the little kids
get frustrated with all the bits… …so we give them an instant hijab.
– Yeah it has the two parts It’s very practical. But that was my first hijab too,
I really couldn’t do it. I wear it now with only one pin, but
in the beginning I really couldn’t do that. You have different headscarf styles. What you notice is that everyone who is from
a different place does it differently. So usually you have the Turkish girls who
put a pin in their headscarf here [indicates] They do it like this, [indicates] it’s beautiful. Syrian women have it very big. So is Middle Eastern, they take a ‘sag bun’, you know? The ones that you feel in your hair, the bun? They put it in a knot to show
‘I have really nice hair under this’ There are also Turbans… half worn hijabs There are really a lot of different kinds. But with Turbans you can see
like your neck and stuff? – Yes, so then there’s the discussion,
is that a hijab or not? Some wear it as a cultural thing and
some really wear it as a head scarf. But most Moroccan girls, myself included,
usually just wear it like this, nice and simple. [Vera] Fastened here and then
over your shoulder… – Yeah, so usually our head
scarves tell you our origins. I notice… I just took off my head scarf
because I really needed a little break. Because it’s quite tough to… …it does feel a little like I’m someone else
when I’m wearing it and doesn’t feel like myself and I notice
that it is having an impact on me. I’m just going to stop because someone
was looking out their window. We were just talking about how we want
to go to the World War II remembrance, and I was just dreading putting
it back on again. Even though… …I mean, why? You think it’s just a scarf, but there’s
so much meaning behind it, all of the people looking at you
with an opinion and…. it’s just really exhausting. I’m now on my way to Nutheila,
if I’m pronouncing her name right, she’s going to tell me a little more today
about Islam and veiling. I’m looking forward to it. So why did you end up wearing the hijab? Well when I started wearing it I was
just 13 years old, so I was quite young. In the first place, my parents
wouldn’t let me wear it. They said I couldn’t because you couldn’t
make a decision like that at that age. – Yeah I’ve heard it quite often. Yeah, most people don’t know that,
they think ‘they’re forced to wear it’, My parents preferred I didn’t. They see their young daughter, and being in a country that isn’t Islamic, they’re scared of what might happen… In that way too… So I really had to prepare a kind of statement to my parents to tell them that I did want to wear it. [Vera] to convince them…
– [laughs] Yeah! My faith was always something
that I could really hold on to, in difficult times I could always rely on it. Even at a young age. I really wanted to complete it
by wearing the head scarf… …so I just went for it and I’ve never really regretted it. I’ve been wearing it for around 8 years now,
it’s really become a part of me. And like I said before, those
sideward glances, or comments… …they just go right over my head,
I’m so used to them now. Whatever. What does wearing a head scarf mean to you? I think the idea behind it – you’re not
an object of lust, it’s neutral. You’re not an object of lust in that men
can’t look at you, it goes further than that. You cover yourself – it might make it
more difficult for people to approach you, but once they have, they do it because they really want to know something about you and your qualities, and not just because they think you’re a pretty girl, because let’s be honest, hair does beautify a woman. It takes a bit of experimenting, I’m sure you noticed it yourself, figuring out how to wear it. I must have tried a new style 10 times. Also, I don’t dress correctly, but I do always try to cover my breasts… …cover my butt, that kind of things. It’s about not being seen as an object of lust… …but what’s on the inside. And I know that I don’t dress quite right… …and I want to, but it’s a gradual process. it’s difficult. I had the same problem. A lot of my own clothes are quite tight fitting,
so you kind of have to adjust that as well. Yeah, there’s a lot more involved than just what’s on your head. The manners too, what you do, what you wear. There’s a lot more. The main thing I want to achieve is to inspire other girls to take that step. You can do everything with an hijab. It doesn’t matter what other people think,
if you want it, you can go for it. Even if it has nothing to do with the head scarf.
You can go for it yourself! That’s the main message I want to give. Oh, [laughs] I didn’t know that you were recording this!