I lived in Istanbul with my Turkish husband for several years. In Turkey, crashes between women in hijab and the secular authority were one of the most familiar news stories. Completely virgin in the this country and religion, I started wondering what this piece of fabric was all about. There were sharp tension and division over the hijab issue in the society at that time.
Here in Canada, things are different, of course. I saw all sorts of views about hijab within the Muslim communities, and saw oversimplified and heavily politicized view of the hijab and Muslim women in the media. Every Muslim woman has a very personal, often emotional and interesting story about the hijab, and each of them is so different. There was a huge gap, however, between these diverse realities and how the media, including documentary films, treat the subject. More interestingly, at least to me, the subject of hijab is so personal and sensitive that not many women talk about it with their friends.
I’m not a Muslim. I’m an outsider. Because I am an outsider, I don’t have to take a position. I don’t need to explain why I’m wearing hijab or not wearing hijab. I can simply tell different stories from their perspectives to fill the gap.