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Using her voice

By Chiara Tomé
St. Thomas Aquinas High School ‘24


Zeba Hussaini

Zeba Hussaini was tired of hearing about violence against Muslim women but not seeing it discussed or debated among her peers.

Hussaini, a Muslim student who attends Green Hope High School, decided to use her platform in the student newspaper to write “Hijabi women deserve compassion not violence.

“In Iran there was so much to say on what a woman can and can’t do with her hijab, it’s my people going through that, it hit too close to home.”

These current events make her feel sick. Women in Iran being killed for not wearing a hijab correctly or not wearing one at all. And on the contrary, people in France are not allowed to wear one. As a result she’s written about these injustices to try and spread awareness, even on a local level.

School publications often hesitate to publish articles on controversial topics due to fear of backlash or losing support. However, Hussaini was not worried. The article, first published in October 2022, has continued to be read and discussed by the school community, she said.

Growing up, Hussaini had to move around a lot because of job offers her parents would get. She always had a sense of never settling where she was.

In the back of her mind she would think to herself, “There’s no point, I’ll be moving out of here in a year or so.”

This became a major part of her life and stuck with her.

North Carolina has been Hussaini’s home for the past nine years of her life. Once comfortable where she was, she started to connect to her religion. She started contemplating whether to wear a hijab.

She was not sure at first, concerned about judgmental people and stereotypes out in the world. She also worried about the opinions of her family members, because not many people from her family observe hijabs.

She chose to wear one, even if it meant losing connection with some people in her life.

“I’m better off without those people anyways, the hijab is worth it,” she said.