Today has been truly amazing, although I have, once again, had some negative comments on what I am doing. I have removed them and will not allow them here. However, what I will do is reply to them.
Quite a few people have said "You will never know what it's like to be a Muslim, you think it's just a piece of cloth, it's not that at all" and I do agree. However, what these people do not realise is that I have been doing this for three days. Not my entire life, not even a month or six months ... three days. Of course I won't know what it's like to live as a Muslim after three days, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous. Even I have not suggested that - I am simply writing about what I experience in my day-to-day life as I go about my business. I am not going to know what it is like to grow up as a Muslim, nor will I know what it is like to pray, fast, go on Hajj etc because I am not a Muslim and I'm hardly going to turn into a full-blown one after such a short amount of time!
I have also had people point out to me that not every Muslim woman wears the hijab. I am aware of this - after all, I am an intelligent woman of 21 who had a rather broad religious education at secondary school and who has read extensively on many subjects - and I do know several Muslim women who do not wear the hijab. In fact, two girls in my class at secondary school did not wear the hijab and they were both raised as Muslims. The idea was to wear the hijab and see the response, because had I not worn the hijab then the whole idea would have been a little bit farcical. After all, it's the obvious signs of someone's religion that provokes the reaction, not a person wandering down the street with no obvious signs of their religion.
Now that I have responded to the comments, let's hastily move on to the amazing news I had today. As you may know, I made a video accompaniment to the first chapter of this novel, and I sent it to the non-profit organization World Hijab Day (the link to their Facebook page is in the description for this novel). They then sent it to a lady called Catrin Nye, who works for the BBC's Asian Network and has done several documentary-style news reports on various religions, practices, cultures etc. She got in touch with me today to ask me if I wanted to do an interview and if she could film me - amazing news!!! I was so shocked I had to check that she was a real person (apologies Catrin!), but she is a bona fide reporter and wants to interview me!!!She also asked if she could interview my friend, and I have said that I will ask and see if my friend is willing to take part.
As for the people's responses today, sadly there was one incident that is becoming a little familiar to me. I went to Superdrug to buy a nail file, and there was a man standing outside with his three children. As I approached, he moved all of his children out of my way and closer to the shop's display window. As this took place in a shopping centre that was not very busy due to the snow, it did feel a little rude and upsetting. However, this was the only incident and I am beginning to feel that I can walk down the street wearing the hijab and not receive many negative reactions. It's a small step, but day by day I am beginning to feel more comfortable wearing the hijab and I am feeling very empowered and proud to hold my head up with the hijab. I am not ashamed of myself any more because I have no reason to be ashamed - it is everyone else who chooses to have a problem with my headgear, not me.
I've been reading the Qur'an today and am finding it very informative and interesting. Although it has a lot of similarities to the Bible, it is far more accessible and it is almost a distilled, purer form of the Bible. This is not to disrespect Christianity or any other religion, it is simply my view. I am currently reading 'The Cow' and hope to read more tomorrow. It is a very interesting book and I am really enjoying it.