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The drive to Hope, Arkansas
seemed much longer than
usual. Maybe it was because
I was excited to see my fam-
ily again after such a long
time. Maybe it was because I
was ready for the slight
break I would get from the
baby, as his happy grandpar-
ents spoiled him even more
rotten. Or maybe it was be-
cause I was more than happy
to leave the hectic move-
ment of Houston behind for
a few days.
But I knew these were not
the reasons. The real reason
was because I was nervous
about a decision I had made.
For the first time, I would
be wearing my Hijab in the
small town of Hope.

I have been Muslim for
many years, but living in
Houston Texas, with its large
and diverse Muslim commu-
nity, there is little reason to
fear wearing the Hijab. We
exist in all stages, from the
Niqabi complete with black
gloves; to the modern girl in
jeans and long shirts with a
snug, two piece Hijab; to
busy lady with a simple
Dupata or Shayla that seems
to have been tossed around
her head with little thought.
I love living in Houston, just
for this reason. Forget what
you hear about Texas being
the epitome of all things
redneck. Depending on
where you are in Texas, you
are free to do, say, or wear
whatever you want, and live
however you want.
"Many of the people I grew
up with, even those
younger than me have very
narrow and unbending
views on religion, to the
point that if one goes to a
Baptist church, all other
denominations are doomed
to hell."
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