Cross-generational Conversations and Head-coverings

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At my core, I believe most people have basic similarities that connect us–similarities rooted in our shared Creator. I’ve thought for a long time that many people struggle with the same issues, and I believe culture is beautiful because it shows the ways that groups of people with shared histories make sense of the world in community. Even with these beliefs though, I was surprised when we watched the video of different generations of Muslims wrestling with questions of faith, politics, and the relationship between the past and modernity. Watching parents and their children get heated as they discussed the relationship between Islam and politics, I remembered similar conversations around the dinner table and home about Christianity and politics. For different generations, different symbols mean different things. Much of the conversation was rooted in discovering what it meant to take part in the story of their faith in a specific context. That conversations runs deep in the souls of many generations struggling with issues of life and faith. Through watching that conversation play out among Muslims living in Seattle, it helped me see how similar human beings truly are.

That conversation about the implications of a multi-generational household on faith quickly turned to the role of the headscarf, another area that I learned a lot about from this orientation. Through a scattered assortment of news media, magazine covers, and action films, I’d subconsciously formed a connection between the head covering and suppression. I have been thinking of it as a sign of male dominance and limited rights for women. On watching the films in this class, however, I began to see how many Muslims today conceive of the headscarf: as a symbol of faith. I saw that many see the head scarf as a way to show their devotion to God, displaying that they care more for their position before God than they care for their physical appearance. In a culture that begs us to think of women as objects, this was refreshing to see.

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Both of these ways of growing opened me up to a new way of seeing the world. I feel that it is easier to look at Muslim women across the world not only through the eyes of distinction, but also the eyes of empathy.

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