CAIRO – A US Muslim woman has received a shocking message from an acquaintance asking for a niqab or face-veil, to which she referred as “the face thing”, to complete her Halloween costume.
“Lots of words popped into my head when I read the text,” Arhama told HuffPost over the phone on Friday, October 31.
“But what do you even say to that?”
Arhama, a recent college graduate who asked that her last name not be included, was shocked after receiving a text message asking for Halloween help.
Asking Arhama, who wears a hijab but does not cover her face, to borrow “the face thing” for her costume about the so-called Islamic State, referred to as ISIL or ISIS, the sender’s request conflated the militant group with all of Islam.
I was wondering if I could borrow one of your long black garments and a hijab and the face thing not sure what it is called,” the acquaintance said in her message to Arhama.
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“I know you do not wear one but maybe you have one for like religious stuff. I wanted to dress up as ISIS for Halloween,” she added.
The message came to public after Ismat Sarah Mangla, a writer for The International Business Times and a friend of Arhama, posted the content of the text to Twitter.
“A hijabi friend of mine got this text from a former college classmate,” she wrote, posting an image for the text message.
Halloween is an annual Western celebration based on Celtic pagan doctrines and traditionally applied to the evening of October 31st.
A number of Muslim leaders around the world have overtly condemned the Islamic State, issuing strong-worded statements to deny any relation between Islam and the militant group.
Amid increasing Islamophobia, Muslims around the world have turned to humor to battle rising Islamophobia spawning the hashtag #MuslimApologies after finding themselves in the spotlight for the offenses of a violent minority they have nothing to do with.
Arhama, who is now applying for law school to pursue international human rights law, chose not to respond to the text message, believing the media coverage will send a message that such costumes are not okay.
“I hope my silence spoke volumes,” Arhama said.