Dilemma: Hispanic Muslims find hijabs conceal ethnic identity from other Hispanics

Dilemma: Hispanic Muslims find hijabs conceal ethnic identity from other Hispanics

Where is Ann Landers when you need her? I’m not referring to Connie Chancellor, who took over the column after its creator, Ruth Crowley (whose pen name was Ann Landers), died in 2002. Only the original Ann could have handled a situation as ticklish as the one facing Magdalena Al Omari, a Mexican-American convert to Islam.

According to a sympathetic column in the Los Angeles Times that has since been picked up by numerous outlets across the country, Al Omari found herself in a lamentable situation recently. She was in the checkout line at a grocery store in Santa Ana, when she overheard one woman asked another, “No tiene calor en esa cosa?” Isn’t she hot in that thing? The reference was to Al Omari’s hijab.

Al Omari replied in — we are told — perfect Spanish (she is a native of Tijuana) that yes, she was feeling warm, which caused the customers’ eyes to widen.

If you don’t see the problem here, you’re probably not up to snuff on liberal issues, such as intersectionality (having grievances as a member of multiple persecuted groups) and cultural appropriation. In Al Omari’s case, the problem was not so much cultural appropriation as it was cultural diffusion, or some other silly coinage.

According to the article, the aggrieved Al Omari is “at the intersection of three demographics spurned during President Trump’s nascent administration: women, Muslims and Mexicans.” We also learn that Latina Muslims are “the fastest-growing ethnic group in Islam.” In fact, Santa Ana, the city where Al Omari lives, neighbors Anaheim, which is known as Little Arabia.

Live and learn.


Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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