One Student, Two Religions

Sarah Ettouzar, a senior at U-32, was raised as both a Christian and a Muslim.

Her father and her stepmother are Muslims and her mother is a Christian.

Sarah’s mother lives in Rutland,Vermont and her father lives in Morocco, in Northern Africa. Her father immigrated to the U.S. twenty-five years ago when he and Sarah’s mother were married.

When she was a kid, Sarah remembers her mother had bibles at home and a cross at their door, or on the wall.   She went to church with her mother when she was little, but things got more difficult as she got older so they stopped going.

Her father also used to take her to the mosque, where he would show her how to pray in the Muslim tradition.  Her father would pray five times a day and have Sarah pray with him.

Sarah sees more similarities between the two religions than differences.

“I believe that the “Quran” and the “Bible” –the old testaments– have the same stories about Moses and Abraham. They are all the same stories. It’s just the difference comes when it comes to Jesus,” Sarah said.

Growing up, when people asked her about her religion, she used to say that she didn’t have any religion. Now she’s confident enough that she sometimes wears the traditional Muslim hijab (a head covering or scarf) to school.

What is the “Hijab”?

Sarah explained. “Basically the Hijab is a head covering or a scarf which most Muslim women wear because we believe that covering our head is the modest thing to do. We believe that nobody should see their beauty except their husband and close family, and it is like saving themselves for just their husband.”

Tasha Pearce said,”I don’t know much about Hijab, I just know it’s religious and culture stuff, but other than that I don’t know much about it. And I think it’s great that Sarah is expressing herself and her religion. Not many do that openly in school so it’s pretty cool and I don’t think people react negatively with her.”

image01The tradition of the Hijab is interpreted differently by different Muslim women, but it is rooted in the holy book of Islam, the Quran.

The clearest verse on the requirement of the hijab is surah, asking women to draw their khimār over their bosoms.

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their khimār over their body and not display their beauty except to their husband, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their (Muslim) women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.

Wearing the hijab is encouraged in some countries and some countries are banned to wear the hijab in public places. The hijab wearing is compulsory in sharia (muslim law) and wearing the hijab was enforced by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Sarah wears a hijab (scarf) in school because she is trying to prove that all Muslims are not bad or a terrorist.

According to Sarah, people’s reactions to her wearing the hijab have been mostly positive. “I have a few nasty looking people who look at me like what is she doing? but most others ignore it as they see it as an everyday thing. I don’t get a whole lot of negative looks or positive looks, 80% of the people at school just pass by just as they would every other day like there is nothing wrong.”

“My friends pretty much know about the hijab, what it is, and they all are very much supportive about it.”