SZA Recalls Experiencing Islamophobia After 9/11 Attacks

SZA

SZA is reflectng once again on her fears of wearing a hijab after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

“I stopped covering after 9/11 because I was so scared,” the 30-year-old singer told Muslim Girl in a conversation last month that was published April 7. “This was like elementary school, middle school. I regret so much—like, being afraid or caring what people said about me.”

A hijab is a veil worn by some Muslim women that typically covers their hair, head and chest.

SZA, whose real name is Solána Imani Rowe, has previously reflected on growing up Muslim. In 2013, she told Complex: “Somewhere around the 7th grade, when 9/11 happened, s**t got weird and awkward. I was attacked at school and taunted. It got really uncomfortable and I started to get embarrassed. My dad’s mosque came under fire, it was a bad time. I just wanted to be regular. At school, I wanted to fit in so I would take my hijab off.”

In her new interview with Muslim Girl, SZA recalled her experiences with Islamophobia following the 9/11 attacks.

“I am from a small suburban town where people have good intentions, but they’re inherently maybe closed-minded and it’s not their fault,” she said. "Getting chased home by children at school and getting my hijab snatched is also weird. But you being put in imminent danger because of people assuming from the way you look … It’s a different type of intense.”

SZA said she witnessed more discrimination as she got older. “I couldn’t believe the Islamophobia that I was seeing and all of the misinformation, like randomly deciding that I’m oppressed because I’m covering my hair,” she explained. “I’m not oppressed … I feel like it’s very bizarre, sometimes, the general misconceptions that come and go about Islam. Violence has no connection whatsoever.

“Literally, it’s the antithesis of Islam. It’s the most peaceful, all-encompassing religion.”

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