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Student Voice: ‘I am a Muslim and I love this country’

7 December 2010 General 13 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

CU student speaks out about hijab controversy

By Maria Hardman, For the Colorado Daily

To my fellow Americans:

I recently decided to make my story public by agreeing to an interview with the Boulder Daily Camera, and I must say that I am not ashamed.

The facts have been clearly laid out, and I do not dispute them. On Dec. 1, I went to the jail on my own accord to pre-book for their work-crew program, as had been stipulated by the court for my DWAI (driving while ability impaired) sentence.

While I was there, I was repeatedly asked to remove my hijab, and I refused.

I am aware that as an American citizen, I have been blessed with the right to religious freedom, and as far as I am concerned, this includes my right to adorn my hijab in any photograph taken for a public record.

I will be the first to admit that I made a mistake. I am trying to remedy this situation by completing all of the necessary requirements, and this situation does not indicate any lack of desire on my part to complete what I have been assigned to do.

I would have gladly completed my work crew requirement, had I been allowed to be photographed with my hijab on.

As this was not the case, I stand in the awkward predicament now seen. I have every intention of completing the outstanding requirements placed upon me in a timely fashion; my goal is to be neither obstinate nor difficult.

What people seem to forget is that this story is not about how I got to the jail. This is about what happened after I arrived at the jail, and the constitutional infringements that then occurred.

For the record, I do not dispute that I operated my 49cc motorized scooter on the day of Aug. 1. I was at a party, where I was served alcohol without my knowledge. I admit that when I discovered I was being served alcohol, I made no attempt to curb my intake.

I am 19 years old and a junior at the University of Colorado. This is far from a unique story in the college experience. For those who are in, or were at one time a college student, you will understand what I am saying.

The issue at hand revolves around my First Amendment rights as a United States citizen to freely practice my religion as I see fit.

As a Muslim-American woman, I feel let down by my country. I love America. This incident, however, has raised such doubt for me.

I understand that the topic of Islam is a tricky one to address in today’s political climate, but if America wants to see global unification and peace amongst the nations of the Middle East, we must start at home. We must start in Boulder, Colo.

Do not ignore the real issue here. Islamophobia is alive and well in America. This cannot be denied.

I am a Muslim as much as I am an America. I was born in Boulder. In fact, if one heads due east on Balsam Avenue, along which sits the hospital where I was born, one will end up at the Boulder County Jail in a matter of minutes.

I am neither a fundamentalist nor an extremist. I am not trying to bring Shariah to Colorado. I am just a college student who still believes in the American dream.

I am just a citizen who is crying foul at the ignorance surrounding Islam, and the injustices of our legal system.

My fellow Americans, I pray that you take pity on Islam and on the Muslims who call this country home as much as you do. All we ask is for an acknowledgement of our tradition and religious freedom.

I am an American, I am a Muslim, and I love this country.

Maria Hardman is a student at the University of Colorado.

Original post: Student Voice: ‘I am a Muslim and I love this country’

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13 Comments »

  1. While I feel for you about what happened with your hijab, do not claim you are Muslim when you drink alcohol. If you were Muslim, then you would have stopped immediately when you knew you had been given alcohol. If you cannot practice the faith correctly, then you might as well remove your hijab.

  2. Stand for your rights. Because if we take away the rights of one then who is next?

  3. Thank you for being courageous and willing to call for the rights that at one time we all noticed were an important part of life in America. I truly hope that you will find decent respectful treatment and just , fair treatment which will include your rights to practice your religion without restriction.
    What you are doing and the stand you are taking is courageous and fair minded and what was at least at one time, very American.
    I hope you will not be disappointed and that America rewards your belief with respect and fairness. All the best to you.

  4. My BS detector went off when I first read this story.

    I then shouted, “You have got to be kidding me!”

    I thought alcohol and partying were off limits in Islam. Just goes to show you the hypocrisy in the good old religion of peace.

  5. @Kellergirl

    While it is a “no-no” to drink in Islam, it doesn’t make one a non-Muslim, nor should it make one take off their hijab.

    AFAIK, in all of the major religions, God, one’s maker, etc. forgives.

    Maria is young and maybe she’s a new convert. With time, I wouldn’t be surprised her knowledge, wisdom will increase.

    Which person practices “perfect religion” (whatever their religion is)?

    I would say “cut the person some slack”

    @Mel Landowski: Since some Christians watch porn, does that make Christianity a “pro-porn” religion?

    There is no hypocrisy, its people like you who like to spew hate and bigotry…

    Regarding Islamaphobia in America, unfortunately its the “new thing” lately. Its unfortunate. Some extremists do have a hand/blame in it, but I think its becoming more mainstream-and that is a concern of mine.

    Ms. Hardman-be strong and there are a lot of people praying and rooting for you…..!

  6. Muslims living in United states of AMERICA are having the same opportunities as compare to other religion peoples.I believe all AMERICAN never put any hurdle for any religion to adopt by any one.so Muslim or any other can live peacefully and enjoy their lives.MUSLIMS should obey the rule and regulation and live freely.Americans are most civilized nation. Respect each other and live and let live, no dispute in any religion or color or language.This is the great USA.Please don’t involve your self in any unnecessary discussions.

  7. the rule and law of a country where u visit or live is sovernty for every one.for MUSLIMS specially living in non muslim countries they must have to co-oprate in any chicking and screening areas to prove that we are not tererist.follow Islam not only in HIJAB but in 24hours life.HIJAB is not the action to hide the face .It is a cloth/shelter on body sextual parts of male/female. so islam have two major parts.haqooqullah AND haqooqul ibad.dont forget haqooq ul ibad.the main factor.ALLAH can forgot rights of allah but never rights of humans.the MUSLIM is the custodian of all types of rights of the humanbiengs belonging to any religioun or faith no religion.so my muslim brothers/sisters in any part of the world i appeal u be kind with every one.dont tease any one.keep ur self to live in contries law.pray namaz and be the guardian of every human .dont becomes law breakers.those who save the life of sigle one as he save the lives of all the world.with regards.

  8. send

  9. To CentristAmericanMuslim

    #1) Interesting, I was not talking about Christianity I was discussing Islam. Why is it whenever the conversation on Islam does not go the way the left wants it to go, it becomes a Christian bashing session?

    #2) How do you get hate out of defining something as hypocritical?

    Sorry, not fooled by Islam.

  10. CTI = SL
    (Converts To Islam = Screws Loose)

  11. Racism is the lowest form of stupidity, Isamaphobia is the height of common sense…

  12. “The issue at hand revolves around my First Amendment rights as a United States citizen to freely practice my religion as I see fit”.

    True, but “practicing my religion as I see fit” does have its limitations, requiring that you conform to societal norms.

  13. U wear a hijab fine. But when U break the law and go to jail there is rules and regulations that u must follow. If U want respect then U have to give it too. Be a good citizen u get all the freedom U want. Break the law and then u will have to deal with consequences.

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