Privacy SOS

Amira Diab (a pseudonym) is a native Spanish speaker who wears a hijab.

In 2009 she was searching for a job. She felt people were not hiring her because of her name. Once a lady at a temp agency told her that the reason she couldn’t get placed was that her name made people think she is an Arab and “people just immediately associate Arabs with terrorism.”

Sometimes she would have telephone interviews and they would go well but then she would go in for the in-person interview, and they would not hire her. She thought it was because of her hijab. 

So finally, in desperation to get a job, she decided to make the tough decision of taking off her hijab. She felt she had no other choice. She found a job as a concierge in an apartment building just one month later. After she had the position for several weeks, she decided to start wearing the hijab again. She got a lot of questions from her boss and even the tenants about why she was wearing a hijab. She was even asked why she was wearing a turban.

Once she was traveling to Dallas with a stopover in Utah. On her ticket she noticed the marks that meant she had to go through additional investigation. She felt singled out because there were not many people in the terminal and she was the only once wearing a hijab and visibly Muslim. 

“I felt horrible. Everyone was staring at me. I felt like an alien, someone from another planet. Everyone looked at me with fear and accusation while I was being searched and questioned.”

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.