When Yaya and I were in Aurengabad, we saw a street vendor selling beautifully embroidered Taqiyahs ( Fez or Islamic skull cap). Yaya insisted we should buy one for her brother, which we did.

Yesterday I had the parents teacher interview at the school. Few years ago, one of the teachers had mentioned that only the parents who are interested in their child’s wellbeing bother to attend the parent interview and much as it is really time consuming ( 2 kids, 7 subjects/teachers each) I always make it a point to attend. Every teacher said the same thing about my children. Great kids, works hard and are a dream to teach. But then one of the teacher said ” I didn’t know that you are a Muslim” ( to be  fair on the teacher, she didn’t think there is anything wrong being a Muslim, she taught Yaya the past three years  and was just puzzled )

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

It turns out that my son wears the Taqiyah during class and claims “it is against my religious belief to remove it” ( to be fair, he didn’t say what religion he is referring to)

Wearing a hat is mandatory whenever the kids are outside the classroom. ( skin cancer risk, no hat-no play rule is strictly enforced here) But inside the class, it really depends on the teacher. Some teachers allow, some don’t.

I came home and asked my son what is going on? He said he loves his taqiyah, but if he removes it, his hair will look funny, so he told the teacher about his religious belief. He also told me that when he went to UQ ( Univ of Queensland) to attend a conference beginning of this week, one of the panel member was a Muslim and asked my son when he saw the taqiyah on his head

” Are you a Muslim?” and my son replied “no”

“Jewish” and my son replied “No, I am an atheist”

“But you are wearing a taqiyah” and my son replied ” Yeah, I know, my mom visited India and bought me this and I love wearing it. I know it is usually worn by Muslim men and has religious significance, but I am wearing it because I liked it and shouldn’t be judged because I chose to wear something religious even though I am not religious”

I didn’t say anything.


9 thoughts on “Taqiyah

  1. lol!!

    I was walking home from work and you see a lot of unusual things in NYC which your brain has been trained to not react to. Today i saw some one praying and then realized it was Ramadan and I stared at the guy, who was oblivious to the stares. The thing that struck me was that he was a street hawker who was in shorts and a T-shirt and NO SKULL CAP!!

  2. 🙂 Just like how I wanted to name my daughter Nadja or Anna, two of my fav names and both sets of parents were dead against it coz it was not exactly a Hindu name! We still gave her a ‘non-religious’ name much to many raised eyebrows from relatives, but I still wish we hadn’t caved into societal conformity 🙂 Hugs to toothless!

    P.S: Glad that you had a good time in India with Yaya

        • When I was in school, I inherited my cousin’s collection of Russian books by Tolstoy, Chekov and other lesser known writers… The folk tales were very beautifully illustrated and the most common names were Nadja, Ivan etc. Thats how I fell in love with the name. I once had a cat named Babayaga, my favorite witch 😉

          • Ammu: I had completely forgotten about baba yaga, the witch with iron teeth.. I was reading all the stories I could find on the net last night.

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