Woman Who Wore Her Hijab
By Mary Uloho, Prisonersolidarity.org
entered the gates of prison for the first time and was told to remove
"the rag" from her head. "No, it's my Islamic right
to wear it," she said. "This is a prison, your rights
mean nothing here," the guard replied. She stood even taller.
When told to remove her hijab again, she responded softly, "No,
it's my Islamic right to wear it."
placed handcuffs and shackles around her wrists and ankles. They
paraded her through the compound, where she was laughed at, scored,
mocked. But she walked tall and smiling, still wearing her hijab.
She walked into that "hole" with her head high, wearing
hijab. "They'd find out," she assured herself, "that
this woman is a true Muslim."
inmates tried to destroy her. Some threw water. Others spat, yelled
and cursed. But still she wore her hijab. She sat in that "hole"
for so long, they forgot she was even there.
knew they'd break her, or so they thought. They'd broken everyone
before her. But when they finally came to see if she was broken,
she only smiled and said, "As-Salaamu Alaikum." Her face
glowed. They looked at the peace in her expression and said, "Take
her to her dorm."
PO Box 26
St. Gabriel, LA 70776
Note: Try to feel as if you're the person in this poem--not knowing
if you'll be beaten. Feel the pain in her wrists and ankles and
the shame of being paraded around as though you're not even human.
Imagine being thrown into solitary confinement and not
knowing where you are. Around you, women are screaming, crying,
yelling, and beating their heads on the bars. Your only comfort
is the silk scarf (hijab)that you wear.
the Author: Maryam Uloho became the first to establish Islam at
the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW), and now teaches
Islam at this facility. She is an Ohioan, whose family and children
reside in Dayton. She is doing time in Louisiana for a crime she
did not commit. Her story is documented in New
Trend Magazine: Mary would appreciate receiving your feedback
and she is also looking for a penpal.
The following link offers tips for writing to prisoners: http://prisonersolidarity.org/TipsForWritingPrisoners.htm