Even though it’s 2022, there are still many people who are actively prejudiced against others based on their race, beliefs, or culture.
But some are very sneaky about their prejudices until they can get the other person alone, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
While attending a study group meeting, Redditor UsefulPossession530 was shocked when the host demanded that she remove her hijab in their home, to which she refused.
But when they later accused her of making them uncomfortable in their own home, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was somehow wrong to hold to her beliefs.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for keeping my scarf on?”
The OP was a part of a study group at her high school.
“I’m 18 (Female), and I’m a Muslim woman. I choose to wear a headscarf (hijab) because, well, I do.”
“I’m studying for my finals for my senior year of high school, and I was in a study group and had to go to someone else’s house to study. I’ll call her Rachel.”
That week’s study group host was against the OP’s hijab.
“I arrived at Rachel’s house, and, keep in mind, I was one of four girls coming over. At the door, Rachel’s mom encouraged me to remove my scarf, and Rachel followed suit.”
“Her mom said that it made her nervous.”
“I told her it was not coming off, especially since there was a man in the house.”
“Rachel swore up and down that there wasn’t, but sure enough, when I got in there, her mom’s boyfriend was there.”
“One of the other girls in the group called this out, but her mom claimed not to know he was there (which I don’t understand, but, whatever I guess).”
The OP was later accused of starting a panic.
“Everything went pretty smoothly after that, until Rachel just texted me, claiming that her mom was having a panic attack due to my scarf, and it made her mom’s boyfriend feel threatened.”
“She told me it was her house, so her rules, that I was an AH, and that I would not be welcomed back. She’s also threatening to report me for bringing ‘religion into the classroom,’ but I don’t know what will happen with that.”
“One of the other girls is hosting next time, and I know her family and they’re great, but Rachel says she will not be in attendance because her mom doesn’t want her near me.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out that Rachel and her mother were not “nervous” at all.
“You are no kind of AH.”
“This woman is an Islamophobe and frankly, you would be justified in calling her out publicly as one.”
“I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I’m Jewish, not Muslim, but I’m familiar with getting really AH reactions to things related to religion (clothing, food choices, etc). It is the most horrible feeling. And it sounds like you were really abandoned by people you thought were friends at the same time.”
“I am so, so sorry this happened. Stay strong in your faith. Wear your scarf like the crown it is. They are the ones who will be the poorer for not having you in their lives.” – radjl
“NTA. If the woman has so many issues that a teenage girl wearing a hijab can’t be in her house, just, wow. The much greater likelihood is that she’s just being racist.”
“Please have an absolute meltdown if anyone named Chris, Christine, Christopher, Christina, or any variation of those comes into your house and wail about how a cross/crucifix/saint’s icon on a necklace makes you feel unsafe. Does that sound ridiculous? So does the mom’s behavior.”
“Time to quietly remove yourself from Rachel’s presence. The mom’s behavior and the presence of the male in the house tell you this is NOT someone you want to be around.”
“Sounds like at least one of the other girls gets this. Drop Rachel from the study group and/or contact the others and form a smaller, saner group.” – maroongrad
“First, NTA, but aside from that ridiculous attempt at re-framing the situation and the fact that you aren’t actually doing any such thing, you are allowed to bring religion into the classroom; the classroom is just not allowed to bring religion to you.”
“Id**ts will try and get you to join idiotic fights that wouldn’t make them right even if they won; don’t play their game.” – silverbrenin
“‘Bringing religion into the classroom’ means forcing students in the classroom to learn the religion/practice it. (There’s a difference between learning about various religions from an academic perspective vs being taught religious beliefs from a spiritual perspective).”
“Simply existing as a person following your religion doesn’t fit that bill.”
“She’s just mad that you’re allowed to practice a different religion than she agrees with and is coming up with every excuse as to why you shouldn’t be able to bring it around her.”
“Rachel and her family are hateful bigots looking for any reason to victimize themselves.” – finallyinfinite
“NTA. Rachael seems to care a whole lot about what makes everyone comfortable, except you. You are right to stand your ground and defend what makes you comfortable.”
“If you are not welcome in their home because you choose to wear a headscarf, so be it. Rachel’s home isn’t the place for you. Stay away from her and her mother.” – sparkleyflowers
Others urged the OP to tell someone of a higher authority about this.
“NTA. Report Rachel and her mom is this is an assigned study group so you can switch. This is pure Islamophobia and discrimination.”
“I have Reynaud’s syndrome and often wrap a scarf around my ears/head in the winter to stay warm. Would mine have caused a ‘panic attack’ for her mom? I doubt it.” – GarbageGworl
“I think in general this is something the OP should be bringing up to a teacher, that way they’re not paired up in groups with Rachel since they cannot work with Rachel outside of school, since Rachel and her mother are both islamophobic.” – JCBashBash
“Only you know what your school’s like but high-key consider reporting first if you can. You might want to bring your parents on board.”
“My school had a hat ban but religious head coverings (both hijabs and kippahs) and a couple of medical conditions were clear exceptions. Check your school and municipality’s nondiscrimination mandates.”
“Screenshot any texts she sends you along those lines, write down with a time and date when she says something heinous, etc.”
“If the school does anything beyond backing up your right to exist as a Muslim teenager, it might be time to try going to school board meetings, threatening to get a lawyer (and following through if you need to), calling the local news, etc.” – Ok-Bus2328
“I don’t know where you are, but fight this tooth and nail.”
“US restrictions on religion in the classroom are directed at teachers and admin, NOT YOUR RIGHT TO FREELY OBSERVE YOUR RELIGION (assuming you aren’t impeding anyone else’s health/safety).”
“So yeah, if you were running around the classroom trying to convert people, that would definitely be a problem. But otherwise, she better shut the f**k up.”
“Also, if you are genuinely concerned about this, I would suggest that you begin gathering written records and photographic evidence: every Christmas/Easter/Halloween/Valentine’s Day decoration, every kid wearing a crucifix or a reference to Jesus, and DEFINITELY any Catholics who show up after mass on Ash Wednesday with a smudge. (Don’t photo people without their permission, of course, but keep the written record).”
“Fight this bulls**t, please, for all of us.” – radjl
“I was raised Catholic (definitely am not anymore for various reasons but due to being raised in a… very isolated as far as religious education household) I’m not entirely clear on the tenants of your faith.”
“But. From what I do understand (please correct me if I’m wrong; I’d like to learn if I am misunderstanding) one of the things that are mostly common knowledge about your faith is that, in most cases, women wear headscarves around men that are not family members.”
“Not only did your group mate and her mother pressure you to remove your headscarf, which made you uncomfortable, to begin with, but they also lied to you about the presence of unfamiliar men in the house (the audacity!)”
“And when you stood your ground, your group mate guilted you even further by blaming you for her mother’s ‘panic attacks.'”
“I think the only things causing her mother’s ‘panic attacks’ are bigotry and ignorance. She doesn’t understand your customs, she chooses not to learn, and she thinks you should bow to what makes her comfortable, even when it goes against your beliefs (good job not backing down by the way, It’s hard to stand up for yourself in situations like this).”
“NTA. If this was a school-sponsored group study meeting, you should report your group mate, and her family for their active discrimination and making you feel unsafe and unwelcome.” – alphaowlboy
The subReddit was collectively appalled on the OP’s behalf, how she was treated at her classmate’s home, and what they attempted to accuse her of after the fact.
They urged her not only to create distance between herself and Rachel, but also to inform whoever she needed to in order to ensure this behavior would not be able to continue, in Rachel’s home or anyone else’s.