Religion is different for everyone, and it’s entirely up to us how we choose to practice.
But what happens when you’re a teenager, and you’ve got parents telling you what to do?
One young woman struggled with this on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Fickle_Pop123456 found herself trying to find a line between what her parents wanted and what her religion mandated.
Lost, the Original Poster (OP) reached out, asking:
“AITA for refusing to take my Hijab off when my step-mom asked me to?”
The OP has struggled through her parents’ divorce.
“I (15 [Female]) am a child of divorce and stuck in the middle of two feuding parents.”
“My mom is Muslim while my dad converted from Christianity to Islam but now converted back to being Christian, so you can imagine how challenging that was.”
“I grew up in a fairly happy household until my dad cheated with my now step-mom and that’s when everything went downhill.”
“My parents went to court seeking divorce but not without nastiness from both sides. I got stuck in the middle over and over again by parents wanting me to testify.”
“They finally divorced and my dad remarries to my stepmom and god it was horrible. She came with 3 boys who were all horrible to me.”
The OP’s stepmother criticized her beliefs.
“I wear the hijab and in Islam, there is a list of who can and can’t see my hair. On that list of who can’t are my stepbrothers, [and] this has lead to tension in the house.”
“My stepmother who is Christian can’t seem to understand and is making backhanded remarks about me wearing the hijab all the time. It’s gone as far as threatening to kick me out or saying she’ll convince my father to never see me again.”
“She is taking this as a sign that I don’t like them, which is sort of true, [but] not related to this in any way.”
“My father is doing nothing to back me up and at this point, I’m really losing my mental health.”
The stepmother has made multiple demands.
“This is not the first time she’s tried to make me do something that’s against my religion.”
“She took my prayer mat away and coincidentally didn’t tell me a dish she was making had pork in it.”
“I’m so tired of the tension and constant remarks. I could just take my hijab off and save myself from so much misery but on one hand, I feel so guilty and on the other hand, I don’t want to disappoint my father.”
The OP later added a note about her living situation.
“For those asking why I can’t stay with my mom, she is a medical aid worker currently deployed overseas in an active war zone.”
“Pre-pandemic I would stay with my grandparents when she wasn’t here, but with [the virus], I don’t want to risk it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some firmly suggested the OP move in full-time with her grandparents.
“Go stay with your grandparents, just take required precautions. Ensure good hygiene and hand washing when you leave the house.”
“You can wear a mask, etc… and even change clothes after going out to any areas of concern.”
“People are staying with immuno-compromised family just fine, you just have to ensure you take all safety measures you can. Ensure you clean any areas you touch when returning home, do your own washing, and keep your distance until you tidy yourself up when you get home from anywhere.”
“It sounds like a lot, but it’s not really (you establish and get used to a routine), and it’d be better than living with an abusive adult.” – Permit-Extreme-117
“Yeah, I think your mental health and over all well being is worth going to your grandparents. Living in that environment is not at all good for a young woman.”
“Your step mother isn’t making backhanded remarks, she’s being absolutely racist and your father doesn’t have the backbone to stand up for you. I’m sorry your father has put you in such a toxic environment. NTA.” – cutelittleh**lbeast
“I second this – OP is NTA, and with proper precautions, the grandparents would be a far better option, and I’m sure they would be delighted. Also, I’m not sure if courts would agree, but this seems like terribly abusive behaviour to me that should possibly be brought to someone’s attention…?”
“So sorry you’re having to deal with this essentially alone OP. I know your mother cannot be there for you right now, but are you at least keeping her apprised of the situation? She needs to know what’s happening, even if she cannot physically be there right now.” – koshka42
“Remember that the quarantine and distancing measures are to ensure the health of the people, [and] you have to ensure you’re own health as well, both physical and mental health.”