Channelling anger from hijab hassles
WHEN Habiba Asim was bullied at school for wearing a hijab, it fuelled a fired in her to fight prejudice at every opportunity.
She recently won the Positive Achievement Award at the WA Youth Awards after dedicating her young life to mentoring youths and battling inequality.
Ms Asim has worked with organisations such as Save the Children (with whom she was a national youth ambassador), Gosnells Youth Advisory Council, the Youth Affairs Council of WA and the Cities of Belmont and Stirling.
The former Canning Vale College head girl, who is a Muslim, said she wanted to tackle prejudice after she wore a hijab to school and was met with vitriol.
“That was a point in my life when I was very young and was trying different things. I put it on to go to school and it wasn’t a good experience,” she said.
“That was a point where this rage and anger started building up inside me and me helping other young people and the community is a way of channelling that anger in a positive way.
“I think it’s an experience that has made me stronger, but something I’m still trying to cope with.”
Ms Asim said other incidents involving friends who wears hijabs have also made her determined to fight prejudice.
“I can notice a difference between staff in a retail store and they won’t say hello or won’t approach them,” she said. “At first I thought it was just me being paranoid, but after a while, every single shop we went to, no one was coming up to us.”
However, such experiences give her common ground.
“I was mentoring a high school kid with Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and we were talking about the issues he faces in his daily life and we swapped rap songs and a lot of our issues were the same,” she said.
Habiba Asim wants to help other youth dealing with prejudice.