Hyderabad: In a rather unsettling case, yet another Muslim faced discrimination because of their religious identity. 24-year-old Ghazala Ahmad, a Master of Mass Communication and Journalism from Aligarh Muslim University, was denied a job at a Delhi-based Hindi media outlet when she expressed her choice of donning a headcover.
A scarf that covers the head, hijab forms a key to a Muslim women’s clothing. “I told them that I observe hijab and will continue to do that during my job,” wrote Ms. Ahmad on her Twitter account.
“The recruiter went silent and told me he can’t proceed my application further,” she said. She was initially offered the job after the interview round was over and the salary was discussed. “He was adamant on his demand that either I have to remove my hijab or I won’t get a job,” she further added, “And to my surprise, the recruiter was a Muslim.”
Ms. Ahmad, while speaking to siasat.com said, “I worked as an intern for several reputed media organizations before. I worked as an elected member of the University’s students and delivered speeches in my hijab. Nowhere, I faced this kind of discrimination and I was selected based on my qualifications and my quality of work.” But, many are denied a job based on personal choices, she said. “I have the privilege to put this case forward on behalf of many whose voices are subdued.”
“I had it in my mind right from the beginning,” she said, “I knew that people will question my hijab, but I wanted to assert my identity, which I did.”
When asked, Ms. Ahmad agreed to the blatant Islamophobia that exists in society. “Media outlets now broadcast their own ideas, thwarting discussions on issues that are important. They influence people’s minds largely, which is also a reason why society is becoming Islamophobic.”
“This is specifically targeting people of one community. I brought my experience up for people to realize how unconstitutional their notions are,” she commented.
Ms. Ahmad also brought up that there is a widening gap between women and men employed in media currently. “If personal choices like wearing a hijab prohibit women from entering this field, the gap would be further widened,” she says.
“Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Where are your constitutional values now? Where is secular Bharat?” Ms. Ahmad questions.