Hampton University student Melona Clarke was forced to prove she is in fact a Muslim.
Here is a case where rights collide but freedom of religion should triumph. Often faith is expressed in external dress and thus should be considered an extension of belief.
The school’s dress code does not allow “caps and hoods for women” however “headgear considered as a part of religious or cultural dress” is allowed.
Again, the central point is faith. This right, specific to hijabs or mandated garb that covers the entire body, often collides with current standards of dress and expectations.
But like speech, women and men must defend important rights and attire should be viewed through both a historic and faith-based lens.
However, here is a young woman, enrolled in a university who has the right to continue to cover her head, as set forth by her faith.
Students may submit a written request to make specific exceptions for religious garb to the Office of the Chaplain. Those approved get a new picture ID taken.
Ms. Clarke finally was allowed to wear the hijab but not until she obtained a letter from her mosque, confirming that she is, in fact, a Muslim.
Clarke’s paperwork now is in order and her headgear is sanctioned.
If anything, her appearance on campus can make her entire wardrobe, including the hijab, more familiar to others and educate them about Muslim culture.
She wants to tell her story so she can spare others from the same scrutiny.