EDUCATION is the key to combating bigotry and racism says Muslim woman Amran Abdi, who has penned children’s book The Rainbow Hijab.
The Mirrabooka-based 21-year-old experienced racial abuse in Australia for wearing her hijab and noticed other young girls were too scared to wear it, which is why she decided to write the book.
The Rainbow Hijab’s main character Ameera loses her favourite hijab and while looking for it reminisces about the memories she made while wearing it.
Ms Abdi said many girls were afraid to wear the hijab.
“When I was 16, I started teaching at my local Sunday school. I was given a class of 10-15 girls and towards the end of class three little girls came up to me and said ‘Miss, we love our hijabs but we get teased at school’. What shook me was the fact these girls were six, seven and nine years old,” she said.
A self-confessed bookworm, Ms Abdi said she wanted to give young girls a heroic character to empower and educate them.
“A little Muslim girl could pick up the book and say ‘Ameera wears the hijab, so can I’,” she said.
The early childhood teacher said growing up in Australia and transferring to a public school as a teenager was difficult.
“My parents are from Somalia; they escaped the civil war and relocated to Kenya where I was born and came to Australia via New Zealand as refugees when I was six,” she said.
“Most of the incidents were in Australia: I remember going to the shops one day with my mum and she was racially abused.”
The Rainbow Hijab is available from Amazon.