The Rainbow Hijab: book to help combat bigotry and racism


Amran Abdi reads to Maryan Abdiwohab and Layth Mukhtar. Picture: Andrew Ritchie         d467802
Amran Abdi reads to Maryan Abdiwohab and Layth Mukhtar. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d467802

EDUCATION is the key to combating bigotry and racism according to Muslim woman Amran Abdi, who has penned children’s book The Rainbow Hijab.

The 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 follows the story of main character Ameera, who 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,” she said. “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’.

MORE: Singleton girl (17) dies after shark attack

MORE: Pet dog reportedly killed after car hits Thornlie home, man charged

MORE: West Perth boasts band of brothers 

“What shook me to the core to this day was the fact that these girls were six, seven and nine years old.”

A self-confessed bookworm, Ms Abdi said she wanted to give young girls a heroic character to look up, empower them and bring about a better understanding.

“A little Muslim girl could pick up the book and say ‘Ameera wears the hijab, so can I’,” she said.

“The reason I called her Ameera is because in Arabic it means princess.”

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; people would yell at my sister and I to ‘go back to our country’.

“Even going to the shops a few weeks ago, I just wanted to get some ice cream and a woman came up to me and yelled at me that I wasn’t ‘acceptable’.”

Ms Abdi said she was working on two sequels to the story and had already received international interest in stocking the book from the UK, Singapore and Dubai.

“I just want to continue writing and inspiring kids,” she said.

“It felt like a miracle when I finally had the book in my hands printed.

“I was so excited.”

The Rainbow Hijab is available from Amazon.