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Exactly 10 years ago my father suddenly died, and his death drastically changed the attitude of my family to life. Today I am 27 years old, Islam was accepted 5 years ago and I have to tell that I regret not making this decision earlier as my mother and my little sister did. I talk about it, in spite of the fact that the attitude of the Kyrgyz society towards girls and women in hijabs is ambiguous. Our society yet hasn’t achieved understanding what Islam is. In my opinion, there are a few reasons. The first one is – lack of the correct information, the second one is unwillingness of people to understand and to receive information, and the third one is the wrong interpretation of Islam. I am anxious about the distribution of the information. Because, while information about Islam is in the hands of the incompetent politicians and semiliterate religious leaders, level of tolerance of society will remain low.

Do you think, we differ from others? Do you think, that the clothes which we wear have to cause the bad attitude towards us? After all we have nothing against those who wear clothes according to their taste. I want to tell that if a woman wears a hijab, it does not mean that she might be deprived of all rights and opportunities. We have the same rights to a freedom of choice, to have property and access to education on an equal basis with men. Our clothes or wearing a hijab shouldn’t cause discrimination when getting an education. I have to tell, that lack of information among the population, especially prejudiced relation of people of the Soviet period, made girls in hijabs to be a subject of discrimination. It creates unnecessary and additional stresses, anxiety. Despite of the aggression from the senior generation, we treat them tolerantly, we try to explain that there isn’t anything bad in Islam. But, as a rule, out attempts fail. We have to accept such relation and at this point we have to observe a distorted picture of Islam, and our society, where society treat Islam as evil.

You can hardly imagine one of the periods in my life, when I studied in the High education institution. Because of my appearance one of our teachers took an instant dislike to me. She was more strictly to me, than to the others she demanded more from me, than from the others. But I stood the test, and I bear no grudge against her. Now my sister is in the same situation, as I used to be. But thanks to aunt Zhamal, the Chairperson of the public women association “Mutakalim”, and to the fact, that she studies very well, we manage to avoid many conflicts and anxieties. The matter is that she had a personal meeting with the rectors, deans, teachers and explains to them, that it is impossible to behave like this. That we are the same people, as all the others and also have a right to freedom of religion.

I am personally convinced that this problem could have been avoided, in case our politicians were tolerant and understanding; and in case they observed laws. If the girls in educational institutions who want and have the right to get an education were not oppressed only because they wear scarfs and hijabs if religious leaders acted effectively, we wouldn’t face such attitude of the society. I want to note that thanks to aunt Zhamal it is allowed to wear scarfs in educational institutions, thanks to her we achieved that now it is possible to place a photo in a scarf in the passport. There is one more reason which discredits Islam, and it is people who accepted Islam, without understanding it, without understanding the values of Islam and its dogmatics. There are few people who accepted Islam consistently. Most of the people use Islam as a cover, because of a grief, a hopelessness and weakness. But I have to tell, that not everyone can pass Allah’s test, not everyone can understand the essence of life. And who manages to do this, they are able to find their way in life and they bring to this world only good things. They are able to devote themselves to creation of good deeds.

I have a big hope that the situation will change and we will be not discriminated only because we wear special or rather unusual clothes. I love my country very much and I want to be useful for it, and this is the reason why I want to learn some foreign languages, to travel in the world, to receive new knowledge, to promote my self-development which, in turn, will help me to develop the country and the religion.

I feel proud when I speak about it also because along with such a sad situation, there are also positive phenomena. The youth adequately perceives the people who have accepted Islam. They are open for information, aren’t in stereotypes and aggression. They understand perfectly that the people in Islam are the same people, as well as everything, but differ only by their religion. They have the same requirements, the goals in their lives, interests, friends, requirements to spend interestingly leisure-time. I have friends who didn’t accept Islam. But it doesn’t prevent us from being friends, from meeting with each other, from communicating, speaking on different topics. My religion also doesn’t prevent me from making a choice of my future spouse. This year, in autumn, I am going to get married. And you should not think that it will happen under coercion. We have feelings to each other, we know each other from the time, when we were students. All this time we were only friends, and this year he proposed to me. His family is ready to accept me as I am. We plan to create a family, we will plan the birth of children, we will work and develop together. And still I have a dream to help orphan children. To help them to grow and to get an education.