Posted on 10 March 2017

Meet Mariam...

"As a Danish citizen of a Danish mother and a Palestinian father, growing up with Christians while still being Muslim, I have very much, probably as many others, suffered from an agelong identity crisis.

My uncle says I’m Palestinian, my mom says I’m Danish, and what do you know, my grandma on her side says the same thing. However, my grandma on my dad’s side says that I’m Palestinian, and that I should be proud of that! My class mates say, “You’re just like us, although not quite after all.”

Well, awesome, that was a great help, wasn’t it?

Hijab - Turba - Helen Latifi

In 2016, I moved to Jordan and studied there for a year. It was a year filled with unforgettable experiences (for better and for worse), but also a year when I managed to dig all the way into my core.

I realized how Danish I am and am not.
I realized how Arabic I am and am not.
I realized how hard it is to be Muslim in a Muslim country, and how easy it is to be Muslim in a Christian country. Crazy, right?
I realized how rigid, but then again, how good our system is in Denmark.
I realized how bad, but then again, how dynamic the system is in Jordan.
I realized how zombie-like, but then again, how happy the Danish people is.
I realized how unhappy the Jordanian people is, but there was heart and soul in the streets.
I realized how conflict-averse the Danes are, but then again how loyal and trustworthy they are.
I realized how disloyal the Jordanians are, but then again, how open and hospitable they are. So with whom can I best identify? Both?

Throughout my so-called “identity journey” I didn’t come up with one precise answer, but there was one single truth I realized every day, and that truth became evident every time I looked at my own reflection: My scarf. Regardless what confused road I took, my scarf always confirmed one truth: I am Muslim, it is the part of my identity I will never doubt."

Mariam El Chiekh Khalil
International Business Communication, Arabic

Photo: Asim Iqbal
Designer: Helen Latifi
Proofreading: Nicklas Burman
Translator: Lisbeth Agerskov Christensen
Headwear: Norah Stylish Royal Blue

The portrait series "Femininity, Empowerment, and Headwear” is a collaboration between Helen Latifi Headwear and United Colors of Denmark and #UnitedColorsOfDenmark #UCOD

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