“Do you know what it’s like to represent a billion human beings every day you walk out of your house?” asked Jamilah Alhashidi, on stage at a recent “Hijabi Monologues” rehearsal. “To be looked at as a representative of an entire world religion, a world religion—do you know what that’s like? It’s exhausting.”
Alhashidi will join with 11 other University of Michigan-Dearborn performers this weekend for a production of “Hijabi Monologues,” which covers topics including teenage pregnancy, loss of a child and religion.
“The monologues present so many stories and shows the diversity of experiences for Muslim women,” said performer Walaa Tout, a psychology and biology major.
One of the monologues to be performed is the winning entry of the UM-Dearborn story contest, written and performed by English major Rima Zalghout.
“We narrowed it down to two entries, and we couldn’t decide,” said Alhashidi, who also serves as co-director. “We asked for the national organization to choose which one they thought should be featured, and they chose Rima’s.”
Zalghout’s monologue is deeply personal piece. She discusses her eating disorder and talks of her desire to control something in her life—food.
“I wrote it in one night and edited it over one week,” Zalghout said. “I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to write it and I just went for it.”
The purpose of the monologues is to take something with a very public discourse and turn inward—in this case, to talk about the personal lives of Muslim women. This acts as an inverse of Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues,” which takes a private topic, and makes it public.
“We are all unique,” said Alhashidi. “People have assumptions of Muslim women, but my scarf doesn’t dictate who I am, and this is why the monologues are important.”
“Hijabi Monologues” will be performed March 7 and 8 at 6 p.m. in room 1500 of the Social Sciences Building. Tickets for the show can be purchased in advance at the CIViC, located in University Center, for $7 or $10 at the door. All proceeds from the show go to ACCESS and First Step. For more information email HijabiMonologuesUMD@gmail.com.