Every day, I feel guilty towards my daughter.
There was a time in my life when, unfortunately, I had looked up to certain people in my life and felt that I had to act like them.
One of those people was a cousin of mine.
I was surprised when, one day, her daughter came in with her head wrapped in a headscarf.
Even though my cousin herself only put it on after she had given birth to all three of her children.
My daughter was 15 then, and her daughter was a little older.
“If the time God has dictated has come, then she must cover her head", my cousin said. I believed then that I had to do what she had done; I had to make my daughter wear a headscarf.
My husband and I, without consulting my daughter, decided to make her wear a headscarf.
She refused to at the beginning, but we insisted and threatened her that she wouldn't go out with us without it.
She stayed at home for a while and wouldn't even go out with us during Eid.
For a whole year, we made excuses so she wouldn't go out with us, and my relationship with her really deteriorated.
Back then, I thought I was right.
Then, one day, I attended a workshop on discrimination and gender, and how we could be discriminating against the people closest to us.
I realized, then, that I was oppressing my daughter and had stripped her of God-given rights.
I returned home from the workshop adamant to make her take off the headscarf.
I went to her father and asked him, "Do you care what people think?"
“Of course not”, he said.
"Okay then, I’m going to let my daughter take off the headscarf. She doesn’t want to wear it, and she's upset whenever she goes out, and if we carry on like this, we'd be oppressing her."
"Take your headscarf off, and let’s go out together", I told her.
"You don't look nice”, her father told her at the door. “Are you going out like this?”
"Yes she will go out like this, people will talk for awhile, then the fuss will be over", I said.
I insisted that she went out without it.
The most difficult day for both her and myself was when we went to visit her relatives.
"How do you differ from any Christian woman now?" they asked.
The young girls in the family were divided into two teams.
One team wished I was their mother, so that they, too, could take their headscarves off.
While the other team all longed to take it off but couldn't, so they didn't want her to stop wearing it.
"You're making a mistake", they told her.
She broke down and cried, and I took her home.
"Don’t mind them”, I said. “In a few days, all this talk will be over".
Some time after that day, she came up to me and said, "Mama, I'm going to wear the headscarf. It's true, I don't look nice [without it], so I'll just wear it as an accessory till I am convinced with why we should wear it. Allow me the right to put it back on like you allowed me the right to take it off".
I, unfortunately, let her, although I should’ve realized that she was feeling pressured to put it back on.
I hugged her and we both cried. I didn't know how to tell her I was sorry.
- BuSSy in Port Said - 2014