Virginia’s First Veiled Firefighter
RICHMOND – Taking up her new job as Virginia’s first veiled Muslim firefighter, the Richmond Muslim mother of two Kae Asima knew it will not be an easy task.
“I understand that people have questions and I embrace them,” Asima told ABC News on Wednesday, September 24, referring to daily questions about her religion.
For the single mother of two, the dream of being a firefighter started when she was a child.
“I’ve always liked an action packed job and I love the physical aspect of the job,” said Asima.
Putting an Islamic headscarf, called hijab, the Muslim firefighter has always faced questions about her veil and whether she wears it while fighting fires.
“We have what is called a nomex hood that is flame retardant,” said Asima.
“I just put that on and I still look the same.”
Though being the only Muslim, Asima is one of 36 women who are firefighters in Richmond fire department.
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
In a society that looks high upon the risky, noble job, stereotypes remained a problem for her, though none was disrespectable.
“I’m not what you see on the news,” said Asima.
“There’s more to me than that. I’m still a human being and I still want to help people.”
The media negative portrayal of Muslims made Asima more determined on proudly displaying devotion to her religion while risking her life for others.
“The people that we help when they need help they don’t care what our gender is, they don’t care what our ethnicity is, they don’t care about our religion,” said Asima.
“They just want to know that we can do the job.”
According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender said that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A recent Pew research found that American Muslims are the most moderate around the world.
It showed that US Muslims generally express strong commitment to their faith and tend not to see an inherent conflict between being devout and living in a modern society.
Posted on September 27, 2014, in ARTICLES, NEWS and tagged america, article, fighting fires, firefighter, first, headscarf, hijab, human being, islamic, islamic headscarf, knowledge, learn, modest, modesty, muslim firefighter, muslimah, news, noble, noble mission, questions, ummah, usa, veil, veiled, veiled firefighter, virginia, wears. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.