CAIRO – Taking the decision to
wear hijab after developing a sun
allergy, Dennis Queen could not
imagine the amount of racist
attacks Muslim women face in
their daily life.
“People immediately assume I’m
Muslim. I don’t mind that but I find
the racist comments just
disgusting,” Queen told The
“I’ve been called a race traitor
and it’s really opened my eyes to
the kind of daily racism Muslims
have to put up with.”
The 40-year-old mum-of-four who
has developed a condition known
as Polymorphic Light Eruption
(PMLE), which means just a few
minutes in the sun causes her
skin to break out in an itchy red
“When I first got PMLE I tried
applying sun creams and wearing
sun hats but nothing seemed to
work,” Queen said.
“The rash was unbearable and it
got to the point that I was
avoiding going out.”
After looking for clothes to cover
her whole body, Dennis realized
traditional Islamic dress were the
Deciding to wear the traditional
Muslim dress, Queens was able
to live a normal life again.
“The burka is the only thing that
provides any real protection from
the sun and I actually really enjoy
wearing it now,” she said.
“All my Muslim friends have been
so supportive of me wearing this,
so it really upsets me.
“I was genuinely shocked by the
fear and hatred that people seem
to have,” she added.
After donning hijab, she realized
the amount of racist attacks
Muslim women face in their daily
“The only people that seem to
have a real problem with me
wearing a burka are racists – and I
don’t care about offending
racists,” Queen said.
“I’ve had some racist comments a
few times but to be honest I don’t
really care what a racist thinks of
For Queen, hijab made her a
more “understanding person”,
adding to her self-confidence.
“I was self-conscious to begin
with, but I had a lot of
encouragement from friends, and
I actually find it quite liberating,”
“I’m really happy with the decision
“Wearing a burka means I can get
one with my daily life and I don’t
have to worry about my skin.
“I don’t feel any less attractive or
any less feminine because I’m
wearing a burka.
“I feel confident and it’s made me
a more understanding person.”
The British mum hopes her story
would inspire others to take a
similar decision and cover up.
“I can only hope that people might
read this and take the same
decision that I have. You don’t
need to spend lots of money on
special clothing or the latest
“You just need to take practical
steps to cover yourself up.”
Britain is home to a Muslim
community of nearly 2.5 million.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory
code of dress, not a religious
symbol displaying one’s