At a rally in support of refugees in Columbus Circle Muslim women proudly wore their hijabs. But the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino and presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. have made many Muslims reconsider their traditional head dress to avoid being a target.
Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, has worn a hijab for the last 15 years and plans to continue doing so. But in the current political climate, she says many women are fearful of being the victim of an anti-Muslim attack.
Across the country there have been instances of Muslim women being singled out, including in Brooklyn where a postal worker was charged with spitting on and shouting anti-Muslim slurs at woman wearing hijab in a deli.
The website muslimgirl.net has a crisis safety manual that advises women to wear a hoodie or beanie-like turban to attract less attention.
That message of putting safety first is being echoed across Muslim communities both in person and online.
Meanwhile, some Muslim women are now seeking out self-defense classes. Several scheduled in our area in the coming days have completely sold out.