Hawzah News Agency (Melbourne, Australia) – For many hijabi Muslim women in Australia, going to the hairdressers is no longer impossible, thanks to a Melbourne stylist who has created a safe space for them to remove their hijab safely and have their hair cut.
''I’ve gone to hairdressers and actually asked them ‘can you just style my hair in the back?’” Zulfiye Tufa, 29, recalled as she spent years cutting her own hair, unable to find a salon in Melbourne willing to offer a private space for her to remove her headscarf.
“But they weren’t really accommodating, they just looked at me like I was kind of crazy – and I don’t blame them, because I guess they didn’t understand, and if you don’t understand it can’t make sense to you,” she said.
Things changed when she discovered Neel Morley – the owner of Australia’s first curly hair salon Neel Loves Curls – who recently started closing his doors to the general public for special ‘headscarf days’.
“There was still a general lack of understanding over why and when Muslim women wear headscarves. It’s because whenever people see us, we’re wearing it, and when they see us the next day, we’re wearing it, so they just assume we even wear it in the shower,” she joked.
Every few months, Morley sends himself home, brings in a team of all-female stylists, and creates a safe space in Melbourne’s Fitzroy for Muslim women to remove their headscarves and be pampered.
“We now do them every few months on a Sunday and Monday, we give people two months’ notice, and they just book out so quickly,” Morley explained. The salon has hosted there lots of headscarf days so far and plans to hold more in the future.