April 15, 2019
ORLANDO – About two hundred Florida high school students attended a very special prom this weekend. The young men wore tuxedos like everyone else to their prom but the young women wore niqabs – a garment covering the hair and face worn in many Islamic nations but especially popular in the Gulf States.
The gather was an alternative prom sparked as a protest to the school banning the niqab and not allowing Muslim student Aaqilah Jaber to wear the traditional Islamic clothing.
“I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t let me come to school in my niqab,” Jaber told reporters.
“I wasn’t bothering anyone. A lot of girls walk around in tight shirts and very revealing shorts but they thought my dress was inappropriate,” Jaber continued.
Aaqilah’s father filed a suit against the school and the case has yet to go to trial. She is currently being homeschooled through an Islamic program.
School administrators could not be reached for comment, but in past press releases have declared that it is against school policy for students to cover their faces.
Approximately one-fourth of the high school seniors attended the alternative prom instead of the official prom held by Gator High School.
“It was a really unique experience for me,” said Rachel Goldmann, who attended the alternative prom.
“I really felt like my date was looking into my eyes and appreciating my beauty under my veil. I hope my wedding day is like that,” Goldmann continued.
Miss Goldmann purchased her niqab made of white silk online. Pictures of the event show her wearing plenty of eye makeup and having an excited demeanor.
Ashley Brady, another attendant of the prom, purchased her niqab from a Muslim clothing store in Orlando.
“It was so weird. Most girls go out to the stores in the mall and places like that and try on lots of dresses. I went to this clothes store for Muslim women and tried on lots of niqabs,” Brady said.
Many of the girls wore head and face coverings in addition to traditional prom dresses, but Brady wore an entire authentic Islamic outfit. She even wore the black gloves which came with the niqab, as well as a long black skirt and pantyhose.
A few of the girls wore niqabs which they had purchased online or through Islamic merchandise stores in the area, but most created homemade veils using various kinds of cloth.
“I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I just grabbed some cloth from Hobby Lobby and my Mom and I created this,” Melissa Redman said.
Many of the ladies said they went online and watched YouTube videos for instructions on making the veils.
Even though the guys couldn’t see their dates’ faces, they still seemed to have a good time.
“It was very different than anything I ever expected. I mean, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about what prom would be like, but I certainly didn’t expect my date’s face to be covered with a veil. She was still beautiful though,” Stan Griffen said.
“Everyone was having a great time. There was lots of laughing and dancing,” Martin Smith said.
Aaqilah Jaber attended as the date of a Muslim male student who still attends the school. While she would not have been eligible to be elected prom queen at the official dance as she is not technically a student of the high school, she and her date were elected for the alternative prom.
The prom was the idea of class president Stephanie Harris, who attended in a homemade veil. It was held in the Getaway Hotel, having been paid for by local Muslim donors. Decorations and photographers were also funded by the donors.
Copyright 2019 Azosiated Press