It’s not so much an issue of propriety, like it is for adults, but more an issue of identity. Somalis (and Muslims in general) living in the United States are living within a larger society that does not share all of our customs. The motivation for having little girls wear head coverings isn’t so much to cover their heads, which isn’t required of children, but to have them dress as adult Muslims with the hope of instilling a sense of Muslim identity in them.
Also, girls sometimes want to dress like their mothers. We are a primarily Islamic society, which requires that the women cover their heads. With that being said, this depends on the parents and how strict they are when it comes to their faith. Some parents believe if they make the girls cover their hair at an early age this will not become just an alienating idea when the girls grow up and have to cover their hair in accordance with their faith.
For example, a Muslim child becomes adult at the age of 15. When the girls reach 15, or some say puberty, they are required to cover their body. This will include wearing a head scarf or qamar, a long shirt and skirt. The idea is that, when the girls reach their teenage years, they will already have worn this for many years and accept it as part of their everyday style.
Other less strict parents (as well as some more strict ones) see their daughter as a small child, who has not reached the age where they are required to wear a head scarf and want their children to enjoy their dress code just like everybody else in school. Some will dress their daughters like American kids because they want their children to fit in and not stand out. So it depends on the parent and it is the parents’ preference and nothing else, really.
Another reason why the parents make their little girls cover their hair is that our little girls have such beautiful hair that we don’t want some pervert staring at them. And they’re so adorable when they wear those little cute mini-qamars.
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