MASSACHUSETTS – Muslim women in Massachusetts will no longer be fearful when they go to hair salons to get their hair cut after the state’s first salon and spa established specifically for Muslim women opened on Monday, WGBH reported.
“I envisioned this huge, big salon that had all the services you could think of,” remembered Shamso Ahmed, the woman behind the business. She wanted a place where “women felt safe.”
Ahmed fled the civil war in Somalia at the age of 10 and arrived in Boston with her family. Two years later, she started wearing a hijab and thinking of a future hair salon for Muslim women.
Two decades later, her dream came true.
When Ahmed isn’t working on her other business, a translation service, she has often worked as a stylist going from house to house. Now, Ahmed is hoping her clients and others will come to her salon.
Ahmed says the space is carefully designed to be female-only. At the door, there’s a camera and a code required. The windows are frosted so people walking past can’t see in.
She said there’s been a lot of enthusiasm in the Muslim community, and people came from other states just to attend the opening.
“Maine, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire,” she ticked off the places. “Some of them came from Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, D.C.”
The younger generation of Muslim teens was enthusiastic about the new place.
“Couldn’t wait,” said Farhia Ali, who is part of the Somali Muslim community.
“A place to go my day off to just relax and do something. It’s really hard to find [a place] for us as Muslim women in Boston where we can just go and get pampered and get our nails done and someone actually understands what we want. This will be the place.”
Now open, the hair salon isn’t only a childhood dream for her. She said she is also fulfilling her mother’s dream who used to have a hair salon in Somalia before the war.
“The prophet Muhammad — peace be upon him — his wife, Khadijah, was a very powerful businesswoman, and she encouraged others to follow her footsteps,” Ahmed said.
In January 2017, a Muslim women-only beauty salon opened its doors in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, offering hijabi women a place where they can safely let their hair down without fear of any privacy intrusion.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.