With wit, graciousness and the occasional high-five, Cleveland High School seniors Safia Mohamed and Fatima Muse described the "top three ridiculous questions" that people ask them about wearing a hijab, the head covering worn by many Muslim women: "Do you have hair under there? Do you wear it in the shower? Do you sleep with it?"
"Random people ask ridiculous questions, but I don't blame them, either. This is our opportunity to educate people," said Mohamed. She adds, "And it's not just the hijab thing. It's about Somalia, too: 'Do you have TV? Do you have cars? Do you live in a jungle?' "
These kinds of conflicting and intersecting cultural experiences are at the heart of "Layers of the Hijab," an art project led by artist Mary Coss that brought together Mohamed, Muse and other Cleveland High School Muslim girls with East African backgrounds.