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07/16/2015 10:05 am ET Updated Jul 17, 2015

Hijab-Wearing Teen Wins Best-Dressed Because 'Being True To Yourself' Is Always In Style

This young woman honors her religion with style and grace. 

Abrar Shahin, a Muslim teen who wears a hijab -- a symbol of modesty in her faith -- was awarded best-dressed at her New Jersey high school this spring, Today.com reported. The 18-year-old is proud of herself for winning, and of her classmates for making an unconventional choice for the superlative, telling the news outlet, "I am honored to come from a generation that is accepting. … Growing up in this society can be difficult, but the only way to advance and break stereotypes is to stay true to ourselves and our beliefs."

Shahin has always had an interest in fashion, and as she developed her personal style, she found ways to incorporate her hijab.

“First and foremost, modesty is my no. 1 priority,” Shahin told The Huffington Post in an email. “I love keeping up with the latest trends and putting a modest twist to them!”

Shefa Alkhalaf

For inspiration, Shahin says she loves the “hijabi fashionistas” on Instagram -- women who wear head coverings and involve them in stylish outfits. While a hijab is worn to maintain modesty and privacy, Shahin says it doesn’t restrict self-expression, and that there are often misconceptions about hijab-wearing women.  

“People think we are oppressed, not allowed to do many things and are forced to wear hijab,” she told HuffPost. “But the truth is hijab is my choice. Yes, it's a command from Allah, but I chose to wear it. It identifies who I am, and helps me express myself. I can never see myself without it.”

Courtesy of Abrar Shahin

Shahin’s spirit and style stood out among the 800 students in her graduating class, and also with her family, who was proud that a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman was the recipient of this award.

The recent graduate says she hopes her story can inspire other young Muslim women.

“I want to let other girls know that they shouldn't be afraid to express themselves,” Shahin told HuffPost. “We live in the land of the free for this reason. Being true to yourself should always be no. 1.”

 

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