It’s a rite of passage for most American teens: going to the high school prom. However, for 65 percent of the students at Hamtramck High, prom is not an option due to their religious beliefs. You see, the majority of students at Hamtramck High are Muslim and follow the religion’s rules that forbids dating, dancing with members of the opposite gender, and appearing without a head scarf in public. So, it seemed that for these young women, the dream of having a prom was out of the question.
Or at least that’s how it was in the past. This year, a group of young ladies decided to take matters into their own hands and organized an all-girls prom, complete with juice-filled plastic flutes, homemade Greek columns, and a light-up fountain that was filled with pink water. And of course, there was “music all night, except during dinner and five minutes for prayer.”
Tharima Ahmed is one of the main organizers of the event. With only $2,500 and seven-months of planning, Ahmed and her friends put together a night that for those who attended will never forget. At first, there were many people who said the plan to have a prom without boys wouldn’t work. However, after Ahmed and her friends surveyed the students at their school and found that many did, in fact, want a prom without boys, the school’s faculty supported their students.
The faculty weren’t the only ones supporting the girls in their quest for a prom. Many non-Muslim students attended the prom in order to be with their friends on this special night.
“I want to support all my girls,” aid Sylwia Stanko, a Polish student who attended the prom with her Muslim friends. “I know how important it is to them.”
Many older women also attended the prom, too. Alumnae who did not have a girls-only prom and who could not attend traditional proms shared the festive night with the students. Many parents also supported and encouraged their daughters to attend.
“I was in high school,” said Ahmed’s mother, Roushanara, who wore a pink sari she wore to her school’s girls-only version of prom in Bangladesh. “I know her feelings.”
I am sure that on prom night, all of the girls’ feelings were pure joy, happiness, and excitement as they spent the night dancing with their friends. I am also sure that they all looked beautiful in their festive dresses.