I was sat in this Islamic lecture at one of my mums friends houses the other day, trying my best not to get spoken to when I overheard the most interesting conversation. This women was telling her friend about how her daughter had been having difficulty for over a year getting a job and she decided that her headscarf was the problem so she took it off (for the interview) and voila, she got a job! She then went on to advise that her friend's daughter does the same thing - take it off for the interview and turn up on the first day with it on, after which the employers would not dare dismiss her on the grounds of religious dress for fear of being sued. Genius.
As she launched into an explanation about the drawbacks of hijab in the Western world my mind drifted to those wrist bands that I've seen Christians wear, bearing the words 'What would Jesus do?'. Perhaps we need to start thinking along the same lines.
What would - or rather what did - our final Prophet (S) do when he was ridiculed for his message and called a madman and had rocks thrown at him and his family abused? What did Yusef (as) do when he was thrown into prison for not submitting to the will of Zulaykha? What did Noah (as) do when people laughed at him for building an ark in preparation for a flood when there was not a drop of rain? What did Asiya, wife of Pharaoh, do when her own husband had her tortured for disobeying him by accepting the path of God? What did Abraham (as) do when Allah (SWT) commanded him to kill his own son? What did the early Muslims do when they were tortured in the boiling heat of the desert and told that all they had to do was say a word, say that they did not believe in Allah (SWT) and His Prophet and the torture would cease, they would be free and respected people? I'll tell you what they did not do, they did not sell their principles for worldy gain and not even for a second or a minute, or for the length of an interview, did they succumb even to the pain of extended torture.
We complain that life in the West is hard and that we must compromise the principles that we believe in simply to fit in and be accepted by others. How weak are we then, in comparison to the Mumineen that came before us? They would not even consider uttering a word of disbelief to free themselves from physical torture at the hands of non-Muslims and yet we consider and openly encourage the rejection of what God has ordained for us, in hopes of pleasing non-Muslims?
I was going to post iyas and hadiths to back myself up but frankly, all you need to use is your logic. So anyone thinking of taking off their hijab for an interview because they are afraid they will be discriminated against, I say go ahead and do it, trick your employers and laugh at them when they offer you the job. Just remember this, that which causes your heart to stir with fear and makes you change yourself is what you are truly and utterly at the mercy of. I really do hope then, that your prospective employers are all-merciful and infinitely compassionate.
(Just a side note: I've had quite a few interviews over the past 4 or 5 years and the only time I have been rejected was once, about a year before I put on the hijab.)