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At Women-only Salon in Brooklyn, Muslim-Americans Prepare for Eid


Huda Quhshi, owner and cosmetologist at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique, dyes the hair of a woman ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

Nevien Shehadeh, 19, was one of many Muslim women who chose Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique in New York's borough of Brooklyn on Friday to prepare for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The beauty salon, designed by owner Huda Quhshi to cater mostly to Muslim women, opened in January in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn.

"I actually only started wearing the hijab one year ago," said Shehadeh, an undergraduate studying math and economics at Fordham University in New York. "I always wanted to, but I wasn't ready. It was actually during Ramadan last year, one week before Eid, that I had this feeling to wear the hijab."

Huda Quhshi, owner and cosmetologist at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique, cuts the hair of a customer ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.
Huda Quhshi, owner and cosmetologist at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique, cuts the hair of a customer ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

Shehadeh, a Palestinian-American, was with her two sisters, Shireen, 26, and Nisrien, 18, and aunt, Najah, 37. They reminisced about meeting Quhshi two years ago when the beauty entrepreneur was hired to do makeup at a family wedding.

Quhshi, 37, said that as a Yemeni-American whose cultural norms often barred women from the workplace, she did not think creating a space where conservative Muslim women could receive beauty services in a comfortable environment was possible.

Farah Ibrahim, 25, stands outside Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique after getting her hair dyed ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.
Farah Ibrahim, 25, stands outside Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique after getting her hair dyed ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

Between Wednesday and Friday, Quhshi said she received 48 customers for Eid services.

"Most salons aren't all women," said Shehadeh, who plans to celebrate Eid on a Staten Island beach with her family on Sunday, marking the end of Islam's holy month of Ramadan. "Here we feel comfortable. We're not paranoid of someone walking in."

Palestinian-American Raneem Ayesh, 16, has her hair washed at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.
Palestinian-American Raneem Ayesh, 16, has her hair washed at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

About 3.3 million Muslims live in the United States, according to Pew Research Center data, many of whom will celebrate Eid, one of the two most important festivals on the Islamic calendar.

"The beginning of Ramadan was really quiet. It was so slow. It was to the point that I thought of closing for Ramadan," Quhshi said. "Then, all of a sudden, we got so many bookings that we have had to turn people away."

Khoda Kheir, 30, receives a Halal eyebrow treatment at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.
Khoda Kheir, 30, receives a Halal eyebrow treatment at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

When women arrive at the salon, they are invited to sit on a circular, ivory couch studded with jewels.

Saloon doors lead to a private space where customers post up for pampering in peach and white chairs.

Farah Ibrahim, 25, center, watches as henna is applied on the hands of a customer ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.
Farah Ibrahim, 25, center, watches as henna is applied on the hands of a customer ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

Some get their hair cut and colored. Others have their makeup done or hijab styled by Quhshi and her staff of six. A pedicure station operates as a henna haven.

Henna is applied to the hands and arms of a customer at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.
Henna is applied to the hands and arms of a customer at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

Shehadeh admired her haircut and blow-out in the ornate mirror.

"We're here to get pampered for the holiday," Shehadeh said. "Even though we don't show our hair, it feels good to do it for yourself."

A woman picks out a color to get highlights in her hair at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.
A woman picks out a color to get highlights in her hair at the Le'Jemalik Salon and Boutique ahead of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday in Brooklyn, New York, June 21, 2017.

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