Bullied Muslim teenager creates soft toy to spread awareness about acceptance

The Muslim headscarf, or hijab, is probably one of the most misunderstood apparel women wear.

New Zealanders could brush up on their knowledge about other cultures, so one Kiwi teenager has come up with a way to help us learn more.

"My hijab is my identity," 17-year-old Izilah Mohammed told The Project. "So I feel really naked if I was not not wear it."

But making the choice to cover her head wasn't easy. She still remembers the reactions of her classmates the first time she wore a headscarf to school.

"They start asking questions, I answered," she said. "But then they start turning those questions into hurtful comments, saying I'm a terrorist.

"I was being left out just because I chose to cover my head."

The bullying meant she struggled with her self esteem, but it also gave her the inspiration to fight that discrimination.

Fast forward six years, and she's become one of the country's youngest social entrepreneurs. This year she launched her first product - a soft toy called 'Izzy', who has a message.

She wants 'Izzy's' story to speak to all young women, regardless of their religion. 

"I'm hoping that Izzy will be a message," she told The Project. "We wear what we wear and we should be accepted for what we wear."