World Hijab Day Is Founded to Fight Against Oppression
Saved under Mona Salman, Opinion, Religion, World
Tags: world hijab day
World Hijab Day is celebrated on Feb. 1 of every year. It started with a Bangladeshi-American woman Nazma Khan. This is the day when Muslims and non-Muslims wear the Hijab (the veil) to support personal freedom, particularly for Muslim women who suffer from social oppression and ostracism.
World Hijab Day was celebrated in 116 countries for Muslim and non-Muslim women all over the world. The goal of the movement is to foster global connection and understanding of Muslim women, and to affirm the concept of freedom of self-expression and religion practice. “A book should not be judged by its cover” is the English saying that sums up what veiled Muslim women fight for.
Organizers of the campaign founded this event because of the great number of women all over the world, especially in Western countries, who are discriminated against and alienated by society. Nevertheless, it is a human right to wear whatever suits her. Many think that Hijab-wearing women are forced to conceal their hair and bodies. To add insult to injury, they are sometimes thought of as brainwashed and pathetic; but ironically, this kind of racism empowers, dignifies and liberates women who wear the veil. Judging women by appearance is generally offensive as it overlooks, if not rejects, women’s intellectual and mental capacity. Founders of World Hijab Day encourage women all over the world to wear the Hijab for a day to experience what Muslim women feel like.
Women play a vital role in society regardless of their choice of clothing. They are active, engaged members of the community. They become doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants, politicians and scholars. They are the mothers through which a community is created. Muslim women who wear the Hijab are also part of the community. They achieve success and are capable of reaching high professional positions.
For instance, there is Ayesha Farooq, a female fighter pilot in Pakistan, who is one of the five women who have become pilots in the Pakistan Air Force. There is also the famous Egyptian author Aisha Abd el Rahman, who used to write under the pen name of Bent EL Shatea. She wrote many books and essays on literary criticism, and is considered one of the most brilliant female scholars in the Islamic and the Arab worlds. In addition, Dalia Mogahed is the first Muslim woman to join U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration. She was selected as advisor to the president in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
These unique women have different roles in society yet they all share the same religious principle of wearing the Hijab. They have implicitly proved by their hard work and intellect that women wearing the Hijab should not be discriminated against or looked at as inferior or feeble, or easily exposed to religious deviations. On the contrary, most women who wear the Hijab are poised, confident and proud of their actions. This is the reason why Khan, the initiator of World Hijab Day, was keen on publicizing the event on social media to allow women from all over the world to participate and thus reflect on their own experiences of wearing the Hijab to others who have misconceptions about Muslims and the Hijab.
By Mona Salman
More stories here
Story of a Non-Muslim Hijabi
18 days ago in My Story
By Kathryn Van Gompel (USA)
Since I started to wear the Hijab, I am treated differently. It seems to be one extreme or the other. On the negative side, I have had people avoid me. They will go down a different isle at the grocery store, or turn their head away. Some people will just give me evil looks. I have not had anyone say anything negative, though some whisper under their breath so you cannot hear them. It is in their actions toward me. They may think I am a terrorist, and are scared.
Many things I have seen lately show the ignorance of people. Hating on Sikhs because they think they are Muslim. Hating on Muslims because they think all are terrorists. I am hoping to enlighten some of the ignorant to know there are good and bad people in all religions and races of the world. Hopefully, I can help people to see NOT to judge people by their appearance but by their hearts.
On the positive side, more men open doors for me when I am able to get out and about. Some women have asked why I wear Hijab (apparently because I am white, or they think I do not look Muslim). I started wearing the scarves as head cover, but they do not stay in place that well. So I tried the Hijab and like it much better. I started partly for health reasons and partly to be more modest. I know Christians and Jews used to wear the head covering all the time. Some still do.
I am a Christian and my religion also talks about wanting women and men to be modest in the way they dress. I am sure it is personal for every woman that wears Hijab. I know Muslim women who do not wear them. So it is a matter of choice here in the USA. I know in some countries Muslim women are required to wear them or the burka. I am thankful for the religious freedom in my country so those of any faith may worship their own way.
I do believe we are all praying to the same God, whether one calls him Allah, Jehovah, Heavenly Father or something else. This world be a better place if we can only get people to love one another instead of hating. Just the other day at the VA hospital I had a nice talk with a lady about my Hijab. I do not know if she was Muslim, but I was guessing she wasn’t. She was very respectful and curious. I talked with her for about 15 minutes. One person at a time, maybe people will come to understand and be less ignorant about those that look different from them in the world.