World Hijab Day: Awareness about Women’s Right to Choose
Today marks World Hijab Day. The event will be held across the world celebrating a women’s right to choose what she wears and promoting tolerance and respect for the personal and religious beliefs of others. Given the current climate, World Hijab Day is of even greater importance. Muslims and Non-Muslims must stand up and clearly say that women have a right to choose what they want to wear.
Despite some recent progress, women still face discrimination at work or in their own communities. It is simply not acceptable for others to dictate what women choose to wear for whatever reason. We all have a civic duty to speak against intolerance and also act to work to educate our wider society.
Five years ago, a Muslim woman in New York decided to invite other women to experience what life is like in America when you wear a hijab. She wanted to foster religious tolerance and fight stereotypes about women, who choose to wear the hijab. Since then, the movement has spread across the globe, with women in 140 countries across America, Africa, Europe wearing hijabs for World Hijab Day.
First marked on February 1, 2013, it has grown globally in recognition of the millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the headscarf. There’s now a World Hijab Day website, a Facebook page and, of course, in a social-media friendly universe, there are also hashtags: #IStand4Hijab and #WorldHijabDay.
This year World Hijab Day becomes important because of the high increase of Hijabophobia and Islamophobia. The day also takes place at a time of renewed concern for religious freedom across the globe following President Trump’s travel ban on people born in predominantly Muslim countries. This comes on top of a rise in anti-Muslim attacks, predominantly on women.
These women will stand together few days after someone walked into a Quebec City mosque and started shooting, killing six people and wounding others. They are gathering at a time when people Lagos State Government is in the court to challenge the right of female Muslim students to wear Hijab. This is coming few days after Lagos Television was on the wrong side of history with the Hijab saga.
“There is this Western stereotype that a Muslim woman who wears it did not have the choice to do so. It is seen a symbol of oppression rather than a symbol of devotion,” one Muslim woman who only wears a hijab when she prays said.
“For me, putting on a headscarf was emancipation because that was the moment that I reclaimed my identity,” another woman said.
A hijab is a piece of fabric that women use to cover their hair. In Arabic, “hijab” means “to cover.” Not all Muslim women wear hijabs and there are many different ways to wear it. Often, the way a woman decides how to wear her hijab for the day depends on her culture and her own personal preferences.
World Hijab Day Endorsement
The World Hijab Day has received global endorsements from many Muslims and Non-Muslims spread across about 140 countries and here are some of the high-profile endorsement.
“With hate crimes against Muslim-Americans tripling in 2016, it is important we take this moment to stand together with our fellow Americans on World Hijab Day. Rooted in the American principles of religious freedom and liberty, the World Hijab Day movement seeks to end the discrimination and judgment that comes with wearing a hijab.”
David Weprin New York State Assemblyman – District 24
I believe the concept of bringing attention to the modest attire that Islam encourages women to wear is something extremely positive and beneficial, especially in today’s fashion-obsessed and scantily-clad societies. Allah created us to love modesty, and modesty is a part of faith. Projects such as the ‘Word Hijab Day’ help us spread these values and showcase our religion in a positive manner.”
Dr. Yasir Qadhi “One of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam.”-New York Times Magazine
“World Hijab Day is not an act of worship but rather an effective way to create global awareness of the issue that is being attacked unfairly.It has achieved some great success already. Alhamdulillah.”
Mufti Ismail Menk World Renowned Mufti Zimbabwe
I support WORLD HIJAB DAY because I hope women will not be discriminated for wearing the Hijab. A woman should not be criticized or looked upon differently just because she chooses to wear a hijab. People from other faith should learn to respect that.”
Carol Lee Mrs. Universe 2013
“One reason we really got interested with World Hijab Day is we know it will help us with our Bill Against Discrimination on account of ethnicity and religious belief. The best way to erase biases is to have people understand our way of life and there can be no better way to achieve this than have them experience it.”
Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman AMIN, House of Representatives (Philippines)
World Hijab Day has shown my students a most powerful lesson in accepting individual differences.”
Dr. Arthur Flug Former Executive Director, Kupferberg Holocaust Center
Highlighting the choice of Hijaab being a legitimate right of women, politically empowers them and exposes the falsehood being propagated by the secular extremists that the hijaab degrades women and is forced upon them.”