Happy World Hijab Day!
Now in its sixth year and bigger than ever, World Hijab Day (WHD) is an annual event marked on 1 February each year. Organisers say the Day is designed to show solidarity with Muslim women worldwide, by raising awareness of faith and dress and also asking women to wear the Hijab irrespective of religion or background.
As an organisation dedicated to supporting all women to grow personally, professionally and socially regardless of who they are or their faith or identity, ODARA welcomes WHD. Any initiative that exists to ‘create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other’ is a good thing. WHD organisers highlight the fact that Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab are being targeted in some countries and harassed, both verbally and physically. They say the day aims to fight bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women.
We’re with them on that! Today will hopefully educate people about what the Hijab is, means, and why some women choose to wear it. As one politician, Roxanne J. Persaud, put it: “I call on everyone to demonstrate religious freedom by exercising tolerance and embracing the richness that diversity brings. When we show tolerance we recognise universal human rights and the fundamental freedoms of others. Our commitment to religious freedom must be congruent with our actions: We need to stand together to counter religious intolerance and hate.”
However, we recognise that wearing the Hijab is often a very personal choice. It can be a statement about who you are, or have strong family connections. Asking non-Muslim women to wear the Hijab in solidarity might serve as a great way to improve understanding and promote tolerance.
But overall, in these sometimes challenging times for women who wear the Hijab, we support WHD and hope it achieves what it sets out to: a more peaceful, accepting and informed world for Muslim women to inhabit. In the UK, there have been stories of the Hijab being ‘ripped off’ women’s heads as they walk in the street. This causes fear. WHD is a reminder that the majority of non-Muslims stand together with us. They support our choice to wear the Hijab. They understand why we choose to. And this can only be a good thing.
There are ways to support WHD, if you would like to. The organisers of the Day suggest updating your Facebook profile picture with World Hijab Day 2018 campaign frame using this link, and liking their Facebook page. The hashtag #StrongInHijab is also being used on social media. Today, ODARA will be visiting Birmingham City University to attend their World Hijab Day event, organised by the BCU Pakistan Society. After all, WHD is all about building bridges and making connections in our wonderfully diverse, multi-faith and multicultural country.
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