Women of all faiths, creeds and cultures are invited to wear a Hijab on World Hijab Day, 1st of February.
World Hijab Day calls on non-Muslim women to try out life under the traditional head scarf. Can it lead to more religious tolerance and understanding?
Begun by New York woman Nazma Khan, the movement has been organised almost solely over social networking sites. It has attracted interest from Muslims and non-Muslims in more than 50 countries across the world.
Khan came to the U.S. from Bangladesh at age 11 and was the only hijabi in her middle school.
“Growing up in the Bronx … I experienced a great deal of discrimination due to my hijab,” she says on the site. “In middle school, I was ‘Batman’ or ‘ninja’. When I entered the university after 9/11, I was called Osama bin Laden or a terrorist. It was awful. I figured the only way to end discrimination is if we ask our fellow sisters to experience hijab themselves.”
Khan’s goal is to have 1 million participants worldwide.
For many people, the hijab is a symbol of oppression and divisiveness. It’s a visible target that often bears the brunt of a larger debate about Islam in the West.
World Hijab Day is designed to counteract these controversies. It encourages non-Muslim women (or even Muslim women who do not ordinarily wear one) to don the hijab and experience what it’s like to do so, as part of a bid to foster better understanding.
Outsiders see the hijab as “a symbol of oppression and segregation,” organizers say. “By opening up new pathways to understanding, she hopes to counteract some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab.”
What:World Hijab Day
When:1 February 2014
Where: All over the World
Cost: One Hijab
World Hijab Day, 1 February 2014