LONDON: Folks in additional than 150 international locations celebrated World Hijab Day on Thursday with occasions designed to counter hijabophobia by raised consciousness and improved schooling concerning the conventional Muslim head protecting.
The headline occasion hosted by the World Hijab Day group, which relies in New York, was its annual on-line convention, which featured audio system from 12 international locations — Egypt, the US, the UK, Syria, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada and Mexico — who introduced their numerous views on the difficulty.
“This yr, we’ve collaborated with impactful companions just like the New York Police Division to lift consciousness concerning the significance of the hijab,” organizers informed Arab Information.
“The subjects fluctuate, reflecting the evolving discussions aligned with the altering world. Moreover, we’re enhancing transparency by teaming up with Launchgood (a crowdfunding platform with a specific deal with the worldwide Muslim group) to lift funds, making certain organizational development for extra impactful initiatives and occasions in comparison with earlier years.
“This yr’s version of World Hijab Day goals to empower and encourage people by the theme #VeiledInStrength. By fostering a way of resilience and confidence, we intention to problem stereotypes and promote a deeper understanding of the power inherent in those that select to put on the hijab.”
World Hijab Day, which is widely known on Feb. 1 every year, was based in New York by Bangladeshi American Nazma Khan in 2013 with the intention of recognizing the hundreds of thousands of Muslim ladies who select to put on a hijab and stay a lifetime of modesty.
The group mentioned frequent myths and ill-informed attitudes concerning the hijab embrace “misconceptions about Muslim ladies’s company, intelligence or perceived oppression.”
It added: “Challenges come up in varied spheres, such because the office or academic establishments, the place bias might affect alternatives.
“This yr, a noticeable development is the elevated curiosity from workplaces, significantly in Europe, in celebrating World Hijab Day, (and) the rising participation from this area signifies a shift towards larger inclusivity and acknowledgment of the importance of cultural range in skilled settings.”
As perceptions and views about Muslim ladies have began to vary in recent times and Islamic international locations are more and more opening as much as the world, elevated consciousness and schooling offered by initiatives resembling World Hijab Day, contribute to “dispelling stereotypes (and) fostering larger understanding,” the group mentioned.
“Organizations, together with these advocating for Muslim ladies’s rights, are adapting to altering instances by leveraging social media, organizing inclusive occasions, and collaborating with numerous communities to additional increase consciousness and promote a constructive narrative.”
For this yr’s occasion, World Hijab Day mentioned it was putting a specific deal with internet hosting workshops on Muslim tradition at academic establishments and workplaces, with the intention of addressing Islamophobia and serving to to foster “an setting of security inside faculties and workplaces for each Muslim college students and professionals.”
The group added: “Muslim hijabi ladies contribute considerably to numerous features of life, together with the tutorial sector, political sector, medical sector, regulation enforcement and lots of different sectors.
“In lots of international locations, efforts are made to advertise their integration. For example, in the USA, Muslim ladies sporting the hijab actively take part in faculties, politics, sports activities and different workplaces, breaking limitations and fostering inclusivity.
“Equally, international locations like the UK and Canada … showcase examples of profitable integration, emphasizing the significance of range and understanding in creating inclusive environments.”
One instance the group gave of this was when, in 2018, politician Salma Zahid grew to become the primary MP to put on a hijab within the Canadian parliament. On Thursday, she mentioned she was proud to have damaged new floor on this method.
“It was a private alternative I made following a well being disaster that introduced me nearer to my religion, and I’ll at all times stand with ladies and ladies who make their very own alternative, no matter that alternative is,” she mentioned.
“In a time of rising Islamophobia, I hope World Hijab Day generally is a day for dialog and dialogue concerning the decisions we make and respecting the best of ladies to make their very own alternative at this time.”
World Hijab Day organizers mentioned funds raised throughout this yr’s occasion will probably be used to develop academic supplies to be used throughout future World Hijab Day celebrations worldwide and on-line; enhance the group’s social media presence; host academic conferences and occasions in workplaces and communities to assist dispel misconceptions concerning the hijab; and to keep up the group’s web site.
UK-based worldwide humanitarian charity Penny Attraction was one of many organizations taking part within the World Hijab Day celebrations.
“At the present time serves as a reminder of the private freedom of spiritual expression and cultural understanding” by “inviting ladies from all walks of life to expertise sporting the hijab for at some point yearly,” it mentioned.
“On this World Hijab Day, Penny Attraction reaffirms its dedication to empowering ladies and selling understanding and inclusion throughout cultures and religions.”
Specifically, it highlighted the achievements of its personal CEO, Ridwana Wallace-Laher, “who is among the first Muslim hijabi ladies to guide a global humanitarian charity.”
She was appointed to the place lower than a yr in the past and “has since change into a beacon of empowerment and inspiration for Muslim ladies around the globe,” the charity added.
“Many individuals suppose the hijab is oppressive to ladies however I’m proof that it’s an empowering piece of clothes that calls for respect and admiration. It’s a signal of power and identification,” Wallace-Laher mentioned.
It is very important problem the stereotypes and stigmas related to the hijab, she added. She inspired ladies who’ve by no means worn one to take the chance to strive it, saying: “You don’t actually perceive anyone till you place your self of their sneakers.
“It is perhaps a possibility to strive it and see how you are feeling, and very often it’s truly fairly liberating.”