LONDON: Folks in additional than 150 international locations celebrated World Hijab Day on Thursday with occasions designed to counter hijabophobia via raised consciousness and improved training concerning the conventional Muslim head protecting.
The headline occasion hosted by the World Hijab Day group, which is predicated 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 various views on the difficulty.
“This yr, we’ve collaborated with impactful companions just like the New York Police Division to boost consciousness concerning the significance of the hijab,” organizers advised Arab Information.
“The matters 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 concentrate on the worldwide Muslim group) to boost 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 via the theme #VeiledInStrength. By fostering a way of resilience and confidence, we purpose 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 purpose of recognizing the thousands and thousands of Muslim ladies who select to put on a hijab and dwell a lifetime of modesty.
The group stated frequent myths and ill-informed attitudes concerning the hijab embody “misconceptions about Muslim ladies’s company, intelligence or perceived oppression.”
It added: “Challenges come up in numerous spheres, such because the office or instructional establishments, the place bias might influence alternatives.
“This yr, a noticeable pattern 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 variety in skilled settings.”
As perceptions and views about Muslim ladies have began to vary lately and Islamic international locations are more and more opening as much as the world, elevated consciousness and training offered by initiatives corresponding to World Hijab Day, contribute to “dispelling stereotypes (and) fostering larger understanding,” the group stated.
“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 various communities to additional elevate consciousness and promote a optimistic narrative.”
For this yr’s occasion, World Hijab Day stated it was inserting a specific concentrate on internet hosting workshops on Muslim tradition at instructional establishments and workplaces, with the purpose of addressing Islamophobia and serving to to foster “an setting of security inside colleges and workplaces for each Muslim college students and professionals.”
The group added: “Muslim hijabi ladies contribute considerably to numerous points of life, together with the tutorial sector, political sector, medical sector, legislation enforcement and plenty of different sectors.
“In lots of international locations, efforts are made to advertise their integration. As an illustration, in america, Muslim ladies sporting the hijab actively take part in colleges, politics, sports activities and different workplaces, breaking obstacles and fostering inclusivity.
“Equally, international locations like the UK and Canada … showcase examples of profitable integration, emphasizing the significance of variety 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 stated she was proud to have damaged new floor on this approach.
“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 women who make their very own alternative, no matter that alternative is,” she stated.
“In a time of rising Islamophobia, I hope World Hijab Day is usually a day for dialog and dialogue concerning the selections we make and respecting the appropriate of girls to make their very own alternative right this moment.”
World Hijab Day organizers stated funds raised throughout this yr’s occasion might be used to develop instructional supplies to be used throughout future World Hijab Day celebrations worldwide and on-line; enhance the group’s social media presence; host instructional 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 Enchantment was one of many organizations collaborating within the World Hijab Day celebrations.
“At the present time serves as a reminder of the non-public freedom of spiritual expression and cultural understanding” by “inviting ladies from all walks of life to expertise sporting the hijab for sooner or later yearly,” it stated.
“On this World Hijab Day, Penny Enchantment 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 without doubt one of 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 world wide,” the charity added.
“Many individuals assume 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 id,” Wallace-Laher stated.
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 attempt it, saying: “You don’t actually perceive any person till you place your self of their footwear.
“It could be a chance to attempt it and see how you are feeling, and very often it’s truly fairly liberating.”