LONDON: Individuals in additional than 150 nations celebrated World Hijab Day on Thursday with occasions designed to counter hijabophobia by means of raised consciousness and improved schooling concerning the conventional Muslim head masking.
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 nations — Egypt, the US, the UK, Syria, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada and Mexico — who offered their numerous 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 differ, reflecting the evolving discussions aligned with the altering world. Moreover, we’re enhancing transparency by teaming up with Launchgood (a crowdfunding platform with a selected deal with the worldwide Muslim group) to boost funds, guaranteeing organizational progress 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 means of the theme #VeiledInStrength. By fostering a way of resilience and confidence, we purpose to problem stereotypes and promote a deeper understanding of the energy inherent in those that select to put on the hijab.”
World Hijab Day, which is well known on Feb. 1 annually, was based in New York by Bangladeshi American Nazma Khan in 2013 with the purpose of recognizing the hundreds of thousands of Muslim girls who select to put on a hijab and stay a lifetime of modesty.
The group mentioned widespread myths and ill-informed attitudes concerning the hijab embody “misconceptions about Muslim girls’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 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 better inclusivity and acknowledgment of the importance of cultural range in skilled settings.”
As perceptions and views about Muslim girls have began to alter lately and Islamic nations 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 better understanding,” the group mentioned.
“Organizations, together with these advocating for Muslim girls’s rights, are adapting to altering occasions by leveraging social media, organizing inclusive occasions, and collaborating with numerous communities to additional increase consciousness and promote a optimistic narrative.”
For this yr’s occasion, World Hijab Day mentioned it was putting a selected deal with internet hosting workshops on Muslim tradition at academic establishments and workplaces, with the purpose of addressing Islamophobia and serving to to foster “an atmosphere of security inside faculties and workplaces for each Muslim college students and professionals.”
The group added: “Muslim hijabi girls contribute considerably to numerous features of life, together with the tutorial sector, political sector, medical sector, legislation enforcement and lots of different sectors.
“In lots of nations, efforts are made to advertise their integration. As an example, in the USA, Muslim girls sporting the hijab actively take part in faculties, politics, sports activities and different workplaces, breaking limitations and fostering inclusivity.
“Equally, nations 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 turned 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 means.
“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 girls and women who make their very own alternative, no matter that alternative is,” she mentioned.
“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 proper of girls to make their very own alternative right this moment.”
World Hijab Day organizers mentioned funds raised throughout this yr’s occasion will likely 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.
“This present day serves as a reminder of the non-public freedom of spiritual expression and cultural understanding” by “inviting girls from all walks of life to expertise sporting the hijab for someday yearly,” it mentioned.
“On this World Hijab Day, Penny Attraction reaffirms its dedication to empowering girls 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 girls to steer a global humanitarian charity.”
She was appointed to the place lower than a yr in the past and “has since grow to be a beacon of empowerment and inspiration for Muslim girls around the globe,” the charity added.
“Many individuals assume the hijab is oppressive to girls however I’m proof that it’s an empowering piece of clothes that calls for respect and admiration. It’s a signal of energy and identification,” Wallace-Laher mentioned.
You will need to problem the stereotypes and stigmas related to the hijab, she added. She inspired girls who’ve by no means worn one to take the chance to attempt it, saying: “You don’t actually perceive any person till you set your self of their sneakers.
“It could be a possibility to attempt it and see how you’re feeling, and very often it’s really fairly liberating.”