Today marks the 2nd annual World Hijab Day celebration in recognition of millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab. World Hijab Day was founded by Nazma Khan who came up with the idea as a means of fostering religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women to experience the hijab for one day. Hijab is commonly referred to as the headscarf that Muslim women wear covering their hair, neck and bosom, but it is actually an Arabic word which literally means concealing, screening, cover, or protecting. In Arabic, the term is used to refer to the mandatory (wajib) dress of the Muslim female.
World Hijab Day is in many ways a response to how hijab is seen as a symbol of oppression and segregation to many and it’s founder, Ms. Khan, hopes to counteract some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear hijab. The movement has attracted the interest of Muslims and non-Muslims in over 100 countries worldwide and the interactive website for World Hijab Day provides information about Hijab, personal stories from Hijabis (women who hijab), and ways to get involved.
The Holy Quran says about hijab in Surah 33:59:
"O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, daughters and the believing women that they should draw their outer garments over their persons. That is more proper, so that they may be recognized and not bothered. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
Ms. Khan, a social activist and resident of the United States who came to America from Bangladesh at the age of 11 is familiar with some of the discrimination that Muslim women and girls face when wearing hijab.
She is quoted as having stated:
“Growing up in the Bronx, in NYC, I experienced a great deal of discrimination due to my hijab. When I entered University after 9/11, I was called Osama bin Laden or terrorist. It was awful. I figured the only way to end discrimination is if we ask our fellow sisters to experience hijab themselves.”
World Hijab Day has been endorsed by Carol Lee, Mrs. Universe 2013, Dr. Amina Namadi Sambo, the wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, Mufti Ismail Menk, Dr. Yasir Qadhi, and Sheikh Omar Suleiman. The global movement has been covered by mainstream news media such as BBC, Al-Jazeera, Huffington Post, and many more. This year, Nazma Khan’s aim is to have 1 million participants worldwide and asking for everyone’s support.
Visit the World Hijab Day social networking sites at the links provided below: