Women unite for World Hijab Day
Source: Al Jazeera
By Saba Aziz
Growing up in the Bronx in New York City with a hijab covering her head, Nazma Khan says she is all too familiar with religious discrimination from a young age.
The Bangladesh native migrated to the United States at the age of 11 and was constantly bullied throughout middle and high school.
The bullying took on another level after the deadly coordinated attacks of September 11, 2001.
“Every day, I would face different challenges just walking on the street,” she told Al Jazeera. “I was chased, spit on, surrounded by men, called a terrorist, Osama bin Laden, etc.”
To connect with others who were facing similar challenges because of their head covering, Khan invited Muslim women to share their experiences of discrimination on social media.
“As I read through the stories, I saw my own struggles in my sisters,” the 35-year-old said.
That is when Khan decided to launch the World Hijab Day (WHD).
Each year on February 1, Khan’s non-profit organisation invites females of all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities to wear the hijab for a day in solidarity with Muslim women worldwide.
The hijab is a headscarf worn by Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion.
“By walking in my shoes for one day on February 1, women would see that I am no different from them,” the president and founder of the World Hijab Day Organisation explained.
“Perhaps, this one day experience will make them see the hijab in a different light. Since its inception in 2013, more than 70 global ambassadors from over 45 countries have been involved and women from around 190 countries participate in the annual event.