People from more than 150 countries celebrated today as World Hijab Day, an annual day held to raise awareness about the traditional Muslim covering. Its annual online conference hosted by World Hijab Day the organization, featured speakers from twelve countries including the US and UK.
‘World Hijab Day’ falls every year on Feb.1, and seeks to encourage women to wear the Muslim head covering and even educate others on its purpose in countering Islamophobia and Hijabophobia.
This day was first celebrated in 2013, by a Bangladeshi-born New York resident Nazma Khan, who mentioned in her TEDx talk that she was bullied for donning the hijab and was even mocked as a “ninja” and “batman.” Khan designated the day to inspire women across the globe to adopt a life of modesty or support those who did so.
European countries such as France have moved to ban the hijab in multiple instances despite the head-gear being a symbolic gesture of the Muslim faith for women. The European Union Court of Justice has also declared that EU member states exercise full authority to ban the wearing of the hijab in workplaces and public schools.
Belgium, for example, prohibited women from wearing headscarves or any religious symbols at their workplaces. French Education Minister Gabriel Attal banned young women from wearing abayas, which are long, loose robes, at schools.
“You enter a classroom, and you must not be able to identify the religious identity of students just by looking at them,” Attal had said during an interview with a French television network.
The hijab has continuously sparked controversy in France, following recent discussions on prohibiting its use during this year’s upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, causing global outrage across the globe.
In light of the political backdrop with Israel’s war on Gaza, as well as an uptick in Islamophobic incidents across the US, World Hijab Day placed focus on hosting workshops on Muslim culture at educational institutions and workplaces to help foster “an environment of safety within schools and workplaces for both Muslim students and professionals.”
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