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Muslim Women Dress as Superheroes in Hijab

KUALA LUMPUR – Muslim women showcased their love for anime and elaborate costumes at a hijab cosplay event held in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur over the weekend, dressing up as superheroes, princesses, and mighty sword-wielding warriors.

“Some people are sometimes surprised when they see my hijab … but it doesn’t bother me. My friends and my family support me and I also get invited to birthday parties to attend with my costume,” Nur Azlina, a 21-year-old university student, decked out in a “Power Ranger” outfit, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Saturday, April 29.

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“I love cosplay and I get to make new friends here and also in the international cosplay community.”

The event, dubbed Japan Otaku Matsuri, is being held in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur over this weekend at the Summit USJ convention center.

Being the first of its kind in Malaysia, it is aimed at giving a platform to hijab-wearing Muslim ‘cosplayers’ in the predominantly Islamic country.

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According to AFP, around 20 women participated in the event, and were able to creatively incorporate the headscarf into their elaborate costumes.

Cosplay, or costume play, is a hobby where participants dress up as their favorite characters from movies, books, or video games.

The activity is most commonly associated with Japan but has become popular all over the world, especially at fan conventions.

Hijab cosplay, however, is a more recent phenomenon having only become popular in the last few years in the Southeast Asian nation. The movement has been well received within the cosplaying community.

“I support them,” said Raja Muhammad Rusydi, a 20-year-old male cosplay enthusiast who also took part in Saturday’s showcase.

“If they love the character and have the passion, they should do it.”

There was even a cosplay competition at this year’s first ever Comic Con held in Saudi Arabia, with a separate female-only tent for women so they could remove their abayas and show off their costumes.