CAIRO/PARIS — The gruesome murder of a hijab-clad Egyptian woman by a German racist last week is continuing to send shockwaves among Muslims, while inspiring many to make a stand. A proposal put forward by a reader for a World Hijab Day to mark the death of Marwa Al-Sherbini drew immediate support from around the world.
“We are throwing our weight behind this proposal,” says Abeer Pharaon, the chair of the Assembly for the Protection of Hijab.
“Sherbini is not only a hijab martyr but also a victim of Islamophobia, from which European Muslims are suffering,” she stressed.
“Her death deserves to be commemorated and marked as a World Hijab Day.”
Sherbini, 32, was stabbed to death by a 28-year German of Russian origin in a courtroom in the eastern city of Dresden on Wednesday, July 1.
He stabbed her 18 times before the pregnant woman was to testify against him for insulting her for wearing hijab.
Sherbini’s husband, who was preparing to discuss his Masters next month, was also injured when he tried to intervene to protect her.
The despicable crime sparked calls for action in defense of Hijab, an obligatory code of dress that every Muslim woman must wear.
One reader suggested marking the tragic death of the young woman with a special day on which Muslim women across the world would take to the streets to defend their dress code.
“We are supporting the proposal,” Rawa Al-Abed, an official in the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, told AboutIslam.
“We are also calling for organizing more events to raise awareness about the rights of Muslim women in Europe, including wearing hijab.”
Many Muslims marks the International Hijab Solidarity Day in the first week of September.
The day was launched by the London-based Assembly for the Protection of Hijab (Protect Hijab) in 2004 to protest a French law banning hijab in state schools.
Sherbini was stabbed to death while her husband while wounded injured when he tried to protect her.
Muslim leaders say Sherbini’s murder is a reminder of the prevailing Islamophobia in the West.
“What happened to her is very dangerous,” Sami Dabbah, spokesman for the Coalition Against Islamophobia, told AboutIslam.
He said the Paris-based Coalition has repeatedly wounded the alarm over growing anti-hijab sentiments in the West.
“We had warned that one day we will see a Muslim woman being killed because of her hijab.”
Amina Nusser, professor of theology and philosophy at Al-Azhar University, supports the World Hijab Day proposal.
“It will be a practical response to unjustified enmity to hijab,” she added.
“It will be an opportunity to remind the West of their injustice to Muslim women and will also be a chance to show the West that Islam calls for pluralism.”
Nusser insisted that the requirement for Muslim women to wear modestly is no different from other faiths.
“Christian Orthodox women still wear a veil and modest clothes before entering churches.”
Mohamed Al-Bazzawi, the chairman of the Muslim Association of Denmark, agrees.
“A Hijab Day will remind Westerners that it is Muslim woman’s right to wear what she likes just as non-Muslim women wear what they like,” he said.
“Those who only talk about women’s rights in the West should realize that they should not deny Muslim women the right to wear hijab.”