CAIRO – Marking the fourth annual hijab day, millions of women across the globe donned the Islamic headwear on Monday, February 1st, in recognition of millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty.
“Happy World Hijab Day everyone! Thanks @NazmaHKhan for giving us this gift – 116 countries celebrating @WorldHijabDay #WHD16 #ymm #diversity,” the event official page on Twitter posted.
“Happy World Hijab Day to my Hijab wearing ladies, who can wear it with liberation, by choice and for love,” another posted.
On February 1, millions Muslim and non-Muslim women wearing a traditional Islamic head scarf will march on the streets of 116 countries to mark the third anniversary of World Hijab Day.
The World Hijab Day, held for the fourth consecutive year, is the brain child of a New York resident, Nazma Khan, who came up with the idea as a means to foster religious tolerance and understanding.
Suggesting the event, Khan wanted to encourage non-Muslim women to don the hijab and experience it before judging Muslim women.
She also saw the event as a best chance to counteract some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab.
The event received official support in US from Assemblyman David Weprin who issued a statement in support of ‘World Hijab Day’.
“With hate crimes against Muslim-Americans tripling in 2016, it is important we take this moment to stand together with our fellow Americans on World Hijab Day,” Weprin wrote.
Rooted in the American principles of religious freedom and liberty, the World Hijab Day movement seeks to end the discrimination and judgement that comes with wearing a Hijab.”
On social media websites, support for the international event poured from across the world.
“One day I was asked in Morocco why I was wearing headscarf though I am not a Muslima. I answered that this is my way to respect their culture. This was a big surprise for them,” Csilla Nelli Gyöngyösi said in a post on the event official page on Facebook.
“Respect First and after that demand respect. Greetings from Hungary,” she added, posting her photo in hijab.
“I support WHD because everyone in the world deserves to be allowed to be who she is without fear,” Fawn, who identified herself as an American atheist, said.
“Everyone deserves to be treated equally with or without hijab. It’s time to end religious discrimination,” Veronica, a Buddhist from Cambodia, added.
The founder of the event has also shared her thoughts on the event on its fourth anniversary.
“With the political and social climate today, we need a movement that unites us instead of dividing us because of ignorant rhetoric. Only when we walk in the shoes of others can we truly understand and appreciate their values and struggles,” Nazma Khan said.
“My hope for this day is that it promotes peace, tolerance and coexistence – which, sadly, our world is in desperate need of.”
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.