With the intention of promoting a peaceful world with mutual respect for all cultures, the #StrongInHijab campaign welcomes women of all ethnicities to spread awareness of the unjust discrimination against Muslim women in public places.
In a world where countries have gone so far as to ban Hijabs in public places, stereotypes about Muslims make women wearing hijabs targets of prejudice. Through participating in World Hijab Day (WHD), people of all religions can walk in the shoes of a Muslim woman for a day.
On the WHD website, one Jewish woman, Talya Leodari, shared her experience participating in this awareness day by recalling how people in her hometown mistook her for a Muslim.
“There were some strange looks and people were staring at me – and then looking away quickly when they realized I saw them looking. A few people seemed surprised that I spoke English,” Leodari said. Leodari also remarked that as she endorsed awareness for the religious freedom of another culture, she delighted in teaching her family about respecting everyone regardless of religion.
While controversy regarding whether wearing a Hijab appropriates Islamic cultural tradition plagued our campus leading up to WHD, the Muslim Student Association sponsored the event in order to support religious freedom. Unaware of this purpose, some students based their decision to participate on peer pressure or mockery. Other students found their purpose in supporting the Muslim Student Association.
“I wanted to participate because the Muslim students on campus asked us to participate and support them. I had my doubts initially, but participating in National Hijab Day was what it took to stand in solidarity with my Muslim peers, so that’s why I wore a hijab,” sophomore Paula Mitre said.
Discrimination remains a serious problem in today’s society, but World Hijab Day attempts to bring the world one step closer to respecting the traditions of other religions.