JNN 04 Feb 2015 Cairo : As the clock ticks towards the launch of the World Hijab Day event, several Muslim organizations across the world announced plans to mark the event with several activities to raise awareness about the Islamic headscarf.
“At this worldwide event, we will encourage Muslim and Non-Muslim women to wear hijab, and experience life of a Hijabi woman for a day,” Disu Kamor, Executive Chairman of the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) Nigeria, told Cajnews Africa on Friday, January 30.
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, according to the global event organizers.
In Nigeria the MPAC, along with more than 10 Islamic organizations, will mark the event to highlight the significance of hijab in Islam and promote religious harmony in the West African country.
“Many Nigerian Muslim women will mark the occasion of the World Hijab Day to reflect on the situation that exists for them: the unwarranted hostility and discrimination they and their daughters have to suffer for making the free choice to put a piece of cloth on their heads,” Kamor said.
Several Nigerian women organizations, like the Coalition of Muslim Women in Nigeria, will host similar event as well.
According to Coordinator of the coalition and National Ameera of Women in Dawah, Hajia Maryam Idris Othman, the event aims to encourage Muslim women to defy fears of discrimination and wear hijab.
Muslims make about 40% of the Nigeria’s 140 million population.
From Africa to Asia and Europe, millions of Muslims are expected to mark the hijab day.
In Philippines Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), more than 1,000 veiled women will take part in rally that will tour the streets of Marawi city on February 1.
Sittie Jehanne Mutin, RCBW regional chairperson, said they expect women from all sectors to join the celebration and help “draw attention to the need for women to participate in the political and economic development of Bangsamoro,” Manila Bulletin reported.
Organized by The ARMM’s Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women (RCBW), this year’s event would carry the theme Hijab WALK (Women’s Access to Livelihood ay Karapatan).
With participants form different regions, backgrounds and ethnics, Manila’s event aims to empower Muslim women and underscore their vital role in the society.
The World Hijab Day, held for the third 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.
“My support goes out to all brave women who wear a hijab. Love from Brunswick, Mains! Happy World Hijab Day,” one tweet posted from @WorldHijabDay account said.
“Hijab has taught me that there is more to a woman than just her hair and her skin.There is her mind, character, and her love. #WorldHijabDay,” @Zaynfanforever tweeted..
This year, Khan told reporters she’s hoping to mobilize over 10 million women across the globe.
The successful event saw the hashtag #WorldHijabDay trending both on Facebook and Twitter.
“Muslim women wearing #Hijab You proved that women can truly be so brave as well as beautiful deep inside,” Egyptian thinker Fadel Soliman tweeted on Monday.
“Hijab doesn’t cover a woman’s weaknesses,rather it displays the strength built on the love of Allah,” another tweet by TruthCaller added.
The successful event drew support from some officials who decided to show support to their Muslim community.
One photo posted on WHD page showed Melissa Blake, mayor of the Wood Buffalo, Alberta (Canada) while putting on a hijab to participate in WHD. The photo was accompanied with a “Thank you!” message from moderators of the page.
Other supporters sent their photos in hijab to World Hijab Day official Facebook page. One of them is Ulrika from Sweden.
“We’re from Sweden. My friend always uses Hijab so I really wanted to see what it was like. We went shopping and it didn’t feel strange at all, I liked it. Great initiative on WHD’s part,” she wrote.
Marieke, a non-Muslim from Germany, has also posted her photo in hijab.
“I am a non-Muslim, but I support World hijab day! Hijab is so beautiful. I have so much respect to all women who wear it,” she wrote.
“Covering up should be a free choice! I may not be Muslim or religious but I support the beauty a hijab can bring to a woman,” Freja Lindberg, Denmark, wrote.
Another photo for Keely, another non-Muslim, showed her in her church while donning hijab. “On my way to Church,” Keely wrote.
Robin Tracy, an American Christian, also attended her church on Sunday in a hijab.
“I worshipped in my Presbyterian church this morning, wearing Hijab. This is me with my pastor, who has been very supportive of my participation in WHD, even asking how he can support & celebrate WHD as a man,” she wrote.