World Hijab Day

Photo from the BBC

On February 1st, women in more than 50 nations will participate in World Hijab Day. Events are being organized in major cities around the world — including Oklahoma City. World Hijab Day is part cultural appreciation, part religious awareness, part celebration of freedom. You don’t have to be a Muslim to take part.

This will be the second World Hijab Day, actually. The first one in 2013 slipped by us without notice. This year, our attention was grabbed by an email message:

“I am one of two event coordinators for World Hijab Day Oklahoma Joins!

“To give you a quick overview, World Hijab Day was started by a sister in New York for the purpose of fostering awareness and understanding about a topic often times misrepresented. This is a world wide event completely independently ran. In fact myself and the other event coordinator,  have only physically met just once last Ramadan and yet we are jointly coordinating this effort!!

“On Feb. 1st, 2014 Non Muslim and Muslim women in more than 50 countries will wear hijab (Islamic Head covering)  to support the personal freedom to wear of one’s own choice, while creating unity for peace across communities.  WHD has spread through social media like a wild fire,  igniting a wonderful passion for peace and solidarity world wide.

“The motto of WHD is ‘Better Awareness. Greater Understanding. Peaceful World.’ Some countries will have walks, lectures, dinners and we here in Oklahoma City will be having a casual get-together for communities to get to know one another and learn about the historic, cultural and religious roots of the veil.” 

Doing some digging, we learned that World Hijab Day is the brainchild of Nazma Khan, a young woman from New York City who wears a hijab. She writes:

“Growing up in the Bronx, in NYC, I experienced a great deal of discrimination due to my hijab. In middle school, I was ‘Batman’ or ‘ninja’. When I entered University after 9/11, I was called Osama bin laden or terrorist. It was awful. I figured the only way to end discrimination is if we ask our fellow sisters to experience hijab themselves.”

Throughout the last year, Nazma Khan has been invited as a guest speaker at universities, high schools and religious organizations. Her goal this year is to have 1 million participants worldwide.

One of the groups Nazma spoke to was at the Kupferberg Holocaust Center. She felt loved and welcomed by a group of holocaust survivors.

The executive director of the center, Dr. Arthur Flug, endorsed Nazma’s efforts: “World Hijab Day has shown my students a most powerful lesson in accepting individual differences.”

World Hijab Day in Oklahoma City will take place on Saturday, February 1st, from 3 to 5pm:

North West Metropolitan Library — Conference Room B
5600 NW 122nd St.
OKC, OK   73142


To RSVP call: (405) 606-3580 or email: whd.okc@gmail.com

Here’s the pitch from the organizers:

“You are cordially invited to join the world in a Day of Peace and Solidarity.

Photography: Gary Jordan Photography
Credit: WHDTT – World Hijab Day Trinidad & Tobago

“Come experience and enjoy the hijab culture, learn about its historic roots, meanings and meet the women whom wear this famous clothing. All women are invited, both Non-Muslim and Muslim, to join us for this world wide celebration.

“Food / refreshments provided. Families welcome.

“Thank you and we hope to see you there!”

In Oklahoma, we know that proper attire for women must include high heels. And a cowgirl hat. Or running shoes. Or whatever feels good. We’re laid back people who like to practice fashion diversity.

Yet, how many of us have secretly wanted to try on the hijab, but we just didn’t have the nerve? This could be the start of something!

You can read more about World Hijab Day here:

Hijab for a day: Non-Muslim women who try the headscarf
By Catrin Nye

BBC Asian Network
www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21283301

And here:

A day in hijab
Women wear headscarves to promote tolerance on #WorldHijabDay

Al Jazeera
http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201302020052-0022520

And enjoy this 30-second invitation on YouTube:

World Hijab Day Feb. 1st 2014
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rfto9RiGYwE

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