On Tuesday, women from 150 countries will celebrate and observe the 10th year of World Hijab Day held on Feb. 1 each year. The Michigan Senate passed a resolution Friday to recognize this day across the state where an estimated 300,000 Muslims live.
State Sen. Stephanie Chang introduced the resolution to the House. She worked with APIA Vote-MI’s Executive Director Rebeka Islam and community members.
World Hijab Day is a day of solidarity, Chang said in a statement.
“This is a day to recognize the millions of Muslim women around the world who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty. It’s also an open invitation to women of all walks of life to wear a hijab and stand in solidarity with Muslim women,” Chang said.
Founder and CEO of World Hijab Day Organization Nazma Khan says she created World Hijab Day and the nonprofit to educate people about hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women to express their faith.
“I founded World Hijab Day back in 2013 after personally being discriminated against for my head covering, also known as the hijab. I wanted to bring awareness and normalize the hijab by inviting women from every background to just to walk in my shoes for a day,” says Khan.
The day was recognized by the State of New York in 2017 by the State Senate. Muslim women often take this day to educate people on when they first began wearing hijab or the struggles of wearing hijab.
This year’s theme is #DressedNotOppressed.
“We talk about women empowerment, yet I am shut down as soon I am seen in my choice of the hijab. You know, and people have to realize that when we label Muslim women as oppressed, their power as women is taken away and that itself to me is oppression,” says Khan.
We talk about women empowerment, yet I am shut down as soon I am seen in my choice of the hijab. You know, and people have to realize that when we label Muslim women as oppressed, their power as women is taken away and that itself to me is oppression.” —Nazma Khan, World Hijab Day Organization
Khan says women’s bodies and hijabs are being policed around the world, including in Europe where the French Parliament recently proposed to ban hijab from sporting events.
She wants people to know that many Muslim women chose to wear the hijab, as a symbol of faith as a spiritual and physical connection to God.
“This is a choice that I made, which I’m very content with. I’m very empowered by my decision. When I put on my hijab, I want people to know that it’s a constant reminder, to be a better person, to be good to others, and be a better member of society. I am an ambassador of Islam. And when I put this job and it’s a huge responsibility to represent my beautiful faith correctly, and I feel truly honored to have given this privilege.”
Headscarves and head coverings are worn by people around the world, from Sikh men who wear turbans to Catholic nuns. Khan says World Hijab Day is a day to come together to build bridges of understanding.