World Hijab Day Is A Load Of Tripe

*Disclaimer: I wrote this back in 2015. I still believe this to be true, especially after the horrifying campaign Middlesex Uni SU have recently devised, titled Walk In Her Scarf , which basically allows non-Muslim white women to act as though they support the struggles of Muslim women. However, and funnily, chances are, they don’t stand in solidarity with Muslim women in the past, so why now? It’s stupid.* 

Every year on the 1st of February, it’s known as the so called ‘World Hijab Day’.

Immediately, you think it’s a good thing, people going round wearing a headscarf to see what it feels like, but there is something about this that I find distressing. I’m not a fan of ‘World Hijab Day’ and here’s why.

Firstly, appropriation. Muslim women wearing the hijab is something that is highly criticised, from Islamophobes to so called ‘liberal’ feminists. There seems to be a notion that women who wear the Hijab are subject to oppression and misogyny. So are all these labels dropped for a day just to see what it’s like to have a piece of cloth over your head? Suddenly, you’re praised. You’re championed as brave, courageous, curious, whilst those who wear it on a daily basis for religious purposes, THE ACTUAL REASON YOU WEAR IT FOR, are constantly harassed.

Why is this?

Why should it be okay that someone who isn’t a Muslim wear a hijab for a day and get praised?

Last year in the UK, a Muslim woman was murdered for wearing the full Islamic dress. Murdered. Some are constantly abused for covering their heads, and some need to choose between wearing the hijab and financial SECURITY. This ISN’T RIGHT. If we live in a liberal, progressive society, why are this happening and how are people getting away with it? It isn’t okay at all, and events such as World Hijab Day perpetuate this hugely.

Secondly, the Hijab is way more than a fashion accessory that you wear just for a day. By wearing something as symbolic as the hijab just for ONE day, you’re not really learning anything. You will not fully understand the purpose of why the hijab is worn. That’s just impossible. Wearing the hijab requires both dedication and getting used too. You will not achieve your desired aim in just 24 hours. Going around town to see what people will say about you doesn’t prove anything. If you really want to know what it’s like to wear a Hijab, ask a woman who wears one.

I understand that this campaign was first established to serve good, and to perhaps educate people about issues surrounding the Hijab and celebrating those who decide to wear the Hijab, but I feel that there are some issues that people (particularly Muslims) do not want to confront, hence brushed under the carpet. This won’t solve the problem. What people need to understand is that wearing the Hijab is a very personal matter for a Muslim woman, a lot get

bashed for not wearing it (which really isn’t your business) and some get slammed for not wearing it properly (once again, none of your business). It’s a deeply sensitive issue, and I think that this one day event is more detrimental than encouraging, because these issues that people just don’t want to speak about are directly under the spotlight. Perhaps it’s about time that we all spoke about this, openly and honestly. It’s about time we confronted our critics about this properly, rather than this one day business which in my mind doesn’t serve any real impact or purpose. Dialogue and rational thought is the way forward, not more abuse and appropriation.

Regardless about what I feel about ‘World Hijab Day’, solidarity to all those who wear the hijab and those who don’t!

World Hijab Day is complete and utter bullshit.

 

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Rahma Hussein is a second year History student at King’s College, London. 

Cover art

 

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I RISE Magazine is an online platform dedicated to showcasing the stories, talents and trials of women of colour and non-binary people of colour in educational institutions. Our aim is to collectively represent, lead the way and inspire ourselves and future generations.

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