#WorldHijabDay v. #NoHijabDay
Let’s Choose Sides
We could ignore February 1 and just wait for Groundhog Day on February 2. Or we could choose sides in a high stakes contest that affects the freedom of women around the world. World Hijab Day began in 2013 to encourage Muslim women who did not wear the hijab to wear one for a day in hopes that they would continue to do so. Non-Muslim women were encouraged to wear one to show solidarity with Muslim women.
In 2018, Yasmine Mohammed coined #NoHijabDay. Her goal is to encourage people to publicly support women around the world who want to be able to live without the hijab. For some of these women, Sharia is the basis for all law, and being in public without the hijab can result in prison sentences; for others the consequence is “just” ostracism from family members, being disowned, or, in extreme cases, honor killing.
Those of us who live outside the world of Islam have three options on February 1. We can ignore it, since the hijab is “not our problem.” We could support World Hijab Day, the goal of which is to get more women to live behind the veil. Or, we could show solidarity with women around the world who want to be free from the dictates of family, mosque, and states that enforce compulsory hijab.
Yasmine’s memoir is called Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam. She encourages us to think carefully about supporting symbols of misogyny. Instead, she offers us an opportunity to empower women by tweeting and posting about #NoHijabDay.