In the last few weeks, the world has witnessed a major shift in the way the Hijab is understood. Whilst the concept of banning the hijab remains to be a hot story in the press over time, the world has recently seen a different take on the topic.
Support and solidarity have always been there for Muslim women and the hijab. In March 2019, a week after the Christchurch terror attack in New Zealand, we witnessed the growth of the hashtag, #scarvesinsolidarity.
Non-Muslim women from around the world joined the movement to show their love and support for the Muslim lives that were taken. Whilst this type of support may be empowering to a certain extent, it lacks a voice and has no substance. The reality is, and always will be, that speaking up against oppression and injustice is the most progressive way of doing things.
Recent events have shaken the world. In the southern Indian state of Karnataka, there is now a ban on hijab in colleges which has left many students missing school as they stand up and attempt to boycott this ban. But not so many of them have dared to do this. With the fear of missing out on their education, many hijab-wearing Muslim girl students chose to abandon their hijab outside the school gates. Of course, this naturally resulted in a major uproar on social media, with many using their voices to refer to this whole situation as ‘shocking’, ‘humiliating’, and ‘too painful to watch.
Due to the gravity of the issue, celebrities have been using their social media platforms to raise awareness around the topic. With attention from around the world, notable voices have helped in restoring some of the lost hope experienced by many hijab-wearing Muslim women worldwide. Manchester United Star, Paul Pogba took to Instagram earlier this month to share a story about the tragic incident with over 50 million of his followers. A step in the right direction, this triggered many others to speak out against the situation.
Whilst this was a bold and courageous move, others took the concept of solidarity to a whole new level. American supermodel Bella Hadid decided to attend the New York Fashion Week donning a head covering to highlight the importance of the matter and to show support for the current issues in India. This will perhaps be recorded as a bittersweet moment in the history of all-things-hijab; whilst the world was celebrating head coverings in America, hijab-wearing Muslim women were persecuted in places like India and New Zealand. But Bella Hadid was doing this intentionally. She went further and explained her thoughts on Instagram by posting, “It’s not your job to tell women whether or not they can STUDY or PLAY SPORTS, ESPECIALLY when it is pertaining to their faith and safety.”
Her solidarity didn’t stop at one post. After a hijabi girl named Hoda was attacked and beaten in New Zealand at her school, Bella Hadid took to Instagram and posted the following;
“It makes me angry and sick to my stomach. we need to change this mindset of immediate judgement. teach our friends, children, parents, families that wearing a hijab, being Muslim, or being anything other than white in general, does not equal being a threat or different from anyone else. Teach them to love before hate. To educate before judgement. To protect before bullying,”.
The hijab problem is an ever-growing problem. It seems that much of this is closely related to Islamophobic rules and policies in place in India, France and other countries, where hijab-wearing Muslim women are being attacked daily. Whilst it’s great that the matter was addressed by several celebrities, it does not remove the importance of anyone and everyone speaking up against the injustice.
By Juber Ahmed
Main image credit – Bella Hadid Instagram