Thousands of Muslim women yesterday paraded the principal streets of Monrovia in celebration of this year’s World Hijab Day (WHD).
February 1, 2013 marked the first annual WHD celebration in recognition of millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a modest life.
The brainchild of this movement is New York resident Nazma Khan, who formulated the idea as a means to foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women, inclusive of non-Hijabi Muslims, to experience the use of the hijab for one day.
Sheikh Issa Issa, the program’s keynote speaker, warned the women against misusing the hijab in a non-Islamic fashion that would undermine its essence.
Accord to the Sheikh, the hijab is one of the good moral virtues that Islam portrays to the world; it also protects Islamic women and girls as good and God fearing people in the sight of others.
For the Muslim, the hijab is not a symbol of oppression and segregation, but one that opens up new pathways to understanding.
Nazma Khan hopes to counteract some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab.
Khan knows exactly what she’s talking about, because the social activist came to Liberia from Bangladesh at age 11, where she found herself being the only Hijabi in middle school.
During the Monrovia program, non Muslim women were given hijabs to wear as a try out and to experience its importance to building a moral society with decent dress codes as societal norms.
The World Hijab Day is annually organized by the Liberia Muslim Women Network (LMW-NET), comprising young Hijabi Muslim women aimed at changing the narrative and perception about the Hijab and encourage a decent dress code.
The network in partnership with other Muslim organizations joined the world to commemorate the day in Liberia on this year’s global theme, “Strong in Hijab” and the national theme, “Strong with Hijab,” demonstrating the strength of women wearing the veil.
This year’s activity was hosted simultaneously in Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount counties.