Since Ummahsonic began a few years back, we’ve always been drawn to stories about strong Muslim women. We’ve profiled activists, athletes, politicians and war heroes. We’ve hyped up big name vloggers and next-big-thing artists. We’ve featured mums, sisters and breadwinners. All of them women, all of them Muslim.
Most recently, we wrote a blog on Muslim Sisterhood, a photo project about ‘normal Muslim girls who aren’t bloggers, fashionistas or “stereotype breakers”.’ It reminded us that you don’t have to be a name to command our attention.
As we write this, normal Muslim women in Iran are causing the world to sit up and take note. They are protesting the country’s mandatory hijab laws by putting their veils on sticks and waving them in the middle of busy streets, risking arrest and even imprisonment.
Iranian women put their scarves on sticks in the middle of busy streets, as a peaceful protest to mandatory Hijab laws. We have been fighting this unfair law for three decades, slowly but consistently. We fought and we pushed back. And this is where we are today. pic.twitter.com/cwNOiykTUp
— Negar (@NegarMortazavi) January 29, 2018
Today marks World Hijab Day, which recognises the millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab. First celebrated on 1 February 2013, the day aims to foster religious understanding by inviting women (non-Hijabi Muslims and non-Muslims) to experience the hijab for one day.
We firmly believe that hijabs are a symbol of faith, not oppression, and wearing one – or not wearing one – is a choice that should have no bearing on your religious conviction.
Regarding the Hijab protest in Iran, we feel that Muslim journalist Hend Amry (who wears a hijab) offered the best take on the situation:
As a Muslim woman who wears hijab, I support this protest 100%. There is no compulsion in faith. https://t.co/4qdEIJn8eC
— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) January 29, 2018
Amry is absolutely right. There is no compulsion in faith. Forcing a woman to wear a hijab is wrong, hence the bravery of the women protesting in Iran.
But by and large, some Muslim women choose to wear the hijab, some don’t; and whether they do or do not is no reflection on their connection to God.
So happy World Hijab Day to all our sisters; to those who wear one and to those who don’t. You all rock.