“Growing up in the Bronx, in NYC, I experienced a great deal of discrimination due to my hijab, ‘she reflects. ‘In middle school, I was ‘Batman’ or ‘ninja’. When I entered University after 9/11, I was called Osama bin laden or terrorist. It was awful. I figured the only way to end discrimination is if we ask our fellow sisters to experience hijab themselves,” Khan shared on the World Hijab Day official website.
While the movement itself has received criticism from some for treating the hijab as a fashion accessory, others have applauded the movement for giving space to hijab-wearing women who consistently face systemic and faith-based oppression. An estimated 190 countries take part in the movement each year.
In efforts to reclaim #WorldHijabDay as France and other countries dismiss the hijab and ban it, social media has given birth to the hashtag #DressednotOppressed. Muslim women across the world are posting photos and sharing their stories of why they believe wearing the hijab empowers them.
Women are arguing that if it is their body and their choice, then why does that mentality not apply to wearing the hijab? If they have the right to wear whatever they like, why is liberty equated with wearing less and oppression with wearing more?
Of course, it goes without saying that like any other religion or practice, abuse is present. But labeling the hijab as oppressive because some spaces and people force women into it diminishes the narrative of those women who wear it by choice as a form of empowerment. Check out this story to see some reasons why women wear the hijab and are proud to show it off on World Hijab Day.