Hate Crimes against Muslims in the U.S. are on the rise. According to California State University, San Bernardino college professor Brian Levin, there have been 38 anti-Muslim attacks in the U.S. since the deadly November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and 18 of them took place after the San Bernardino (CA) incident where 14 innocent lives were lost and 22 people were injured.
American Muslim population seems to be under scrutiny for crimes committed by extremists in the name of their faith. Muslim women, men and children have been harassed, attacked and their mosques and businesses vandalized.
Muslim women who cover their heads to observe modesty as prescribed by their faith become an easy target of hate and anger since they might appear similar in appearance to one of the San Bernardino attackers, Tashfeen Malik who also covered her head by a piece of fabric commonly called a “hijab”.
“Hijab” is an Arabic word meaning “cover”.
The Holy Qur’an tells women to wear an outer garment and to draw their head coverings over their bosoms. The emphasis is on the body and mind relationship. Therefore, wearing of the outer garment that conceals the woman’s beauty actually veils the heart and shields it from impure thoughts.
However, there is no one type of dress that is compulsory for all Muslim women. The form of the veil adopted varies from country to country.
A few years back a New York resident Nazima Khan initiated “World Hijab Day” on Feb 1, 2013 to create awareness about Muslim practices of modesty and to give non-Muslim women an opportunity to become a “hijabi” for a day (a term coined to describe a Muslim woman who uses a hijab) so that they could understand what it feels like to face persecution and to be discriminated against because of this practice.
In celebration of “World Hijab Day” this year, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association (GA Chapter) has organized an event called, “I Stand With My Muslim Sister” at their mosque Bait-ul Ata (1800 Willow Trail Parkway, Norcross) from 11-12:30 p.m on February 20. This is a women only event and women of all faiths or no faith are welcome to attend this special event.
The organizers hope to build bridges of understanding by not only discussing modesty in Islam but also to talk about similar practices in other faiths and cultures. Peace and harmony in society can only be achieved by finding these commonalities and by accepting the differences.
The hosts also want this event to serve as a support platform for local Muslim women especially youth who might be questioning their choice of wearing a hear covering in wake of fear of persecution. Despite fear or suspicion, it is an opportunity for local women to take a step forward and know their Muslim neighbor who want the world to know that they reject the ideology of terror, hate and extremism since their faith forbids them to create disorder and also that “hijab” is a source of empowerment rather than a symbol of oppression.
The floor will open for a question answer session at the end of the event. Refreshments will be served and they will also have an opportunity to try a “hijab” as well.