The 1st of February marks World Hijab day.
Celebrating the hijab around the world is not something that hinders women, but is a source of ultimate devotion, love and faith.
Does this mean that it’s never challenging to wear a hijab? Of course not. Wearing the hijab, like anything, is a journey.
This is exactly the reason Nazma Khan coined World Hijab day.
Having moved to America from Bangladesh, she faced a lot of islamophobic rhetoric due to her hijab.
However, she stood firm in her beliefs and chose the headscarf every day despite the difficulties she faced. Her experience is what ultimately led her to create a Facebook group in 2013, titled “World Hijab Day”.
She wanted to create a platform where people could share their experiences with the hijab and support one another.
Ms Khan said it also provided the opportunity for non-hijabis and non-Muslims to walk “in my shoes for one day.”
Mushaan Jamsheid, co-ordinator of trust building forum, HumanKind, shared her journey with the hijab.
‘Growing up in the west it has always been challenging to practice my faith and my culture.
If you asked me 2 years ago about wearing a hijab, I would have spoken about how I had been thinking about it. Yet, it had always been just a thought; I hadn’t actually attempted to wear one.
The fear of being isolated by the community around me had always gripped me. “What if people dislike me”, “What if I don’t fit in?”
When I would catch public transport I would thank the bus driver loudly so they would know that I’m friendly and I would look at others and smile, just to show them that I am harmless.
My biggest fear has always been that what if one day I get attacked?
It was daunting enough to think that as a woman walking home at 7 in the evening would I be safe. Now it’s being a woman in hijab that walks home in the evening. This continues to worry me.
I realised that to be confident in who I really am, I needed to practice my faith. I found many things about Islam that inspired me. Previously, I lacked knowledge of what Islam teaches.
Now I have been wearing my hijab for 3 months and am very confident in the woman I have become. This has helped me grow as a Muslim woman.
The hijab is my identity and without my identity, I just exist and nothing more.
The hijab makes me feel complete and safe, I am beautiful and empowered and now I can say I am proud to wear the hijab!’
Muskaan took to the streets of Nottingham with her faith ambassadors to challenge people’s perceptions of the hijab, and to give people an opportunity to wear the headscarf.