A piece of cloth. An identity. A symbol.
A hijab is many things. It can be a tool of oppression forced on to women and girls, as seen in the Taliban regime and in Iran, where the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini has ignited uproar against the moral policing of the country.
It can be a ticket to education, as young Muslim girls in Karnataka, India protest in the Supreme Court of their country against a ban on wearing hijab to schools in the state, which fails to recognise that banning the hijab in schools is equivalent to ending the education of thousands of girls from conservative families.
It is a statement of rebellion, by women like Ibtihaj Muhammad and Halima Aden, who proved that the hijab, worn by choice, can be a powerful symbol of empowerment for women to wield a sword and walk the ramp, at every stage from the Olympic Podium to a beauty pageant.
It can be a clarion call for freedom, as young teenage girls in Syrian refugee camps tear it off from their heads- only to be found dead with broken necks the next day.
It can be a quiet yet resounding voice of inclusion, as women in multiple European corporate companies ask why they cannot wear a hijab to their workplace, questioning vague answers of “uniformity” and “non-discrimination”.
A mere piece of cloth. A fundamental question of individual autonomy. Of choice and identity. Of liberty and inclusivity.
Join us as we collect the stories of Muslim women across the world, on what it means to them, why they choose to wear or not wear it; join us as we dispel myths around it, and highlight the importance of multiple stories.
Saundarya D Nair – #PlugInTheWorld member