The Durban-based Caring Sisters Network have launched their 2019 hijaab campaign that joins women in 140 countries around the world for World Hijaab Day on Friday, 1 February. The campaign was launched not only for Muslim people to highlight their code of dress, but is also aimed in educating people of all religion about the hijab. In essence, “hijaab” is a word used for a scarf worn by Muslim women to cover their heads and hair according to Islamic principles. The CSN adopted the World Hijab Day concept in 2017 and see it as an opportunity to educate and empower South Africans about the hijab thereby breaking down misconceptions about women who wear the traditional hijab.
“The day will focus on building bridges of friendships, promoting mutual tolerance and understanding, said chairperson of the CSN Yasiera Mohamed Suliman. World Hijaab Day was founded by New York resident and social activist Nazma Khan, who came up with the idea as a means of fostering religious tolerance and understanding by also inviting women of all faiths to experience the hijab for one day. Khan is a Bangladeshi native who migrated to the United States at the age of just 11. She was constantly bullied throughout school as a result of being from a religious minority within the US.
“World Hijab Day was created to encourage women of all religious and cultural sensitivities to wear the hijab in support of Muslim women, especially at this present time of increasing Islamophobia and the shift towards right wing fundamentalism in many parts of the world,’’said Suliman. She said that women wearing the hijab for one day in solidarity and empathy would give an idea of the harassment, discrimination and obstacles that many Muslim women might face.
“For World Hijab Day 2018, CSN collected scarves and distributed to the less fortunate sisters who choose to wear the hijab, whether Muslim or people from other faiths.
This will give us an opportunity to interact with the diversity that characterises South African society whether it be a sister in the township or a refugee living in an apartment in the CBD or previously-privileged women from the suburbs,” Suliman said. Caring Sisters Network is a non-profit philanthropic and educational women’s organisation that focuses on relief, social welfare, women and youth empowerment and education with special attention to the development of township communities.
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