Muslim women: 'We are not limited because we wear a hijab'

Muslim women: 'We are not limited because we wear a hijab'

"Being veiled does not mean we (Muslim women) are not empowered. Like any other woman, we can be very eloquent and smart.”

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - "Being veiled does not mean we (Muslim women) are not empowered. Like any other woman, we can be very eloquent and smart.”

This was the statement of Anak Mindanao Partylist representative Sitti Turabin-Hataman as she opened the Dare to Cover event in the Philippines' House of Representatives (HoR) on Wednesday, January 29, ahead of the World Hijab Day on Saturday, February 1.

The event is meant to highlight that women, regardless of what they wear, should be treated equally; and be respected for their choices. In many places around the world, Muslim women experience unwaranted hostility and discrimination because they choose to cover their head with the traditional hijab or veil.

“Contrary to what other people believe, Muslim women are not limited because we wear a hijab. A hijab makes us better Muslims and better individuals,” Hataman said in a mix of Filipino and English.

The World Hijab Day was started by New York-based hijabi Nazma Khan who believed the only way to end discrimination against Muslim women was to ask other women to experience wearing the hijab themselves. On February 1, celebrations of the day will occur in 116 countries.

Non-Muslim members of the HoR also joined the celebration and pledged to wear the hijab for a day. Among them was Camarines Sur 3rd district representative Leni Robredo who said she felt “privileged” to wear the veil.

“People wearing a hijab trust you enough to ask you to wear what they’re wearing. That’s where the happiness comes from – to experience how it is to be in their shoes,” Robredo said.

Robredo added that women wearing a hijab should not be looked down upon but should be treated the same way as other women.

“This (event) is one way of pushing for more education on women wearing hijabs. It is a way of pushing for more religious tolerance and respect for women,” she added.

Will you wear a hijab?

On Saturday, February 1, non-Muslim women around the world will wear a hijab to end discrimination against Muslim women. Hataman encouraged Filipino women to join the campaign to promote peace and religious tolerance.

Filipino Muslims will hold the celebration in Quezon City Circle from 6am to 9am. Non-Muslims are welcome to attend.

“World Hijab Day is not just for us Muslim women. We’re asking everyone’s support. It’s also a way of promoting women’s rights and basic human rights,” Hataman said.

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