– Muslim groups launch Hijab helpline 090-999-44522
– Vow to continue awareness until anti-Hijab assaults stop
Despite theatrics and distractions from the anti-World Hijab Day advocates, 2019 World Hijab Day activities across the world were a huge success, Muslim News’ findings can authoritatively confirm.
The World Hijab Day (WHD), founded in 2013 by Nazma Khan, is marked every February 1 across 145 countries worldwide to encourage women of all religions and backgrounds to wear and experience the Hijab, and also address the incessant harassment of Hijabis.
However, WHD critics – who can be divided into two infinitesimal groups – have always condemned the annual gathering.
The first group constitutes a section of the Nigerian Salafees, who rely only on religious verdicts from some selected scholars who hold that the event is bid’ah (an innovation) and not permissible in Islam.
However, many Muslim scholars, including Sheikh Mufti Menk, Dr Wael Shihab and others disagree, saying it is absurd for anyone to claim that it is bid’ah to promote such good goals of the WHD.
A Chief Lecturer at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Hajia Baseeroh Adenowo faulted the claims that WHD is bid’ah during a peaceful awareness rally held today in the Ojo area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
In a chat with Muslim News, she said: “The people who might have referred to this World Hijab Day as bid’ah may say so because the Prophet (SAW) didn’t celebrate it, but he taught us to enlighten people about Islam.
“What we’re doing right now is the creation of awareness of what the Hijab means, its beauty, and moral values for Muslim women and the entire society. So it isn’t bid’ah but a means to educate other people”, she stated.
The second group, led by Yasmine Mohammed, an ex-feminist launched #nohijabday on Twitter to celebrate women who have defied scripture, censure and the state to remove the Hijab.
Despite mobilising secular, liberal and free thinking Muslims against the Hijab, which they described as a symbol of fundamentalist Islam, millions of Muslims and non-Muslims across 145 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada participated in the 2019 edition, held on Friday, February 1.
Unlike previous years, anti-WHD Salafi activism on social media has reduced during the 2019 edition.
Many analysts attributed the situation to the controversies that greeted the invitation and subsequent musical performance of US pop star, Mariah Carey in Saudi Arabia, the home of modern day Salafi-Wahhabism.
Many Salafee netizens who would have criticised the WHD were yet to recover from the shock of seeing the “Touch my body” crooner rolling and rocking it live in their self-styled “Land of Tawheed”, and just a few kilometres shy of the sacred Mecca, on Thursday, January 31.
That day also happened to be exactly a day to the WHD, when millions of Muslims across the world were preparing for the auspicious occasion, in solidarity with the oppressed Muslim females in Hijab.
In Nigeria, prominent Muslim organisations were not left out as they staged different education and enlightenment programmes in Ogun, Kwara, Edo, Lagos states and the FCT, Nigeria’s capital, to address the incessant harassment of Muslim females in HIjab.
Muslim News, Nigeria’s most authoritative Islamic newspaper, had several correspondents on the ground to cover the series of press conferences organised by Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women Organisation), MSSN Lagos State Area Unit and Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, among other organisations who raised concerns over the abuse of Muslim women.
They all saw the event as a potent tool to create global awareness about Hijab victimisation in Nigeria, which is on the rise, despite the Appeal Court judgement that okayed the use of the Hijab.
The WHD2019 climaxed with a mother of all rallies held today, simultaneously in three venues – Maryland to Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota Roundabout, Bus Stop Otto to Cele Bus Stop Ijanikin, and from Joju Roundabout to Sango Roundabout.
The Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Nasrul-lahi-li-Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), and Organisation of Tadhamunul Muslimeen (OTM) also joined Al-Mu’minaat and MSSN Lagos for the rally.
The aggrieved Muslims, at the rally, displayed placards and boards with inscriptions promoting the acceptance of the use of Hijab in Lagos State and Nigeria.
The groups vowed that advocacy against molestation of Hijabis, especially among secondary schools students and staff of establishments will continue even after the WHD, until their girls, wards and women are free to use the religious attire.
Barrister Mutiat Orolu-Balogun of Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative thereafter launched a Hijab hotline, where cases of molestation and assault against Hijabis can be reported henceforth.
According to her, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative and Muslim Public Affairs Centre, in collaboration with the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) and other groups such as the Muslim Students’ society of Nigeria, launched the Hijab helpline to properly coordinate, document and resolve such anti-Hijab issues.
The hotline be reached on 090-999-HIJAB ( 090-999-44522).
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