Thursday, January 23, 2014

World Hijab Day 2014

Recently I decided to participate in World Hijab Day. On February 1st, people around the world (non-Muslim, and Muslim alike) wear hijab as a statement against religious discrimination. At least that's how I see it.

After making it known to a few people that I was going to do this, one close friend AND my loverloverman both expressed concern that wearing hijab could be taken as supporting a religion that, in fact, hurts women and forces the veil on them (in some cases.) My friend said the choice to wear hijab, or not, was largely based on geography. This is most likely true, actually. Which is shitty.

But I digress.

These responses (even before putting on a scarf) got me wondering actually why I'm really doing this. After some thoughtful moments in the car on the way home from dropping my daughter off at high school, and several more in my kitchen in my journal, I came up with this:

I would like to support women's rights to wear hijab, if they choose, without religious discrimination and fear for their safety, in the United States, because that is where I live.

Maybe I'm doing it because I can't support the women's right to not wear the veil in places like Saudi Arabia or Sudan, because I'm not there, and I don't know how to support that--except to not wear hijab. But it would look like I wasn't making any statement at all, in that case, because I don't normally wear hijab. Most notably because I'm not Muslim or an Orthodox Jewish woman--nor do I belong to any other religion or culture that covers their hair.

I had a negative experience with organized religion growing up. So much so, that for years and years (a decade) I abhorred organized religion of any kind, and looked upon anyone who would belong to one with disdain, seeing them as mindless zombie sheep with no intelligence or backbone. I lived the quote, "Religion is the crutch of society." I even wrote it on my bedroom ceiling with a black Sharpee so that I saw it every day upon waking and going to sleep each night. That's how disillusioned I was.

But now--despite still not wanting to sign up for the next rule-based club for God, I admire how some religions can do good for some people and communities. Can bring some people comfort.

And since I'm for peace of all kinds, I want my human brothers and sisters to be able to openly experience life however they choose--whether they are transgendered, grow their own food in the back yard, wear full body tattoos, or practice a faith that means something to them.

I certainly don't live the life of an activist. Frankly, it would be too hard for me (or on me.) And I'm not a political person. I don't know what role Congress or the Senate play; I don't know how laws are made, or why states can vote for a president but still not be counted towards an election process.


I can buy organic or local food, avoiding Monsanto at all costs.

I can donate money to organizations that build personal shelters for the homeless population in Eugene (the city I live in.)

And I can wear hijab for a day, or two, in order to say something about religious discrimination in the United States.