FEMYSOblog – World Hijab Day

Dear reader, 

FEMYSOblog is coming to life, and we are excited to be sharing with you articles on various topics written by different people, coming from different life paths and who have been through different experiences. Every month, you will be reading original written pieces that hopefully will inspire you, benefit you and will encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with us. We wish you an enjoyable reading! 

World Hijab Day 

The 1st of February marks the World Hijab Day, a movement started in New York by Nazma Khan in 2013 to recognize millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty and encourage religious tolerance and understanding by inviting (non-Hijabi Muslims & non-Muslims) to experience the hijab for one day. What Nazma hopes is to make people understand why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab. Her movement became a non-profit organisation in 2018 which aims to fight discrimination against Muslim women through awareness and education1. 

FEMYSO supports World Hijab Day and denounces any discrimination shown against the wearing of the hijab. Wearing the hijab is a choice made by Muslim women that should be respected and none should interfere with it. Muslim women should feel safe to wear the hijab and should feel safe to be themselves, as it is part of their identity. Since World Hijab Day aims to give voice to Muslim women, FEMYSO is sharing stories of Muslim women that wear the hijab, to allow you to understand their journey with the hijab and to provide a different perspective. Every woman has a personal connection with the hijab and hopefully, their stories will give you a better understanding of their choice. 



“For a very long time, I knew that I really wanted to wear the hijab. But because I was living in France, I had to wait until the right time as it was impossible to wear it in school and it was then difficult at university and work. 

Finally, after finishing my studies and leaving my job, I was free to wear it. No one put obstacles despite the lack of support from my father and brother on this important choice. So, my story goes a bit against prejudices… 

Today, I’m a proud young French Muslim woman wearing the hijab and I hope that one day people in France will value me as a person full of potential, beyond my appearance and the scarf on my head.” 



“Wearing the hijab happened unexpectedly, -like receiving the revelation from God- my friend commented when she saw me wearing the hijab at university in September. Why? Because when I was a teenager and despite having parents that encouraged me to wear the hijab, I never had in mind that I would wear it in my twenties as I did not understand the meaning of the hijab and the reason why Muslim women would wear it. What happened to me? You might wonder.  

There was no brainwashing or forcing. I was going through a spiritual journey, learning more about my faith and God, and the more I was connecting to God, the more I wanted to feel protected and closer to Him. And I felt the need to wear the hijab to be closer to God; it represented my freedom and protection from God, like I could literally feel His presence. 

Years have passed and my hijab has been my companion, everywhere in the world I was, the hijab was with me, remembering me of God’s closeness and protection. And it has never been an obstacle to anything that I wanted to achieve, but rather an encouragement.” 



“For me, the headscarf is a private act of worshipping God. It is a form of training the self, the so-called nafs (soul) from the material world, of having a stronger spiritual orientation in the psyche and thus of becoming a stronger and more independent person, allowing in turn to be more effective in our daily work, commitments and relations. To me it is also a constant reminder of a life after death and that we get one chance to live on this world – therefore we must always strive for excellence, for never hurting others, for doing justice and fighting injustice – essentially Islamic principles. It is really important that the spiritual essence of the headscarf is not lost, due to pressure from an ever-growing unsustainable fashion industry that capitalises on a form of worship.” 



“Many will find my hijab journey incomprehensible. My decision to put it on was not hasty, forced, or anything like that but rather was purely out of my choice that was made after an unexpected spiritual journey.  

Initially, the hijab was merely a connection I experienced on a physical level. Coming from a Muslim-majority country like Indonesia, hijab is considered a social norm and standard (that is better) to adhere to. Therefore, I only covered myself when attending school and social events.  

I think the sole reason that led me to wear the hijab permanently was because of this “habit” of mine. Have you heard of “Beware of habits you inhabit”? I did not expect it to direct me to one of the biggest decisions in my life. As someone who lived on an island, I got used to watching sunrise and sunset every day for 5-10 mins. I would sit by the doorstep when I woke up, watched the sky changing colours, and felt the breeze. I found it peaceful and calming. This moment, after some time, brought me to ask myself sort of philosophical questions, “Aisyah, until when are you going to be like this? What’s going to happen when you leave this world?” I had no idea where this was coming from but witnessing the sun temporarily rising and setting made me realize I too will be gone one day. Not long after that, I found myself watching the music concert of my favourite band until 2 am as the only hijabi (felt like the coolest chick among the crowd that night). I later donated all those music band-related stuff to orphanages. That was when I started to understand that I have connected with my hijab to the deeper level – my heart. It’s so liberating.” 


Check this website to learn more about the NGO World Hijab Day: https://worldhijabday.com/our-story/ 



World Hijab Day 2022 #HandsOffMyHijab

Today marks World Hijab Day 2022. What is clear, is that the importance of this day has only increased since its inception – FEMYSO alongside our civil society partners would like to reiterate the clear statement #HandsOffMyHijab 

The constant attack on the Hijab is centred in a patriarchal view that those in power have the right to legislate on women’s bodies. What a woman chooses to wear (and not to wear) is her own decision and those that seek to undermine this basic fundamental right should be seen as pariah.  

It is hypocrisy of the highest order to governments that seek to rightfully condemn other countries for human rights violations, to enact their own when it comes to the choice a Muslim woman makes whether to wear religious clothing 

The recent decision by the French Senate to ban the Hijab in sports is one of many clear human rights violations that our region has seen. Sport is a unifying platform where one’s talent and work ethic should be the only consideration made. Instead, Muslim women now have to make the choice between wearing religious clothing and engaging in the sport they love.  

In July 2021, a political decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) was passed which once again gives a free pass to employers to ban the headscarf. This saw the ECJ prioritise the financial interests of employers and prejudiced customers as more important than the rights of those who are perpetually made vulnerable and kept in a vicious circle of discrimination. 

FEMYSO President Hande Taner said ‘My choice to wear the Hijab was my own and one that has led to numerous barriers being placed in front of me in my pursuit to help shape a more just world. The efforts by many across our region to limit Muslim women like myself due to this aspect of my faith is a shameful endeavour that the generations to come will look upon with shame – #HandsOffMyHijab and the Hijabs of all the incredible young women I represent across our region.’  

As part of our work to tackle Gendered Islamophobia, FEMYSO has launched a survey that seeks to tackle the issues faced by Muslim women in the job market, translated into 8 languages, please take part here.  

We once again call upon EU Member States to stop their obsession with Muslim women’s bodies. We call on the EU and all its institutions to recognise the impact of Gendered Islamophobia on its citizens and to work alongside civil society to implement impactful and holistic policy to tackle this human rights violation.

  1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 33 Muslim youth and student organisations across 20 European countries, and is the leading voice for European Muslim youth, developing and empowering them, and working to build a more diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe.     
  1. For more media-related information or requests please email media@femyso.org.