For the majority of South African Muslim women, wearing hijab or niqab has been free of discrimination, prejudice and Islamophobia. While there have been incidences of women being hissed at, sworn at in shopping centres and by fellow motorists, by and large Muslims have not faced open discrimination and threats partly because our constitution guarantees freedom of religion and partly due to the history of Islam and Muslims in South Africa. However, Muslim women in other countries are not so fortunate.
World Hijab Day (February 1) was conceived six years ago by Najma Khan, a Pakistani American, who suffered prejudice and bullying as a result of her wearing hijab and took it upon herself to ensure that the world would learn the real reasons Muslim women don the hijab, to allow the Muslim Hijabi to share their experiences, good and bad with those who suffered the same fate and to get women of other faiths to wear hijab to gain a small insight into the world of the Muslim women.
The Caring Sisters Network adopted the World Hijab Day concept in 2017 and see this as an opportunity to educate and empower our fellow South Africans about the hijab, about Muslims, about Muslim women and to break down the misconceptions and stereotypes about women who wear the hijab.
Our 2018 campaign for World Hijab Day is to collect hijabs (scarves) to distribute to the less fortunate sisters who choose to wear the hijab, whether Muslim or people from other faith groups. 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.
The campaign is also about building bridges of friendships, promoting mutual tolerance and understanding and promoting the “Rainbow Nation.”
To enquire about or to participate in the CSN projects, please contact the Caring Sisters Network on (031) 207 4223 or visit the website: www.caringsisters.net.
Chairperson: Caring Sisters Network