"World Hijab Day" - Better Awareness, Greater Understanding, Peaceful World!
Updated: Feb 20
Writer: Ferozah Kothdiwala
Reflection on World Hijab Day Event- Queens Park, 27 January 2018
It was a cool, windy Saturday afternoon when the BAML Team took to Queen’s Park to set up an information table as part of its activities for World Hijab Day. On our arrival in Queens Park, we were greeted by an energetic bustling guard who remembered us being there for a similar event in 2016. She eagerly waited for us to set up our table and our wide array of hijabs, telling us to ensure that she had “first pick” of the hijabs for herself. After making her choice, she played an instrumental part in encouraging others to stop by our table and participate in our outreach activity. The BAML ladies quickly worked together to set up the tables and the accompanying décor which was used to attractively and invitingly display the hijabs. Having completed the set up, we went about inviting passers-by to our table by explaining our reason for being there and inviting them to choose and try-on a hijab, which would then be theirs to take home.We were greeted with smiles of delight and could easily see the look of pure anticipation and excitement mixed with perhaps a little reluctant nervousness which was quickly overcome by a genuine sense of curiosity in the eyes of our invitees. Having chosen their hijabs from our wide display, they were then shown to a seat where other female members waited to drape the hijab for our expectant “new hijabi”. Having completed their task, our “hijabi” was then allowed to view their image reflected in the mirrors provided. The exclamations of pure amazement and comments of feeling “beautiful”, “wow”, “I like it” and eyes filled with wonder and awe resonated from every female that tried on the hijab. Many opted not to remove it and continued on their journey through the Park with the hijab on. Some returned, soon after, with a friend a tow, wanting the friend to experience the same joy that they did. Some of the females were accompanied by a male companion, and interestingly, in many cases, the male companion encouraged their female companion to go ahead and make use of the opportunity to try on the hijab. They all waited patiently while the task was completed and they too, were pleased with the outcome and the “new look”. Some utilized their time, inquiring about Islam and reading the pamphlets that were available. Other male passers-by, walked over to our table, curious as to what was taking place. Upon being told, it was a “female-catered” activity, they appeared disappointed, but consoled themselves by asking if they could take a hijab for the female members of their households. We were more than willing to oblige and they too walked away happily with their “gift” in hand. As a participant of this type of event, for World Hijab Day, for the second time, I am always heartened by the almost immediate positive response we receive from passers-by. It reinforced for me the absolute blessing of living in Barbados, among people who are tolerant, respectful and appreciative of the rights of others to live a life of their choice. Barbadians have a deep sense of respect and admiration for persons of faith. It shows that despite what information they may be exposed to in international media, they are open-minded and willing to seek the truth for themselves. World Hijab Day is an opportunity for Muslim females to take a leading role in creating a better understanding and appreciation of why we dress the way we do. If by donning a hijab for one day, our female counterparts in other religions and lifestyles can experience what we do then perhaps we can come one step closer to building a community and society where we are our sisters’ keeper and find ways of sharing ideas on the things that unite us rather than divide us.