World Hijab Day celebration back for third year

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Former MLAs Mike Allen and Don Scott with World Hijab Day YMM President Kiran Malik-Khan and Mayor Melissa Blake at Peter Pond Mall for the second annual event on February 11, 2015. PHOTO: Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Muslims and non-Muslim women will gather together to unite for Fort McMurray’s third annual World Hijab Day on January 31 at the Peter Pond Mall.

Due to recent global events, the committee members of World Hijab Day YMM (WHDYMM) believe this year’s event is more important than ever.

“If ever there was a need to build bridges, it is now,” said President and Co-founder of WHDYMM Kiran Malik-Khan. “In the wake of multiple events that are wrongly associated with so-called Muslims. Whether, it was the Paris attacks or San Bernadino shooting, we want everyone to know Muslims are peaceful, and Islam can never condone killing.”

“If ever there was a need to build bridges, it is now,” said President and Co-founder of WHDYMM Kiran Malik-Khan. “In the wake of multiple events that are wrongly associated with so-called Muslims. Whether, it was the Paris attacks or San Bernadino shooting, we want everyone to know Muslims are peaceful, and Islam can never condone killing.”

The inaugural World Hijab Day took place in New York on February 1, 2013, after founder Nazma Khan initiated the movement to “foster religious tolerance and understanding” between non-Hijabi Muslims/non-Muslims. Today, the event takes place throughout the world on February 1. The local event takes place on the Sunday before with the continued motto: ‘Modesty. Honour. Beauty.’

At previous local events, the public and community dignitaries have gathered with the committee to: “Come try on a hijab” – a highlighted suggestion promoted as the event’s tagline. Its purpose, to don a hijab to see what it’s like.

“During the last two events women have been pleasantly surprised,” Malik-Khan said. “They told us: “I feel like a princess”. And, “You concentrate more on my eyes, as opposed to being distracted by the hair.” As a women who dons the hijab each day, Malik-Khan said, “Yes, we feel all that and more daily.”

The WHDYMM committee is a group of volunteers of both Muslim and non-Muslim faith. Malik-Khan said the hijab is an identity that she and the WHDYMM committee want others to learn and understand.

“It is our identity, and that’s what we want people to learn. We want ladies to come and try on a hijab – and stand with us in equality, peace, and justice for all. This will be a lovely afternoon of enjoying a light event with your friends. Take photos, ask questions, and learn about us,” she said.

“It is our identity, and that’s what we want people to learn. We want ladies to come and try on a hijab – and stand with us in equality, peace, and justice for all. This will be a lovely afternoon of enjoying a light event with your friends. Take photos, ask questions, and learn about us,” she said.

The event is from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will be held at Peter Pond Mall’s Centre Court. The public will have the opportunity to try on a hijab if they choose to and listen to speeches from committee members and community leaders.

Malik-Khan sends thanks to previous supporters and continuing sponsors who have made the past events a success.

“When you show up, you help eradicate prejudices. The committee has worked hard over the last two months to bring you an excellent event, which would have been impossible without the support of Peter Pond Mall, and we thank them for their continued support for all three events,” she said. “A huge thanks go out to Shell Retail Stores and A-1 Towing Company, who once again sponsored us. Their generous support means we can host an outstanding event, and donate all the funds raised to Syrian refugees coming in our city.”

For more up-to-date information, check out World Hijab Day YMM on Facebook and @WHDYMM.

– Connect Weekly –