Non-Muslim Women Are Wearing Hijabs & Not Everyone Likes It

Non-Muslim women are wearing hijabs during Ramadan this month in support of Muslims who face discrimination and to build bridges between faiths. Ramadan began in mid-May and will last until mid-June, during which time women around the world who don't identify as Muslim are wearing the headscarf and sharing their experiences on social media.
The 30-day Ramadan hijab challenge was created by the nonprofit behind World Hijab Day, which encourages women to cover their heads for a day each year on 1st February. Its founder, Nazna Khan, told Al Jazeera the initiative "is for those who want to experience the hijab for more than just one day in order to better understand what Muslim women go through on a daily basis."
Women have been uploading photos of themselves wearing the hijab on Twitter, along with insights into their experience. Pamela Zafred, 18, from Brazil, said it made her "feel really bad". She added: "I felt everyone looking bad at me, some people were making jokes; our classes are in groups and no one wanted to stay with me until the professor divided the groups."
In another tweet 10 days later, she said wearing the hijab opened her eyes to the "extent of the social harassment [Muslim] women constantly face."
Eleven-year-old Grace Lloyd, a British Christian, is wearing a black hijab to her school in Doha throughout the month in a show of support for Muslim women and the discrimination they face as a result of the garment. She says she "feels very strongly" about it, while her mother Ellie said the pair had to "completely change their wardrobes" to make them less revealing and to be in line with the headscarf.
The initiative has won support among Muslim organisations in the UK. Noor Elterk, a spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Britain, told Refinery29 UK it comes at an important time "when polarisation and intolerance threaten our society in an ever-increasing climate of Islamophobia and racial discrimination."
"Islamophobic rhetoric is being peddled across Western Europe, unfortunately even among some of our politicians, creating a hostile environment for Western Muslims to practise their faith and beliefs, and this campaign offers solidarity, understanding, and support to Muslim women who are more often the target of anti-Muslim hate behaviour."

This whole 'solidarity' thing is more for social media and to soothe white guilt.

However, not everyone is convinced the initiative is worthwhile. Sainabou Hydara, 20, a Muslim student in London, believes non-Muslim women don't need to wear the hijab for a month to understand Muslim women's struggles – she says taking the time to listen to them would suffice. "The most important part of being an ally is listening," she told Refinery29 UK. "Your role isn't to speak on behalf of oppressed groups but to use your privilege to pass them the microphone to speak for themselves. You don't need to wear hijab to do that."
"From my perspective, this whole 'solidarity' thing is more for social media and to soothe white guilt, and we all know that does very little to help anyone."
Similarly, Hannah Abdule, 24, a Muslim civil servant in London, believes that while it's great that non-Muslim women are interested in wearing the hijab and want to engage in interfaith dialogue, the other half of her wonders, 'Hold on, do you feel sorry for us?' She told Refinery29 UK: "When reading statements like 'Non-Muslim women wear the hijab in solidarity with Muslim women', the impression I get is, Muslim women need the support of non-Muslims for their beliefs to be validated."
White women wearing the hijab are already in a privileged position compared, for instance, to Somali women wearing the hijab, Abdule says. "The hijab should not be viewed in isolation – race needs to be considered, so I don't believe some non-Muslim women can fully experience the day-to-day life of a Muslim woman."

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