World Hijab Day aims to counter the often negative associations non-Muslims and some Muslims have with the hijab. Celebrated on February 1st, it was started in New York in 2013 by Bangladeshi American Nazma Khan and is now celebrated in over 50 countries worldwide.
As World Hijab Day is wrapping up, many of us who are advocates of religious freedom in Canada are grappling with outrage at how the tragic death of Naima Rharouity has been covered in some media.
Certainly, the hijab has come under increased scrutiny, thanks to the highly controversial values charter, proposed by the PQ government. The charter, which aims to enforce a rigid form of secularism within the province, has already been blamed for mounting abuse and harassment of Muslim women. Whether or not this law is passed, the coverage and subsequent reactions to Naima Rharouity's death further indicate that the floodgates of hatred towards Muslim women have already been opened. Every Muslim woman in the province, and possibly beyond, will be affected negatively by the racist and patriarchal discourses playing out during hearings on the charter at Quebec's national assembly.