The conference's poster.
LONDON, September 2, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – A groundbreaking one-day conference will take place Saturday, September 3, in London to mark the International Hijab Solidarity Day.
Under the title "Hijab Unveiled-A Day of Reflection", the conference seeks raising awareness, building a positive image of hijab and addressing the negative misconceptions on the Muslim headdress.
Brining together Muslim scholars, pro-hijab activists, politicians and human rights activists, the conference also aims to open channels of dialogue between Muslim women and other members of British society on hijab.
Chief among dignitaries showing up for the big event are Anas Altikriti, former president of the Muslim Association of Britain; Member of European Parliament Caroline Lucase and Shami Chakrabati of the Liberty group.
“Despite a huge growth in the number of Muslim women who choose to wear the Hijab in Britain today, there are still many stereotypes and misconceptions that surround this piece of clothing," Rajnaara Akhtar, Chair of Protect Hijab, said in a press release, e-mailed to IslamOnline.net.
"One of the aims of Protect-Hijab is to educate and raise awareness and the Hijab Unveiled conference will do both of these.”
Pro-hijab and human rights activists gathered May 11, in front of the Strasbourg-based European Parliament to urge MEPs to back a parliamentary bid obliging France and other European countries to overturn a ban on hijab and religious symbols.
A http://www.prohijab.net/english/projects-european-parliament-written-declaration.htm/t_blank - Written Declaration on Religious Rights and Freedom was launched on February 23 by Protect Hijab and MEPs, calling for the right to wear hijab, Sikh turban, Jewish skullcap and Christian cross in state establishments such as schools.
“Protect-Hijab hopes to achieve a common understanding of the Hijab between Muslim women and those who otherwise suffer from misunderstandings about the role and function of the Hijab," Akhtar said.
The conference will tackle two main topics on the Muslim headdress; integration and hijab and the concept of hijab as a tool of oppression against women.
“Protect-Hijab hopes to achieve a common understanding of the Hijab between Muslim women and those who otherwise suffer from misunderstandings about the role and function of the Hijab, so that a real dialogue is achieved," Akhtar said.
She added that reaching a better understanding on the Muslim headdress would help achieve greater harmony in the multi-cultural British society.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
France spearheaded anti-hijab drive in Europe with its lower house of parliament adopting the controversial bill on February 10 last year with an overwhelming majority.
The text, put forward by President Jacques Chirac's ruling center-right Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) party and supported by the left-wing opposition Socialists, was adopted by a vote of 494 to 36.
Shortly afterwards, other European countries, chiefly Germany, followed the French lead.
The French ban, described by international rights watchdogs as amounting to religious discrimination, prompted demonstrations across Europe.
International figures also stood behind the Muslim right, including London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who said Paris’s move is an “anti-Muslim measure” and accused Chirac plays a “terribly, terribly dangerous game.”
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~