‘A very interesting experiment’ - East London Three Faiths Forum’s Khola Hasan on the 30-day Ramadan Hijab challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:10 29 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:50 29 May 2018

A women wearing a hijab. Picture: Johnny Green/PA

A women wearing a hijab. Picture: Johnny Green/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A Muslim leader is backing a global initiative putting women of all faiths and none into the shoes of Muslim women throughout the month of Ramadan.

The 30-day Ramadan Hijab Challenge is inviting non-Muslim women across the globe wear headscarves from May 15 until June 15.

Organised by advocacy group World Hijab Day, the challenge aims to tackle the discrimination suffered by Muslim women.

The Recorder spoke to the East London Three Faith’s Forum’s Khola Hasan to find out more about the significance of the hijab and her thoughts on the challenge.

“It’s a very interesting experiment for people to wear a hijab in and realise just how badly Muslim women are treated,” she said.

East London Three Faiths Forum's Khola Hasan. Photo: John HercockEast London Three Faiths Forum's Khola Hasan. Photo: John Hercock

She added: “It’s sad that this symbol of modesty and being conscious of God all the time is treated as something dangerous, oppressive and to be hated.

“But we love it. It’s our identity. When we wear it, we wear it with joy.

“They say it is an oppression of women - it’s a shame because it is so beautiful.”

The hijab is a garment which covers the hair and as worn in public by Muslim women who feel it is a part of their religion.

Since the Khola has it from the age of 14.

But, as a consequence, she has endured a “very subtle kind of racism” throughout her life.

“From being ignored, to somebody walking past and deliberately pushing me without apologising or acknowledging it,” she said.

“It’s getting worse in recent times with rising terrorism and Islamophobia around the world.

“[By wearing the hijab,] you’re pronouncing your faith to the world in a way men don’t.”

Summing up her thoughts on the challenge, Khola said: “Anything that promotes understanding is a good thing.”

World Hijab Day has released a list of 20 reasons why non-Muslims should take part in the challenge.

Among them is to “show solidarity with hijabi sisters worldwide” as well as walking in someone else’s shoes for more than just a day.

The non-profit also encourage women to wear the headscarf on February 1 for World Hijab Day.

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