World Hijab Day Comes to New York

Salma Khan, the ambassador of World Hijab Day in New York City, and sister of founder Nezma Khan. (Photo by John Walder via Women's eNews)

Salma Khan, the ambassador of World Hijab Day in New York City, and sister of Nezma Khan, founder of the initiative. (Photo by John Walder via Women’s eNews)

On February 1, Muslim and non-Muslim women donned the hijab in observation of World Hijab Day, an international movement that invites women who do not usually wear the veil to try one on for a day. This effort to promote religious understanding was started last year by Nezma Khan.

After coming to the U.S. from Bangladesh at 11, she confronted name-calling and bullying from her peers and it only got worse after 9/11. Following years of getting messages through her website from fellow Muslim women enduring similar harassment, Khan started World Hijab Day. Khan tells reporter Hajer Naili of Women’s eNews: “I thought if I could invite other women (Muslim and non-Muslim) to walk in my shoes just for one day, perhaps, things would change.”

Nusaiba Guererro-Macias of the Bronx – an organizer of one of the New York events, “Hijab is my crown,” which took place on February 2 – is Cuban-American and converted to Islam three years ago. She used to believe that Muslim women were oppressed because of the hijab.

Guerrero-Macias was “very curious” about the meaning of the Islamic veil, but she said she couldn’t “embrace such a thing. I couldn’t wear something like this and say I am happy, I felt like I needed to express my beauty, I needed people to see my beauty.” But she is now happy that by wearing the hijab “people are able to appreciate my intellect instead of judging me by the outside.”

In speaking to Women’s eNews, Muslim women who wear the hijab shared diverse reasons for donning the veil. Some said it was part of their identity, others said the hijab helped them avoid what is prohibited in Islam.

The hijab “saved me from drugs, alcohol or things like clubbing,” said Salma Khan.

Zainab Ismail, a personal trainer and nutritionist in New York, wears her hijab as protection. “I feel it protects me and helps me stay within what is permissible in our religion and avoid the not permissible,” she said.

Read the full article at Women’s eNews, which includes a video of interviews with women on why they wear the hijab and what it means to them. Also mentioned is The Hijab Project, an initiative that asks women to wear the hijab in a public place and relate their experiences.


  1. Nice article. Very warm and fuzzy. I recommend a world “anti-killing-infidel day”, and, that should be constructed by muslims. I don’t accept ole rating the intolerable. Muslims and Islam get a bad rap for a very good reason and it’s not anyone else’s fault. It’s not white mans fault, not Christianity’s fault, not the EU or USAs fault. If good people who follow Islam fight the rot that’s in their own camp, they won’t need hijab days for anyone to respect them. Where I’m from there at more Christians, Buddhists and atheists than muslims but only muslims are complained about. Clean up your on house or we are not interested. Islam doesn’t bring anything new that is good but certainly brings a lot of bad.

    • Assalaam alaykum. Do not judge the religion by the actions of it’s followers, rather judge the followers by the tenets of the religion. If a Christian kills or steals I shouldn’t refer to him as a Christian murderer or a Christian thief even if he kills while screaming “in Jesus name”. So next time when men commit crimes as a result of their desires or whatever other reason, do not be hasty to attribute it to the religion they follow until you have asked “is this condoned in his religion?”. Seek the truth and ye shall find it.

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