World Hijab Day

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World Hijab Day
World Hijab Day poster from 2016
Date(s)1 February
Established2013 (2013)
FounderNazma Khan

World Hijab Day is an annual event founded by Nazma Khan in 2013,[1] taking place on 1 February each year in 140 countries worldwide.[2] Its stated purpose is to encourage women of all religions and backgrounds to wear and experience the hijab for a day and to educate and spread awareness on why hijab is worn.[3] Nazma Khan said her goal was also to normalize hijab wearing.[4]


Nazma Khan, a Bangladeshi-American, launched World Hijab Day (WHD) in 2013. She said that her aim was "to raise awareness and normalize the wearing of a hijab." Khan added that she launched the day due hoping for "foster[ing] religious tolerance" given experiences of facing "discrimination and bullying in school and university by being spat on, chased, kicked and called a “terrorist”." This way, other women would not have the same experiences as "she had to endure."[4]

Official recognition[edit]

In 2017 New York State recognized World Hijab Day, and an event marking the day was hosted at the House of Commons, which was attended by Theresa May (former UK Prime Minister).[5] The House of Representatives of the Philippines approved 1 February as "annual national hijab day" to promote an understanding of the Muslim tradition in 2021.[6]


A. J. Caschetta criticizes the event's date of 1 February as ironic and distasteful since it coincides with the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran from his French exile, which subsequently lead to the enforcement of mandatory wearing of hijabs.[5][7] Caschetta argues that while the hijab is being promoted in the Western world as part of the right to choose clothing, the same right to choice is not being fought for persecuted women who refuse to wear the hijab.[7]

In February 2013, Maryam Namazie, a vocal ex-Muslim and campaigner, criticized World Hijab Day in a blog post that compared World Hijab Day with a World Female Genital Mutilation Day or a World Child Marriage Day.[8] Asra Nomani wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post saying the World Hijab Day event spreads the "misleading interpretation" that the head covering is always worn voluntarily, and that "hijab" purely means headscarf.[9] In his own opinion piece published in 2017, Maajid Nawaz references the earlier Nomani & Arafa article and describes the event as "worse than passé", suggesting that the name be changed to "Hijab is a Choice Day".[10]

In 2018, Canadian human-rights campaigner Yasmine Mohammed started a #NoHijabDay campaign in response, to celebrate the women who have defied social censure and the state to remove the hijab.[11] She said that No Hijab Day is a global day of support for bold women who reject the hijab, those who wish to choose what to wear on their heads.[12]

Social media[edit]

World Hijab Day has largely influenced through social media. World Hijab Day campaigners promote the day with hashtags such as #EmpoweredinHijab.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  • Rahbari, L., Dierickx, S., Coene, G., & Longman, C. (2021). Transnational Solidarity with Which Muslim Women? The Case of the My Stealthy Freedom and World Hijab Day Campaigns. Politics & Gender, 17(1), 112–135. doi:10.1017/S1743923X19000552
  • Raihanah, M. M. (2017). " ‘World Hijab Day’: Positioning the Hijabi in Cyberspace". In Seen and Unseen. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. doi:
  • Rahbari, Ladan (2021), In Her Shoes: Transnational Digital Solidarity With Muslim Women, or the Hijab?. Tijds. voor econ. en Soc. Geog., 112: 107–120.
  • Shirazi, Faegheh. 2019. "The Veiling Issue in 20th Century Iran in Fashion and Society, Religion, and Government" Religions 10, no. 8: 461.
  • Oren, Elizabeth. “Culture in a Murky World: Hijab Trends in Jihadi Popular Culture.” The Cyber Defense Review, vol. 3, no. 3, Army Cyber Institute, 2018, pp. 83–92, JSTOR 26554999
  • Anouar El Younssi (2018) Maajid Nawaz, Irshad Manji, and the Call for a Muslim Reformation, Politics, Religion & Ideology, 19:3, 305–325, doi:10.1080/21567689.2018.1524327
  • Ghumkhor Sahar . (2020) The Confessional Body. In: The Political Psychology of the Veil. Palgrave Studies in Political Psychology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.


  1. ^ "World Hijab Day - Better Awareness. Greater Understanding. Peaceful World". Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  2. ^ Participating Countries. "Worldwide Support". World Hijab Day. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  3. ^ "World Hijab Day". Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b "'We're not oppressed': Canadians unite to mark World Hijab Day - National |". Global News. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  5. ^ a b Grewal, Kairvy (31 January 2020). "On World Hijab Day, women across the globe are polarised". ThePrint. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  6. ^ "House OKs bill declaring National Hijab Day". The Manila Times. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b Caschetta, A. J. (30 January 2020). "The Irony and Hypocrisy of World Hijab Day". National Review. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Hijab for a day: Non-Muslim women who try the headscarf". BBC News. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  9. ^ "As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity". The Washington Post. 21 December 2015. Archived from the original on 21 December 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  10. ^ Maajid Nawaz (29 December 2015). "The Great Hypocritical Muslim Cover-Up". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  11. ^ "'Removing your hijab can get you killed – even in the West'". spiked. Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  12. ^ Mohammed, Yasmine. "Support Muslim women in fight against hijab". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  13. ^ "World Hijab Day: Proud to be a hijabi and breaking stereotypes". BBC.
  14. ^ "World Hijab Day and the women who are breaking boundaries and stereotypes". Sky News. 1 February 2023.

External links[edit]