Colorado state representative Iman Jodeh is holding a pro-hijab event today at the state capitol, inviting non-Muslim women to go “try on a hijab” to show their support for the practice.
Jodeh extended the invitation on X (formerly Twitter) in a now-deleted post to celebrate World Hijab Day, which was established in 2013 by Bangladeshi-New Yorker, Nazma Khan.
Khan reportedly “came up with the idea as a means to foster personal freedom of religious expression and cultural understanding” by inviting women from all walks of life to experience the hijab for one day. The event is held annually on February 1.
The annual event also claims to be “in recognition of millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty.”
The World Hijab Day organization hosts a weekly podcast called the “Modesty Table,” and also asks non-Muslim women to take the “30-day Ramadan Hijab Challenge.” The 30-day challenge entails non-Muslims wearing the garment during the entire month of Ramadan “in order to better understand the hijab.” Listing reasons that women should participate, they claim that wearing a hijab for 30 days will bring awareness to their “plight against prejudice, bigotry, and religious hatred.”
In Colorado, representative Iman Jodeh’s invitation for women to don a hijab has not been well received.
X user @Gin40139112 slammed Jodeh’s invite: “A hijab is a symbol of the oppression of women. In the USA we have thrown off such shackles. Free yourself!”
“Out here celebrating the subjugation of women. Don’t you dare ever scream about the ‘patriarchy’,” quipped X user @corysix6.
Similarly, from X user @CheeksCowboy: “Why the hell would any woman celebrate oppression?”
Despite being centered around the hijab, the World Hijab Day website does not mention anything about existing laws that compel women to cover their heads and bodies that exist in most of the Muslim world. The laws have lead to the deaths of women deemed “immodest,” such as Masha Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who was murdered by Iran’s Morality Police in 2022. Amini was beaten to death for not wearing her hijab in the “correct” manner.
Her death sparked international outrage and a protest movement against mandatory hijabs. Two female Iranian journalists who covered the murder of Amini were later sentenced to more than a decade in prison and accused of several crimes, including creation of “propaganda against the state.” The women finally won an appeal and were released on bail in January of 2024 after spending 17 months in prison.
In October of 2023, one year after the death of Amini, a teenage girl died in Tehran after sustaining severe brain trauma following a beating for not wearing a headscarf by an enforcer of compulsory hijab laws.