It was just after the 2014 Sydney siege that the “#illridewithyou” campaign came into fruition creating an anti-discrimination social media frenzy formulated to help Australian Muslim women feel safe on public transport. However now, it seems a global community of women and girls are standing once again in solidarity against Islamophobia.
Its recent replacement has come in a physical form, as non-Muslim women don the headscarf in what some may even call, ‘I’ll wear a headscarf with you’ campaign during the fasting month of Ramadan. ‘The World Hijab Day (WHD) 30 Day Challenge” is an initiative to raise awareness for the discrimination faced by women. It calls for women, Muslim or non-Muslim to wear Hijab during the fasting month of Ramadan from Thursday 17 May to Thursday 14 June 2018.
In Qatar, Ellie Lloyd, and her 11-year-old daughter are two non-Muslim women participating in the WHD’s month-long challenge.
“What we are doing by doing this 30-day challenge is we are getting only a small glimpse of what hijab-wearing women face every single day,” said Ellie Lloyd.
The WHD organisation was founded by New York resident Nazma Khan in an attempt to open up new pathways to understanding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab and raise awareness around the bigotry aimed at hijab-wearing Muslims.
Brazilian student Pamela Zafred, 18, who was raised as a Catholic, expressed first-hand, the difficulties which Muslim women face when she began participating in the challenge.
“I went to the gym [wearing the Hijab], and I could hear incessant jokes about me. Our classes were conducted in groups, but no one chose to stay with me until the instructor divided the groups himself,” said Pamela.
Sadly, for many Muslim women, abuse is common.
According to a recent report conducted by the Islamic Sciences and Research Academy of Australia (ISRA) and the Diversity Council Australia, perpetrators of Islamophobic attacks overwhelmingly target women.
The ‘Islamophobia in Australia’ report, which surveyed 243 incidents involving physical, verbal and online attacks, found in cases where the gender of the victim was known, 67.7 percent were female. Nearly three-quarters of abusers were male.
The report noted that 79.6 percent of women abused were wearing head-covering and most disturbingly, more than 30 percent were with children.
The key finding of the report stated clear a relationship between terrorist attacks and increases in Islamophobia incidents and negative media coverage was also found to exacerbate bigotry.