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article imageOp-Ed: September 4, International Hijab Solidarity Day

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 3, 2012 in World
A woman's right to choose to wear the hijab is celebrated on September 4., World Hijab Day. At the same time Islamic extremists are taking the choice to remain hijab free away from women with no voice.
The Assembly for the Protection of Hijab (pro-hijab) decreed Sept. 4. as International Hijab Solidarity Day in 2004, to protest the hijab ban in French schools.
In 2009 it was proposed the date should become World Hijab Day to mark the death of the "headscarf martyr" Marwa el-Sherbini, an Egyptian woman brutally murdered in a German courtroom, who became the symbol of perceived Islamophobia in the west. The move was approved by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe.
Whilst pro-hijab wants women to have the freedom of choice to wear the hijab and protest the hijab ban imposed in some European countries, it is compulsory in countries where Sharia law rules. Women in Saudi Arabia and Iran have no freedom of choice to decide if they wish to adhere to the strict dress codes. Iranian women face harassment and arrest if they stray from the mandatory dress code.
A campaign has been launched in Iran to give women the right to choose the hijab called "No to Mandatory Hijab."
The hijab is now being foisted on women through compulsion, in areas such as northern Mali where Islamic militants have usurped the rights of women to dress as they wish.
Since the Tunisian uprising the spread of Islamic influence has seen an overturning of the ban on the hijab. Also, this weekend marked the first time a female news anchor appeared on Egyptian television wearing a veil.
Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami Islamic party are using World Hijab Day to further their demands that the hijab be made compulsory.
The hijab has become a symbol of Islam in the west, with many Muslims supporting the freedom of choice to wear it. However, the encroaching influence of extremists is taking the freedom of choice from others.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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