International Hijab Day and Its observance in Bangladesh

An Interantional Hijab Day was observed in many places of the world under Assembly for Protection of Hijab, which is an organization set up in August 2004 within scholar in London. It was formed in the beginning of August and they call for observance of International Hijab Solidarity Day on 4th of September, 2004. With a group of scholar and young activists in Bangladesh, the steering committee observing the day including a seminar, a meeting in an open place and a press conference. However the meeting in the open place could not be held the then prevailing political situation. So the programme was limited to a seminar on September 4 and a press conference on September 2. Press conference was held in the VIP Lounge of National Press Club. The press conference was address by Justice Abdur Rouf, former justice of appellate division of Supreme Court, who was also the Election Commissioner of Bangladesh, aided in the press conference by Shah Abdul Hannan, a former secretary of the Gov. of Bangladesh, Dr. Razia Akter Banu, senior professor department of Political Science, Dhaka University, Md. Abdul Hannan, a senior cultural activists, Syeda Razia Sultana, an Assistant Professor of Engineering University, a prestigious institution of Dhaka and others.

Below the summery of the statement of the press conference.

In the beginning of the current year a law has been passed by the French Parliament effectively banning, among others, wearing of headscarf ( Hijab) First, The Prime Minister of France declared such an intent and Then President Chirac called it an aggression on France. This law has become effective from September 2, 2004 when the school year starts. The action of the French Government and the Law has hurt the feelings of all Muslims and religious people. France has said that this is against secularism. This is a misinterpretation of secularism. Secularism is not opposed to religious right.

It is not also an aggression against France or its culture. This is also not a religious symbol; This is an obligatory rule of Islamic Law, to deny this right is denial of religious and human right. France has also said that this is a way of political protest. This is a figment of their imagination.
Hijab ( whatever be the form) is a part of Islamic dress code, it is no part of political protest. In some states in Germany and political leaders in some other European countries have called for ban of Hijab. So this is a big issue which cannot be ignored. If it is allowed then interference can
come in other religious rights of Muslims and even other religions. In this context, Assembly for Protection of Hijab in London, an organisation representing human right workers and religious leaders (including Ken Livingstone, Yusuf Al Qaradari, Tariq Ramadan) have called for observance of September 4, 2004 as International Hijab Solidarity Day. Rule of Hijab is found in the Quran ( Verse 31 of Sura Nisa and verse 59 of Sura Ahzab). Scholars are agreed that the body of Muslim Women except face, forehand and feet have to be covered.

In History, under the influence of Western civilization, King Amanullah of Afghanistan, Shah of Iran tried to eradicate Hijab but they failed. Other attempts in Iraq, Syria and Indonesia by some rulers failed. Turkish state under Mustafa Kamal tried to abolish Hijab. Even now Turkish Women can not wear Hijab in Govt. Schools and Offices & Parliament. Marvan Kavakchi could not take oath as parliament Member because of Hijab. The Wife of Prime Minister Erdogan cannot go to official function wearing Hijab.This rule can not be changed by the Present Islamic Government become of pressure of Turkish Army bosses who worship secularism.

This Hijab Solidarity day is very important. It cannot be ignored. It is a religious issue. It is a human Right issue. It is recognized in U.N Declaration of Human Rights. We are for human right of all people. We request all people of all religions to stand up for this issue. Otherwise
religious right of all people will be affected in future. We request France to revoke this law.

The background of the Insternational Hijab Solidarity Day and also protection of Hijab, I would now say the development since then. A full pledged organization has been formed under the Assembly for Protection of Hijab, Bangladesh under the leadership of Justice Abdur Rouf and Secretary Md. Abdul Hannan. The organization includes many dignified intellectuals. This organization will work as a watchdog on issues of Human Rights, particularly issues regarding women and specifically on the issues of Hijab. In Bangladesh any woman can wear Hijab without any restriction. Hijab is increasing over the last ten to fifteen years. In rural areas most of the women wear Hijab. In cities also now large number of women wear Hijab. As per as there are unwritten rules, even in Bangladesh which women who take up Hijab are not take on in the Television channel as a newsreader. I remember, I wrote an article on the issue on a national Daily called Daily Sangram, in the TV channel to allow the Muslim women who want to put on Hijab, allow them to be a newsreader. I do not know what will be the result. But I hope it may be possible. I also came to know and this also mention in my article in the Daily Sangram that the national flag carrier Biman does not allow women to wear Hijab which is disgraceful. I gathered if from my own experience, because the last ten years they allowed only two women to wear Hijab after their prayers. But many prayers are still pending. This I came to know from a woman when I was flying to Jeddah to attend an IDB meeting. I had discussion with flight attended with Hijab and she explained to me that the unwritten role is woman cannot become Air hostage with Hijab. But after their prayer two have been allowed till that day and said twelve other applications have been pending. I wrote in the article in the Daily Sangram that Biman should allow it. I hope one day it would be done. When I look into Bangladesh there are problem. There are many problems in many other countries where Hijab is discouraged in many ways. At Human Rights and Religious Rights of Muslim man and woman that the struggle must continue and the organization of the Assembly for Protection of Hijab in necessary not only international organization based in London but also national organization to monitor the position.