beginning in 2014, the girls and i have participated in world hijab day on february 1.
it's a movement started by a muslim woman to raise awareness of, and show support to, women around the world who wear hijab.
our friend from malaysia, murshidah, is her country's official WHD ambassador, and asked if we would like join the cause and show our solidarity as Christians- we agreed of course!
the girls get excited every year to participate, but this year meant even more to us as our nation has begun openly embracing anti-islamic sentiments.
since our time in malaysia back in 2012 (you can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and a few other places...), hijab has become a normal part of the girls' lives. you can check out my instagram account and see that on any given day, you may find them playing dress up in hijab.
once, ama was wearing a head covering and i asked her who she was pretending to be, and she answered very seriously saying that she was a doctor. i asked her how she felt wearing her hijab and she responded, "very powerful."
my heart melted.
to her, it made perfect sense that she could simply be playing as a doctor while wear hijab because there are millions of doctors around the world who wear the covering.
in our western society, women in hijab are usually portrayed as oppressed, abused, controlled and desperately needing to be set free by our western standards, never realizing that there are so many powerful muslim women who are hijabis.
to my girls, hijabis are their malaysian aunties who own businesses, have PhDs in medicine, are famous motivational speakers and humanitarians. they are also their somali aunties who are entrepreneurs and own henna shops in the somali mall; the ones who greet them with warm hugs and huge smiles every time we pop in for a henna session and a visit.
hijabis are the beautiful women in the middle east whose lavish wedding photos they love googling to find inspiration for their own one-day nuptials. they are glamourous women that they saw in harrods buying chanel makeup and purses, with their perfectly manicured nails. they are the heads of state like benazir bhutto and local politicians like ilhan omar.
they see muslim women as they see themselves: strong, beautiful, powerful, talented, creative, capable, intelligent, opinionated, loving and kind.
this past WHD, lili proudly stood up before her entire school to show off her hijab after her teacher explained why she was wearing it. i was proud of her, too.
loving one's neighbor as one loves one's own self is one of the most fundamental teachings of Jesus. it is this biblical command that both inspires and convicts me to raise my children to love and understand others.
one's solidarity must go deeper than just covering one's heads for a day, though. we must be willing to put our own selves on the line -whatever that may mean- for those who look and think and believe differently than ourselves...