The truth about the Hijab

By Geoff Lee

December 22, 2015 8:29 AM

Tina Bogucky, right, is fitted with a hijab by her friend Rafiqa Hina at a Je Suis Hijabi awareness event at Lakeland College last Thursday.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim women’s association is out to defuse some politically charged misconceptions about the hijab or headscarf arising from the fallout of recent terror attacks in the U.S. and Paris.
The Lloydminster branch of the association launched a local version of a national awareness campaign called Je Suis Hijabi, meaning I am a Muslim woman who wears the hijab.
The local group invited women from all faiths to try on a hijab covering at Lakeland College last Thursday.
“The main purpose of this campaign is to tell the people about what hijab is,” said Rizwana Ahmad president of the local Ahmadiyya.
“It’s a Muslim women’s identity.”
Je Suis Hijabi is spreading across the country in response to some hate based crimes reported in Canada against hijabi wearing women.
The local group brought dozens of hijabs and scarfs to Lakeland for any woman to try on.
“We launched a campaign where women can come and actually experience it,” said Ahmad.
“They can talk, they can ask questions and understand.”
Tina Bogucky, a stay-at-home mom from Kitscoty, came try on a hijab with help from here Muslim friend Rafiqa Hina with the right effect.
“It felt pretty good. It’s a nice and cozy and I can feel how it feels secure to them,” said Bogucky.
“It was really nice and it made me look pretty.”
Mubarika Ahmed an outreach member of the Lloydminster Ahmadiyya said hijabi women are following one of 700 commands in the Koran by wearing the head covering.
She said there are two reasons why a Muslim lady wears a hijab including a physical one to cover their beauty with a piece of cloth and a spiritual purpose to show modesty.
“There is no religion that hasn’t asked its followers to cover up in a certain way to show modesty,“said Ahmed.
“So Islam is doing the same thing. It’s all to show modesty.”
Mubarika Ahmed is one of more 80 Ahmadiyya Muslim women in Lloydminster with chapters registered in 207 countries.
The association is an auxiliary of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat (assembly) Canada for women aged 15 and over.
The women’s auxiliary educates its members to live according to Islamic teachings and serve their fellow human beings with love. 
“It’s a peace loving organization. The motto is love for all, hatred for none,” said Ahmed.
Bogucky was definitely feeling the love at Lakeland where she was asked what she would like to say to all men and women in the area about hijabi women.
“We are all people. We all feel. We are all the same,” she said.
“Just because we look different and maybe have a different belief doesn’t mean that we are any less or any more than anyone else.”
Ahmed said when people link hijabi wearing women to extremism and then to terrorism that is very wrong.
“That is where misconception results in vandalizing mosques; it results in staring; it results in name calling,” she said.
The misconception led to an uptick in reported hate crimes in Ontario which prompted the Canada wide Je Suis Hijabi campaign
“That’s why we are here to clear these misconceptions and provide an open ground where people can come and talk and ask questions,” said Ahmed.
“Communication is the best way to remove fear.”
The group said it hadn’t encountered any incidents of hatred towards hijabi Muslims in Lloydminster where the Ahmadiyya see the Je Suis Hijabi event as being educational and preventative.
“Lloydminster has been a really good community —it has always supported us from the very start,” said Ahmed, who singled out political support from Lloydminster Saskatchewan MLA Colleen Young.
Young dropped by the hijab information booth where she was presented with a hijab to wear and speak about her efforts to help dispel some of the myths around the hijab at the event.
“The key message, said Young, is it’s part of their culture and part of their history.
“It’s a good way for us to have a better understanding of the differences in cultures and traditions that people hold in different parts of our society.”
Those like Young who dropped by the booth were invited to take away an information pamphlet or sign their name to a board of support.
Young said the feedback she’s gotten about the Muslim community in her travels has been nothing but good so far.
“We have a very open and understanding community and I think the people in our community respect their culture as they respect ours,” she said.

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