The House committee on Muslim affairs has approved a measure declaring the first day of February as “National Hijab Day.”
A hijab, said the bill’s author, committee chair Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, is not just a piece of cloth, but a way of life for Muslim women.
“In the Muslim holy book the Qur-an, it is obligatory upon every Muslim woman to guard their chastity and modesty,” Hataman said in a statement.
House Bill 968 defines a hijab as “a veil that covers the head and chest, which is particularly worn by a Muslim female beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family” and can also refer to any head, face, or body covering.
The declaration of a National Hijab Day, the bill says, aims to encourage all women to experience wearing the covering and remove misconceptions associated with its use.
“There are those who think that these women [who wear hijabs] are being forced, oppressed and worse, they are being labeled as terrorists,” Hataman said.
With the observance of a special day for hijabs, she hopes that non-Muslims will have a deeper understanding of their traditions, such as the wearing of a hijab to preserve modesty and dignity.
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos will be tasked to lead the promotion and activities during the celebration.
National Hijab Day is inspired by its international version, which was first held on February 1, 2013.
The World Hijab Day was founded by Nazma Khan, who hopes to educate people on the reasons Muslim women wear the hijab and wipe the stigma attached to the practice.