World Hijab Day ceases operations in Singapore

World Hijab Day ceases operations in Singapore

The celebration of World Hijab Day (WHD) yesterday turned out to be a controversial affair in Singapore with the country's representative declaring having to "cease operations" today.

Singapore's WHD ambassador Seri Fatmawati Hambali posted a final status update on the official Singapore WHD Facebook page today, citing difficulties such as continued pressure and scrutiny from the Singapore government.

Her statement specifically highlighted the difficulty the Singapore WHD group faced "during ground research and meet ups", and of "members of the group receiving threats that being involved may jeopardise their livelihood and affect their families".

Seri Fatmawati called for understanding and hoped everyone would continue to spread awareness despite the "shutdown".

Singapore is the only country where the event was met with resistance.

The World Hijab Day celebration sees women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, around the world donning the hijab and posting their pictures online.

Its founder, a young New Yorker named Nazma Khan, said that the objective of the day was to allay some of the myths and controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab.

In a live interview with The Huffington Post, Nazma said she wished to foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women, either Muslim or non-Muslim, to experience the hijab for one day.

Celebrations were modest in Malaysia, as Selangor ambassador Murshidah Said joined Nazma Khan in the live interview while participants gathered near Sunway Pyramid Mall, with locals and foreigners trying on the hijab for the occasion, as shown in the Malaysia WHD Facebook page.

According to the World Hijab Day website, many countries have appointed ambassadors for the celebration, including the United States, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Brunei, India, Lebanon. – February 2, 2014.