World Hijab Day was celebrated in Kyiv ICC on February 2, so working women also got the chance to take part in it.
Not only Muslimahs gathered on the mosque second floor, but also women belonging to other religions, who were greedy to learn what the hijab meant for Muslimahs and their reasons for defending the right to wear it. The Salpagarov sisters, Asiyat and Elmira, who are the activists at the Maryam women's organisation, told the audience about the history of the hijab and the traditions of Muslim peoples.
Susana Islyamova started off the event by traditional reading the translation of one Quran’s ayat. One of the youngest guests read it in Arabic, so the guests got an opportunity to hear it in the source language.
The organizers prepared not just lectures, but stories about the reasons and goals to establish World Hijab Day; about successful Muslim women, wearing the hijab, who had achieved considerable success in public, political, business or academic careers. All these stories were illustrated with a slide show and video clips presentations. The activists made sure the ICC guests learned not only about the types of kerchiefs, like hijab, niqab, burqa, or paranja - but also took part in handkerchief tying workshops, after which some non-Muslim women stayed in headscarves in solidarity with Muslim women.
A fashion show of various styles, as smart, sports, evening, casual, festive, completely denied a common misconception that women's Muslim clothing was totally uninteresting, baggy, and gloomy. All these looks were created in accordance with religious precepts. Therefore, some guests admitted that really broke down their stereotypes, when they realized that Muslim women's clothing could be modern, fashionable, beautiful, and, at the same time, modest and feminine.
At the events held by Kyiv ICC activists, master classes in henna painting on hands - mehendi are always very popular among the visitors. And this time the guests’ expectations were fully justified: the girls and women mastered the basic skills of this art, learned about traditional ornaments from different countries and the meaning of the drawing elements. The experienced craftswomen decorated their palms with exquisite patterns.
Nobody left empty-handed. At the Center’s entrance, the guests were welcomed and given candies. At the end of the event the raffle of gifts was held, so every woman won a souvenir.
The pleasant end of the Hijab Day was a face-to-face talk between Muslim women and guests of the ICC in a warm atmosphere over a cup of coffee or tea with sweets and even a “special cake”.
It should be pointed out that the majority of non-Muslims, participated at the event, came to express solidarity with Muslim women, who sometimes faced discrimination, because of wearing the hijab. But there were many of those, who came here, due to a sincere and long-standing interest in the history, culture and traditions of Muslims. This is confirmed by their desire to learn the languages of the Islamic world nations. Among them are students from the language courses at Salam Center, operating under the Kyiv ICC. We will tell about their impressions and thoughts in the following articles.