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Hijab among educated women on rapid rise in Bangladesh

  • Users say despite deprivation, they get spiritual peace, respect with hijab.

Using the hijab among educated women is on a rapid rise in Bangladesh, according to users of the Muslim head covering and scholars, En.haberler.com reported.

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Combined social, cultural, and religious values are contributing to the growing popularity of Islamic culture in the South Asian Muslim majority country of nearly 170 million.

On the eve of World Hijab Day which is being celebrated February 1, many top-educated hijab users in Bangladesh are claiming that the hijab is not only a religious obligation but millions of females across the world have realized that it beautifies and dignifies women.

A Bengali-born woman in the US, Nazma Khan, introduced World Hijab Day in 2013 to put the hijab, at least for one day, as a counter to the discriminatory and ridiculous attitudes against the hijab users because of Islamophobia.

A senior executive at one of Bangladesh’s top book publishers told Anadolu Agency that in the last decade there has been a tremendous change in Bangladeshis attitude toward the hijab.

“Now, the hijab is considered to be good culture. So it is not only important to me religiously, but also socially and culturally,” said Sumiya Binta Karim.

“Since my teenage years, I have been using hijab as a family tradition and still now practice it as my honor and faith,” said the graduate from Bangladesh pioneering academic facility, Dhaka University,

“Though in my life I have occasionally faced ridiculous comments for hijab from different quarters but in most cases my surrounding people and classmates have always shown respect to me and I always feel comfortable with it,” she noted.

Changing minds

Due to the massive spread of western culture and in the guise of removing male-female disparity, misconceptions have grown about the hijab and some people brand it as backdated, uncultured and discriminatory to females.

“Alhamdulillah, (All praise is due to Allah) the situation has been changed a lot and even many ultra-modern females are using the hijab as a part of their fashion and beautiful dress code,” Nahiun Fairuz Nazifa, a medical student at Dhaka’s Sir Salimullah Medical College told Anadolu Agency.

Nazifa said it is a common trend worldwide that whenever anything seems to be contradictory to the western culture, there is heavy propaganda against it.

“I consider the hijab as a way for me that not only plays a role like a shield, but it also helps to gain Allah’s satisfaction,” she said.

“Unfortunately, still some teachers at different universities and medical colleges show derogatory attitude to the students with the hijab,” said Nazifa, adding that despite the barriers, the number of hijab users has been rising swiftly.

A student of Islamic history and culture at Dhaka University, Khadizatul Kobra said negative responses to hijab users by teachers are unexpected.

“We always expect the best attitude from our teachers. But some of them compare the hijab as contradictory to the progressive world,” she said, adding that the hijab is currently one of the most popular styles and fashions in Bangladesh.

Mostly unwelcomed in news media

Jabalun Noor, a former newsroom editor at private television channel, Diganta Television, which was closed in 2013, said the hijab is not welcomed at almost all television channels in Bangladesh — a country with a population that identifies with more than 90% as Muslim.

“After shutting Diganta Television, I tried for a job at nearly two dozen private television channels in Bangladesh but failed to manage due to my hijab,” Noor told Anadolu Agency, adding that during that time new staff without the hijab were recruited.

“Females with all types of dresses are allowed in the television channels but unfortunately the hijab is not appreciated,” said Noor, who currently works as a freelancer.

Assistant professor in the department of world religions and culture in Dhaka University, Md. Abdullah Al Mahmud, said secularists in different sectors in Bangladesh try to discourage the hijab very tactfully.

“Most of the people in Bangladesh are very pious by birth. So those secularists are not courageous enough to directly say anything against the hijab and they disturb hijab users through different tricks,” Mahmud told Anadolu Agency.

He added that even secular teachers at Dhaka University, as well as other universities, give poor marks to hijab users intentionally. “It’s like killing in different ways without using hands,” he said.

Mahmud noted that Turkish mega series have played a vital role in the rapid spread of hijab culture in Bangladesh.

“The hijab used by female actresses in different Turkish mega serials has a very positive impact among tens of thousands of educated Bangladeshi females,” he said, adding that the issue has turned into “a spiritual infection.”

“When one looks nice in a hijab, others are rapidly infected with it and I have positively termed it as ‘spiritual infection’.”

“When a female observes that after using the hijab people look at her with respect instead of usual sensual eyeing, she feels a spiritual peace along with safety,” according to Mahmud. –

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