_ (via The City for All Women Initiative) _ The City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), a local Ottawa organization committed to promoting inclusive communities, is co-sponsoring an event on February 25th to provide a space for city residents to learn more about the choices Muslim women make and the impact of those choices on their sense of well-being and safety.
“Visibly Muslim women are more often likely the targets of anti-Muslim hatred, and in Ottawa, several women have been verbally and physically attacked,” says Suzanne Doerge, Director, CAWI. “The Ottawa Hijab Solidarity Day is meant to provide an opportunity for local Muslim women to share their experiences with fellow city residents and to feel both safe and welcome.” ** ** ** “Ottawa Hijab Solidarity Day”: February 25, 2016, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Councillor’s ** ** Lounge, at Ottawa City Hall. ** At this reception, people are welcome to come and hear from Muslim women who wear hijab about what it means to them. There will be an opportunity for women who choose to try on a hijab to do so.
Media are welcome to interview organizers and interested participants at the event; cameras are welcome to stay for the introductory remarks by organizers, as well as Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau, and a spoken word artist.
“We realize there are many misunderstandings about women’s choices to wear the hijab, so we want to create a space where Muslim women who wear this clothing can share their personal experiences. In this way, we learn from each other and address common misconceptions and stereotypes,” adds Entisar Yusuf, a CAWI member.
“It is incredibly important that women of all backgrounds feel safe in Ottawa,” says Erin Leigh, Executive Director of the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), a co-sponsor of the event. “Islamophobia and harassment of women for what they wear is never okay.”
Other co-sponsors of the event include Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) and the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres (CHRC).
A number of community health centres will also be encouraging staff who wear the hijab to share their experiences with their colleagues as well. The entire initiative will be captured on social media with the hashtag #hijabsolidarity.