Monday, 5 November 2012

The Purple Hijab Day



In 2009 Aasiya Zubair Hassan (co-founder of Bridges TV), was murdered by her husband Muzzamil Hassan.

Aasiya and Muzzamil, both founders and owners of Bridges TV, had been married for eight years, and although on the surface they seemed to have what some would perceive as being the ‘perfect marriage’, behind closed doors, the reality of their union was in fact quite the reverse.

Six days after being served with divorce papers, on February 12, 2009, Muzzamil allegedly murdered his wife mercilessly by decapitation, in the office of their television network.

He then called the local police to report her death, admitting to the crime for which he was subsequently arrested and charged with second degree murder.

The topic of domestic violence within the Muslim community has always been sensitive. As Muslims living in the West, we are continuously faced with negative representations of Muslims and Islam. Muslim men are often times regarded by non Muslims as overbearing, and tyrannical, and the women as being forced into submission and subservience by their controlling husbands or fathers.

In an attempt to counteract these generalized stereotypes, Muslims in communities across America have at times ignored issues of domestic abuse as a way of avoiding even more negative attention. The murder of Aasiya Zubair was, for many, a wake up call.

This dreadful act was shocking and saddened many in the community and people began to be more open, discussing issues surrounding domestic abuse. It has to be said though, that prior to this, a number of dedicated Muslims have been in the trenches and very much involved in the prevention of domestic violence.

Imam Johari Abdul Malik is a prime example and a dynamic force within the Muslim communities across America for his support work. In his wordpress blog the Imam who is based out of Washington D.C said:

“The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – who is the best example never beat his wives. The Qur’an calls upon men to be maintainers and protectors of women and this is a religion of expressing God’s love (rahma) and being kind to one’s spouse.”
Imam Johari is also a part of the Atlanta based organization, Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence. The group is working in conjunction with Baitul Salaam Network also based in Atlanta to put together the International Purple Hijab Day event, a prayer vigil in commemoration of Aasiya Zubair and other victims of domestic abuse who have lost their lives.

Hadayai Majeed, co-founder and administrator of Baitual Salaam Network explained to me the reason why a Purple Hijab was used as the symbol and title of the event, saying:
"...International Purple Hijab Day, Saturday, February 13, 2010 is a day to reflect on the deaths which have resulted from domestic violence. purple hijab is an apt reference for this phenomenon. The hijab or head scarf is a symbol of the modesty and piety associated with Muslim womanhood. Purple is a color associated with mourning. Hopefully, a purple hijab will bring to mind what is important for us to remember. "

Hadayai went on to say that, . “We have a very serious problem of domestic abuse, both nationally and internationally, that we as a community need to face head-on and work together to eradicate."

The organizers are appealing to everyone to show their support by wearing an item of purple or lavender clothing, which is the international color of domestic violence advocacy, and people throughout the community irrespective of faith are being encouraged to unify and pray for an end to domestic violence.
Domestic violence is prevalent in our community just as it is all over the world. Some women have the courage to speak out and exit from such situations, but many suffer in silence and bear the brutal brunt of their partner. 

Domestic violence is not subject to colour, class, social standing, or gender. Men and Women are equally caught in abusive relationships. And I wish to stress that although with physical abuse the scars are visible, with emotional abuse you never see the depth of pain. While physical scars heal with time, emotional scars remain and never completely heal.
Durban Muslima announces the launch of their Purple Hijab Campaign in Feb 2013.

Watch this space for more information.... Join hands with Durban Muslima in our campaign in creating awareness of Domestic Violence & Abuse.

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