February 16th Muslim Women Remember Victims of Domestic Violence
Today is Purple Hijab Day. This day has emerged as an initiative of Muslim women in the United States to raise awareness about domestic violence and renew our commitment to fight against all forms of aggression, oppression and threats that jeopardizes the integrity and rights of Muslim women and non-Muslim women in the world.
The date recalls the murder of Asiya Hassan, Zubair as single, who was with her husband Muzzamil Hassan, founder of the first Islamic television channel for english speakers in the United States, Bridges TV.
Zubair was an architect in training. Concerned about the negative perceptions towards Muslims, she "felt that there should be a media for Americans Muslims where their children could grow up feeling very strong about their identity" and she came up with the idea of Bridges TV. Also, she studied an MBA at the University of the State of New York College at Buffalo from 2007 to 2009.
In February of 2009 Zuhair Asiya's body was found beheaded in the State of New York, after her own husband informed to the police where to find it. The crime was described by Marcia Pappas, then president of the National Association of Women as an "honor killing" a "murder rooted in cultural beliefs of subordination of women to men." In my opinion, it was a femicide, because the idea that women are subordinated to men and that these have power over those is not a particular feature of the Arabs or Muslims, is a universal belief common to all cultures.
The Purple Hijab Day is a day to reflect on the deaths that have resulted from domestic violence. A purple or violet headscarf is a suitable reference for this phenomenon. The headscarf is a symbol of identity for Muslim women. The color purple is a color associated with the struggles of women for their rights. A purple scarf is a message of mercy and bring to mind what is important to remember. To be aware that no woman is free of becoming a victim of domestic violence and that this is not a exclusive problem of one culture or religion only.
We also remember, for example, Sandeela Kawal whose body was found strangled in her bed in Jonesboro, Georgia, after someone in his family called police early in the morning of July 6, 2008. These are just two of the 11 confirmed cases of death in the U.S. of Muslim women killed by members of the family. But also in Canada, UK and other Western countries the phenomenon extends inside the Muslim community as well worldwide.
So, this day belongs not only to Muslim women but to all women. This is a day we meet to support the survivors of domestic violence around the world, find ways to work together and remind those who have lost a loved one due to domestic violence.
This day is coordinated by Baitul Salaam Network, Inc. an American Muslim organization that works for awareness on domestic violence that has called for everyone in the Muslim community in the U.S. and abroad to reflect on the deaths for domestic violence in the Muslim community here in the U.S. and worldwide. "We have a very serious problem of domestic violence, both here and internationally, that we as a community need to face straight on and work to eradicate" says Hadayai Majeed, co-founder and manager of the organization.