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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

August-20-13

Swedish Women Wear Hijab in Protest of Hate Crime

Women in Sweden have started to wear hijabs in public in response to an attack against a pregnant Muslim woman.

Over the weekend, a Muslim woman wearing the hijab had her scarf ripped off and her head slammed into a car. Her attacker shouted racist slurs, prompting the authorities to consider the case a hate crime. She was hospitalized with a concussion, and her case prompted other women to come forward about attacks they themselves have suffered based on their beliefs.

In solidarity, other Swedish women have started to wear the hijab in public and posting photos to Twitter with the hashtag #hijabuppropet (#hijaboutcry). The campaign has been joined by politicians Asa Romson and Veronica Palm and TV host Gina Dirawi. Dirawi, who even changed her profile picture is support, tweeted: "Risk of being beaten and discriminated against for how they choose to dress, everyday life for many women in Sweden 2013."

Men have also joined the campaign, wearing headscarves and tweeting their support. One male supporter tweeted: "Yes wear veils today to show solidarity for all women, are put up with harassment and attacks!"

In an opinion piece published in Aftonbladet by #hijauppropet organizers, that demanded that Justice Minister Beatrice Ask and Swedish lawmakers "ensure that Swedish Muslim women are guaranteed the right to personal safety and religious freedom, without being subject to verbal and physical attacks."

"In addition, we demand that responsible politicians actively draw attention to and fight the structural discrimination that affects Muslim women," they wrote. "We believe that's reason enough in a country where the number of reported hate crimes against Muslims is on the rise - and where women tie their headscarves extra tight so that it won't get ripped off - for the prime minister and other politicians to take action to stop the march of fascism."

Minister Ask has agreed to meet with the campaign members on Tuesday, and told reporters the situation "must be taken very seriously."

No arrests have yet been made in the case.

Media Resources: Al Jazeera 8/20/2013; BBC 8/19/2013; The Local 8/19/2013


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