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House panel approves 'National Hijab Day'

The House committee on Muslim affairs approved on Thursday House Bill 968, authored by Anak Mindanao partylist Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, which aims to raise awareness on misconceptions about wearing a hijab. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives' Muslim committee approved on Thursday House Bill 968 which seeks to declare February 1 "National Hijab Day."

In a statement on Thursday, Anak Mindanao partylist Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, author of the bill, said that the aim of the bill is raise awareness on misconceptions about wearing a hijab.

"Hijab women have been facing several challenges across the globe. There are reports that our Muslim Hijabis experienced cruelty and oppression," Turabin-Hataman said.

A "hijab" is a veil that covers the head and chest by Muslim female in front of adult males outside of their family while a "hijabi" refers to a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

She added that women who wear the head covering continue to experience discrimination and maltreatment around the world because people do not understand the significance of the hijab.

"The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed," Turabin-Hataman said.

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The bill also aims to stop discrimination against Muslim hijabis and to protect the freedom of religion and right to practice religion.

She noted that in the United States, Muslim women became victims of ill-treatment and robbery after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States by a terror organization. Muslim students were then forced to remove their hijab to comply with school rules and regulations.

"We hope to foster deeper respect and understanding among and between Filipinos of varying cultures and faith toward national unity and peace," Turabin-Hataman said.

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