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The surprise place where hijab can spell trouble

Dalia AnanSymbol copyright
Dalia Anan

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Dalia says she was once refused access to 2 eating places on account of her hijab

“It’s more straightforward to be sporting hijab in London than Cairo.” That is how 47-year-old Dalia Anan describes her enjoy as a girl sporting the Islamic scarf – often referred to as hijab – in London in comparison to her fatherland in Egypt.

Dalia, an engineer who works within the IT business, moved to the United Kingdom two years in the past to be along with her kids, who’re finding out in London.

“I think judged in Egypt greater than I do right here,” she says.

However this was once now not at all times the case.

Egypt, whose inhabitants is predominantly Muslim, was once a welcoming area for ladies who selected to put on hijab.

However for the previous few years this has been converting, particularly for ladies from the higher elegance.

“After a undeniable time within the night, you aren’t allowed into some eating places or what are considered ‘cool’ puts, particularly within the north coast,” Dalia says.

‘Low elegance’

The north coast motels alongside the Mediterranean Sea are Cairenes’ primary vacation spot all over summer time vacations and shall be their go-to position all over the Eid pageant which marks the top of Ramadan.

Dalia says she was once denied access into two high-end eating places in one of the crucial north coast’s most sensible motels ultimate summer time on account of her hijab.

For Cairo’s higher elegance hijab-wearing ladies that is all too acquainted.

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Dina Hisham

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The hijab has transform related to decrease categories, says Dina Hisham

Dina Hisham, a 23-year-old Egyptian dwelling in Canada, says: “I by no means imagined that during Egypt, I must enquire upfront about whether or not a undeniable position permits ladies sporting hijab or now not.”

A number of ladies additionally reported now not being allowed to swim with the full-body “burkini” suit or scuba diving fits in some motels.

“The issue is that hijab has transform subconsciously categorized as ‘low elegance’, and, therefore, it’s banned in puts that cater completely for the excessive elegance,” says Dina, who research Kinesiology at York College in Toronto.

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In Egypt, Dina explains, “excessive elegance now refers to people who have some huge cash, discuss English fairly than Arabic and are ‘open minded’, this means that they drink alcohol and put on revealing garments”.

In spite of repeated requests for a reaction from the institutions which the interviewees stated didn’t permit the hijab, none had been approaching.

‘Surviving Hijab’

And it isn’t as regards to being barred from positive puts. Whilst maximum Muslim ladies in Egypt put on the hijab, some are discovering it tricky to deal with the rising peer drive.

All the ones I spoke to stated more and more Cairo’s higher elegance are commencing the hijab, they usually stated those that are nonetheless sporting it ceaselessly get wondered about why they nonetheless have it on.

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Manal Rostom arrange a Fb team to assist individuals who sought after to put on the hijab

Egyptian Manal Rostom, a scientific pharmacist and Nike’s first hijabi style, calls it “the anti-hijab technology”.

“All my pals and family members took it off and saved telling me I used to be the one one left sporting it.

“I were given provoked, and since I don’t need any person to debris with my thoughts took the verdict to arrange ‘Surviving Hijab’,” says 38-year-old Manal, who’s primarily based in Dubai.

The Surviving Hijab Fb team was once introduced as a closed team in 2014 with the purpose of supporting ladies around the globe who’re sporting the hijab, occupied with sporting it and even took it off and are suffering as a result of they wish to put it on once more.

The gang now has over 620,000 feminine contributors, most commonly from Egypt.

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Ranya Essam

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The Surviving Hijab team has loads of 1000’s of contributors

Manal says the gang proved a hit as a result of “clearly there was once a necessity for such platform”.

“Ladies had been fearful of talking up about issues they face in the case of hijab… the gang supplied them with the chance to talk up and lean on every different.”

Manal says she hopes group reaches the degree the place it does now not subject whether or not anyone wears the hijab or now not.


The stigma of sporting hijab amongst Egypt’s higher elegance was once additionally one of the crucial major drivers for the #MyChoice social media marketing campaign that was once introduced in Would possibly.

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A social media marketing campaign has been introduced to beef up ladies who make a choice to put on the hijab

One of the crucial marketing campaign’s co-founders, 30-year-old Heba Mansour, says she had “a cultural surprise” when she moved to Egypt 3 years in the past after dwelling in another country along with her circle of relatives.

“You’re mocked and downgraded on account of the hijab,” says Heba, who works as a senior modern adviser on the American College in Cairo and simply finished her Masters level in instructional management.

“Such scenarios made me really feel more potent about the entire marketing campaign,” she says.

The marketing campaign that runs all over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan options the tales of 19 hijab-wearing ladies below the English hashtag #MyChoice.

“Members constitute good fortune tales in numerous sectors… to ship the message that hijab isn’t a disadvantage and to inform different ladies: Don’t let any person pass judgement on you according to the way you glance,” says Heba.

“We’re doing this marketing campaign for one goal. To inform different ladies ‘you aren’t by myself’.”

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