London – A group of Muslim women have taken part in a powerful video display of solidarity to demand police keep their #HandsOffOurHijabs.
This follows a milestone victory by ‘Asiyah’, a Muslim woman supported by Cage, who won a judicial review against the police after she was forced to remove her hijab during a Schedule 7 stop at Heathrow.
The campaign draws into sharp focus the Islamophobic nature of Schedule 7 stops, this time for Muslim women especially.
Leanne Mohammed, a British Palestinian Poet who wrote an exclusive poem for this campaign, said:
“My motivation to write this poem was sparked by my frustration upon hearing the stories of innocent Muslim women who endured the violations of Schedule 7. The reality is that their experience could have happened to any of us. Nobody should have to go through this discriminatory and humiliating process. We must have the courage to challenge this Islamophobic policy.”
“To me, the Hijab is more than just a scarf worn over my head. It reminds me of who I am and what I live for. My Hijab is my symbol of my faith and has become a part of my identity. I am proud to be identified as a woman who practices the religion Islam and I am proud that many identify me as a Muslim simply through my Hijab. My Hijab defines me – my modesty, my dignity, and the way I carry myself every single day. I choose to wear my hijab with my head held high and my Hijab is a sign of my strength and a signature of my self respect.”
Shahina who took part in the video, said of her reasons for taking part:
“I travel a lot and I have felt intimidated during checks in airports, especially when I am selected to be thoroughly checked as the only hijabi in the queue. This is now getting out of hand and I need to stand up with my sisters so this does not happen again.”
Naila Ahmed, Casework Manager at CAGE, said:
“We commend all the women who are speaking out as part of our HandsoffOurHijabs campaign. It is a damning indictment of the discriminatory Schedule 7 policy that Muslim women are not safe from the Islamophobic prejudices of officers at UK borders.”
“We have seen widespread solidarity following ‘Asiyah’s’ legal victory. It emphasises how important this issue is for Muslim women and the wider Muslim community.
“We have written to the APPG on British Muslims to intervene and act immediately. Muslim women must face the prospect of Islamophobic attacks on the streets, and having their hijabs ripped off. They should not also have to contend with the same abuse at the hands of border police who seem to be at the frontline of institutional Islamophobia. ”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)