Billboards promoting the Islamic hijab head covering have been erected along major freeways in Chicago in an effort to educate the public, informing people that the garment is an symbol of “respect, honor and respect.”
The billboards are planned to remain up for six weeks, and claim that Mary, the mother of Jesus also wore a hijab. A phone number is provided in large letters on the billboard if people have questions about Islam.
CBS Chicago reported:
Kiran Malik says when her daughter, Imaan, wanted to wear a hijab to high school, she had one question.
“I was like, are you sure? I was afraid. I was afraid for her.”
Malik knew from her own experience what might follow. One driver, upon seeing her wearing the garment, attempted to force Malik off the road one time.
“Right on 59 in Streamwood. He drove me into oncoming traffic with my kids in the car, spewing out words, like, ‘go back to your country,’” she said.
Instances such as these are why Malik, along with other members of the Muslim group GainPeace, wanted the billboards, to demonstrate the hijab as a symbol of empowerment and devotion to their religion.
The hope is to dispel what they call negative stereotypes about Muslim women.
“I choose to wear the hijab so I follow the command of God,” said Sara Barday, a GainPeace member. “Wearing the hijab is 100 percent my choice. As contrary to the popular believe, hijab in no way oppresses us.”