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Muslim in Japan Celebrate Hijab and Its Role in Empowering Women

The Japan World Hijab Day Conference 2023 was held on February 25th, 2023, at AN Language School’s 8th and 9th floors in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district. This conference aimed to promote understanding and acceptance of the hijab that brought together Muslim women from all over Japan, as well as experts in Islamic studies and culture.

The first session of the conference was a talk show called “Being Unapologetic Hijabi: The Day I Decided to Put on My Hijab.” It featured three speakers: Malaysian artist Mizz Nina, Japan Jannah Joshikai‘s Mrs. Sara Chikako, and Japanese Revert/Educator Mrs. Nur Arisa Maryam. The speakers shared their personal experiences with wearing the hijab, especially in Japan, where Muslims are a minority.

First session’s speakers: (left to right) Nur Arisa Maryam, Sara Chikako, Mizz Nina

According to Mrs. Sara Chikako and Mrs. Nur Arisa Maryam, the hijab became their precious identity, and people around them could acknowledge them easily. Mizz Nina and Mrs. Chikako emphasized that wearing the hijab is about confidence, as Muslim women wear it to please Allah and not to conform to society’s expectations.

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The second conference session was a talk show called “Progression, Not Oppression: The Status of Women in Islam.” It featured three speakers: Japan Muslim Community’s Imam Sheikh Ahmad Maeno, Prof. Dr. Zaharuddin, and Ustadha Dunia Shuaib. The speakers discussed how the hijab enhances women’s power and supports their progression.

Second session’s speakers: (from left to right) Ustadha Dunia Shuaib, Prof. Dr. Zaharuddin, Sheikh Ahmad Maeno

Sheikh Ahmad Maeno added that the perspective of men and women in Japan is improving these years, and the Japanese have strong roots in the perspective of “take care of the eyes of people.” However, in Islam, we don’t need to care about what others think, as the only “eyes” we should take care of are Allah’s.

Apart from the talk shows, the conference also had an exhibition venue, prayer room, and a kid’s room on the 8th floor. The exhibition displayed books and hijabs, featuring Al-Qur’an in Japanese, books written by Ustadha Dunia Shuaib, books about Islam in Japanese for kids, and a collection of hijabs by the Malaysian brand “Tudung People.”

Al-Qur’an with Japanese translation

Hijab exhibit by Tudung People Japan

Kids were welcome to join the conference, and parents could leave them in the kid’s room, where they could engage in monitored activities while their parents attended the conference.

In conclusion, the Japan World Hijab Day Conference 2023 was a significant event that aimed to educate and raise awareness about the hijab and the status of women in Islam. It provided a platform for individuals to share their experiences and insights, encouraging attendees to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Muslim culture.

The event’s success proves that Japan is moving towards a more inclusive and diverse society, promoting mutual respect and understanding for all cultures and religions.