Shaima Alwadi, a 32-year-old observant Muslim mother of five living in San Diego, was found beaten and unconscious on March 21 in her own home. Her daughter found her lying next to a note that reportedly labeled Alwadi as a terrorist. On March 24, she died of the injuries. Police are still investigating, but the murder is being identified by many as a hate crime.
In the days following, women across the country — and world — have come together in protest, largely on Facebook, forming a group called “One Million Hijabs For Shaima Alawadi.” In the group, women – both Muslim and not – post pictures of themselves wearing hijabs to show solidarity with Alwadi and the female Muslim community at large. The concept takes a cue from the Trayvon Martin protests, in which protestors wore hoodies to support the 17-year-old who was killed while wearing a hooded sweatshirt. As “One Million Hijabs” explains in its description, “There should not be an outfit that screams ‘kill me!’ Hoodie or hijab, this needs to stop.”
Here are ten of the many, many diverse women who have posted their photos and stories on the group’s page.
“My hijab represents the fact that I am a Muslim…before I covered people had no idea I was a Muslim and had no problem with me, since I have covered people have treated me differently, over a piece of cloth…it doesn’t change who I am, just what I choose to look like.” - Tina
“I am a Theologian with a focus on Christian-Muslim Understanding, as well as religious fundamentalism and extremism. My daughter took this picture of me when she and I were in Old Delhi, India - at the Great Mosque - 2010. I covered to show my respect and honor a religion not my own.” - Karen
“I am a white American, a Presbyterian, a lesbian, married to my wife for 9 years, mother to a son and a daughter. I put on this hijab as a symbol that I believe we are all obligated, as human beings, to nurture respect and tolerance, and that we must raise our voices against hatred, fear, ignorance, and violence.” - Liza