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Swedes don hijab to support Muslim woman

Swedish men and women post photos online in solidarity with woman who was attacked apparently for wearing headscarf.

Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 14:17
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Campaign organisers want to raise awareness of the harassment women wearing headscarves face in Sweden [AFP]

Scores of Swedish women from various faiths have posted pictures of themselves wearing hijab, or traditional Muslim headscarves, in solidarity with a woman attacked in a Stockholm suburb, apparently for wearing one.

Police spokesman Ulf Hoffman said an unknown assailant had attacked the pregnant woman in the suburb of Farsta on Friday by banging her head against a car.

Hoffman said the man shouted slurs which have led police to believe the attack was motivated by the woman's religion.

Using hashtag #hijabuppropet (hijab outcry) women posted their photos in headscarves on the social networking sites Twitter and Instagram.

Swedish television host Gina Dirawi and politician Veronica Palm are some of the notable figures who expressed solidarity with #hijabuppropet.

Green Party leader, Asa Romson, went as far as to change her Twitter profile picture, in support of the campaign. 

“Risk of being beaten and discriminated against for how they choose to dress, everyday life for many women in Sweden 2013” Romson said on her twitter account.

Personal safety

Some men also supported the campaign posting photos in which they covered their heads.

Joel Almorth tweeted: "Yes wear veils today to show solidarity for all women, are put up with harassment and attacks!"

In an opinion piece published in the Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet,  on Sunday, the organisers of "hijabuppropet" urged Justice Minister Beatrice Ask to take measures to "ensure that Swedish Muslim women are guaranteed the right to personal safety and religious freedom, without being subject to verbal and physical attacks".

"In addition, we demand that responsible politicians actively draw attention to and fight the structural discrimination that affects Muslim women.

"We believe that's reason enough in a country where the number of reported hate crimes against Muslims is on the rise – and where women tie their headscarves extra tight so that it won't get ripped off – for the prime minister and other politicians to take action to stop the march of fascism," the authors wrote.

The Justice Minister has agreed to meet with the organisers of the campaign on Tuesday.

"This must be taken very seriously," Minister Ask told TT news agency.

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