The Inspiration Behind the Cause: Alia Ansari
November 13, 2006 is Wear a Hijab/Turban Day inspired by the tragic death of Alia Ansari but its cause is far greater.
“Very quickly, Gadener was struck with the same suspicion as many others in town. They wondered if Ansari was killed simply because of the way she was dressed, in a loose scarf that some Muslim women wear to cover their heads out of modesty.
“I was shocked and saddened, but I was not surprised,” Gadener told me when we met recently. “There is growing racism in Fremont, and a lot of this has come out since 9/11.” Whether or not Ansari’s head scarf had anything to do with why she was killed, it’s significant that so many people have no trouble believing it was the reason.
Gadener has been especially sensitive to these tensions since she set up the Foundation for Self-Reliance, a non-profit organization that develops programs to promote economic independence in the Afghan community. Over the past three years, she has had a crash course in Muslim beliefs and traditions.
In that spirit, she had an idea about how to memorialize Alia Ansari. What if women of all religions pledged to wear a Muslim head covering, a hijab, for one day? It would not only show support for the Ansari family, but it also would be an intriguing social experiment. How might people treat you differently if, for one day, the only thing different about you was what you were wearing on your head?
Nov. 13 was the date chosen for “Wear a Hijab Day,” and the plan has taken on a life of its own. Gadener has been deluged with messages of support from all over the world. Soon it became clear that men wanted to participate as well, so the event’s title was changed to “Wear a Hijab or Turban Day.”
Fight ignorance with education….
November 13, 2006
WEAR A HIJAB/TURBAN DAY
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
INTERNATIONAL MOMENT OF SILENCE: 12 Noon PST
Followed by a white dove release, short talks from
community leaders, then an open question/answer session.
Lake Elizabeth at Central Park, Area B
(near the main entrance of the park)
40000 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont, CA 94536
WHAT TO WEAR?
Wear a headscarf, turban, hat, yarmulke, or come just as you are
American Muslim Voice will be distributing head scarves
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
- Bob Wasserman, Mayor of Fremont
- Anu Natarajan, Fremont Councilmember
- Craig Steckler, Fremont Chief of Police
- Herman Rosenbaum, Fremont Alliance
- Samina Faheem Sundas, American Muslim Voice
Moderator: Melanie Gadener
Founding Director,Foundation for Self-Reliance
UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies PhD student
Our speakers will begin a dialogue about post-9/11 civil liberties; challenges associated with multiculturalism; why racism is a moral quandary; and suggestions for how we, as a local and global community, can achieve a higher degree of racial, ethnic, religious, and gender equality and harmony.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
After the presentations, we will have a 30-minute question and answer session. Attendees will be invited, and encouraged, to share their own reflections, and ask their own questions.
The following article gives information for the trust fund that has been set up in her name: http://www.insidebayarea.com/argus/localnews/ci_4528704
If anyone has an update in regards to suspects or arrests, please let me know. I haven’t found anything beyond the person of interest being held on a probation violation.