Indian Americans protest hijab ban in India

Indian Americans took to the streets on the weekend in multiple cities across the United States against the anti-hijab policy of schools and colleges in Karnataka. Protests against the “Islamophobic and unconstitutional ban on students wearing hijabs in schools” were staged in front of mosques, local Islamic centers, and streets.

Protesters held placards saying “my body, my choice,” “revoke hijab ban,” “stop telling women what to do”, “hijab is my right,” and “hijab ban in India is apartheid.”

“Hijab is our right, and no one can take away from that,” said Shagufta Khan, a protester from South Brunswick, New Jersey.

Here are some pictures covering protests across states:

Seattle, Washington
Piano, Texas
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Charlotte, North Carolina
Chicago, Illinois
Detroit, Michigan
New York
New Jersey
Orlando, Florida
San Francisco Bay Area

“I’m from India, I studied in Karnataka, and 20 years ago, no one said anything about not wearing hijab in college… hijab used to be a non-issue in colleges. It’s upsetting to see the rise of Islamophobia [in India]. India needs to see that the international community is taking a stand against the hijab ban and blatant Islamophobia in India,” said Minhaj Khan, protest co-organizer in South Brunswick and Hazlet, NJ.

“[To] the government of India… don’t consider this as a Muslim issue,” said Imam Hamad Chebli, a prominent Muslim leader who heads the Islamic Society of Central Jersey. “This is a human [rights] issue.”

Alliance to Stop Genocide in India (ASGI), a coalition of Indian American and US-based civil rights organizations and activists issued a statement expressing concerns over the anti-Muslim policies undertaken by the Hindu-Nationalist government of Karnataka.

The statement said that similar protests have been planned across the U.S., including in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, California, and Washington state, over the weekend and the coming week.