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News Code: 1088


Don a Hijab at First ‘Walk with Modesty’ Walkathon

Hijab, the religious head-covering worn by Muslim women, is often seen as a strange, oppressive symbol by those unfamiliar with its significance.
However, to the women who wear it, it is a normal part of their everyday dress.
“Modesty is a universal thing,” said Fatima Dahoui, scout leader of the Muslim Girl Scouts of southeast Michigan. “We all choose to express it in different ways.”
Troop 48050, a group of about 300 Muslim girls and what Dahoui said is considered the largest girl scouts group in the U.S., were looking for a way to earn their “Make Your Own” badge, which requires the girls to create their own event. The result: the first “Walk with Modesty” Walkathon from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Dearborn’s Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.
Dahoui said the girls saw a video of Muslims showing others how to wear hijab in an effort to reach out and foster understanding.
“Then they thought, ‘How about take it a step further and have them walk in our shoes for a day?’” Dahoui said.
With that in mind, the girls began planning for a walkathon where people could come together, try a hijab if they like and walk in the shoes of Muslim women who cover.
“I’m blown away by how they came together, worked as a team and planned this event,” she said. In less than three months, the girl scouts planned the event, which includes a walkathon, photo booth, hijab-wearing station, poetry reading, prizes, refreshments and a lemonade stand, and secured the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center. Each of the girls, who are 14 and 15 years old, has a specific role and responsibility in making the event a success.
“It created a way of giving the girls a sense of confidence and achievement,” Dahoui said. 
The event also has a bold purpose.
“Our goal is to have people not fear the hijab,” she said.
She said the girl scouts want to create an environment of appreciation and understanding that will allow people to overcome the misconceptions they have about hijab and encourage sisterly bonding between women of all faiths.
Mariam Dahoui, Fatima Dahoui’s daughter, said she has been approached by neighbors who are looking forward to the event and has seen people share the event on social media.
“I've seen a lot of people repost it in on Instagram and even Facebook. A lot of people are really looking forward to it,” she said. “I haven’t seen any negative responses.”
The idea is for everyone to have a fun time while expanding their knowledge about hijab.