Headscarf protest against racist attacks
Several Swedish politicians and media personalities were among those donning headscarves on Monday to support an anti-islamophobia campaign, called #hijabuppropet.
The campaign was triggered by an assault on a pregnant muslim woman in the Stockholm suburb of Farsta at the weekend.
An unknown attacker approached the woman in a car park, yelling racist abuse, ripping off her hijab (muslim veil) and slamming her head against a car. The woman was knocked unconscious and then hopitalized with concussion.
“This is a crime aimed at her religious beliefs,” police inspector Ulf Hoffman told Swedish Television news (SVT).
The attack has been reported as an assault with a “hate crime motive”.
Hoffman added that DNA which is believed to belong to the attacker was found on the victim's headscarf, and he said that police are seeking witnesses to the crime.
Nabila Abdul Fatah, one of the activists behind a social media campaign entitled "hijabuttropet" (veil outcry), told Radio Sweden that verbal and physical attacks on women wearnig muslim veils in Sweden have increased in recent years.
"Many women wear running shoes to get away from attackers in the street. They avoid going out with their children to save them from hearing the insults people shout," she said. "We hope to change the image of the veil. To normalise it. To say that it's a part of Sweden. Swedish muslim women are wearing the hijab, so it's a part of Sweden. Politicians have to do their job now, and make sure that women should be safe when they are outside their homes."
"In Sweden we brag about being the most equal society in the world," she adds, "and we still have this problem. It's embarrassing. The people that are doing this are no better than the clothes police in Afghanistan who force women to put on the hijab, and here they are forcing women to take off the hijab. Just let the women be."
Justice Minister Beatrice Ask will meet the organisers of the protest Tuesday afternoon to discuss the issue.