MANILA – Senator Robin Padilla said on Thursday he wants to end discrimination against Muslims and other indigenous peoples (IPs) as he also pushes to establish a National Hijab Day.
Padilla’s Senate Bill 1272, which seeks to celebrate Feb. 1 as National Hijab Day, was also supported by Senator Francis Tolentino during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities and Muslim Affairs.
Tolentino lauded the initiative to recognize and celebrate with the Muslim community.
Padilla said every February 1, Muslim scholars and leaders will discuss in key cities and other venues their religion and the wearing of Hijab, which he pointed out that even Saints and nuns also wear Hijab.
"Some people may act that way because of what they watch on TV or in the movies - or even in news shows that may be biased. That is why the National Hijab Day is important - so that non-Muslims will understand why Muslim women wear hijab," he said in Filipino.
A hijab, a veil used by Muslim women that covers the head and chest, is worn in the presence of adult males outside of the women’s immediate family.
This piece of clothing is said to be an expression of the Islamic faith and had been a source of discrimination and prejudice against Muslim women.
“Even Virgin Mary and Catholic nuns wear hijab, which means Islam and Catholics have similarities,” Padilla said.
The senator believes that education and information dissemination will end the ignorance which is behind the discrimination against Muslims and other groups in the country.
"When there is discrimination, there is ignorance. Many people who discriminate think they are knowledgeable but they are fools," Padilla said, adding he has experienced being a victim of discrimination not just because of his Muslim faith but also because of being an ex-convict or a former prisoner. (Leonel Abasola/PNA)