Hashtag #سجينات_الحجاب_في_الجزائر [Hijab prisoners in Algeria] has been flooding social media feed among Algerians for the past few days.
A hashtag aimed at raising awareness about the psychological and social damage caused by forcing girls to wear hijab in a young age has stirred controversy in Algeria and climbed the trending hashtags list with more than 10K tweets in a couple of days.
On the hashtag, Algerian women went to tell their own stories when they were forced to wear hijab against their will, highlighting the psychological issues they have faced.
Some also shared their stories of taking off hijab after long time of being forced to wear it from a young age.
On the other hand, activists have faced a massive backlash by religious extremists who accused them of spreading the “French colonization," because many of the tweets were in French.
A counter-hashtag was launched #أميرات_الحجاب_في_الجزائر [Princess of hijab in Algeria]. It was flooded with posts defending hijab claiming that the majority of hijabi women have chosen to wear it without being forced by anyone.
In response, activists confirmed they do not aim to attack hijab yet they are raising awareness about the freedom of choice of a women to cover their heads or not, and even her freedom to choose what to wear without being controlled by parents or society.
Some tweets have also called on a state law that prevents parents from forcing daughters to wear hijab.
The hashtag received massive support inside Algeria and even from neighbour Arab countries.
Translation: “We should see this movement spreading widely to all Arab countries. Salute to Algerian rebellious girls.”
Hijab, or the Islamic head covers wore by Muslim women have been sparking debates between Algeria’s secular-minded government and many Algerians. A big part of the controversy is attributed to the fact that traditions still force many women to cover their heads for fear of social pressure and being labeled with shame. On the other hand, many think it shouldn't be obligatory, but it should be the girl's own choice.
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