On Monday, some Bay Area women-no matter their religious beliefs-will add a new element to their morning routine: they will don the Muslim headscarf that may have motivated the murder of a Fremont mother last month.

These women-and the men who cover their heads on Monday with a hat, yarmulke or turban-will wear headscarves to honor the Afghan-born woman and demonstrate solidarity with her community.

“Wear a Hijab/Turban Day” will be celebrated worldwide on Monday. In Fremont, the event includes a noon-time gathering at Central Park where participants will observe an international moment of silence for victims of violence.

A diverse panel of community leaders, including Fremont’s mayor and the executive director of American Muslim Voice, a Newark-based group, will lead a talk on building a culture of peace and acceptance. American Muslim Voice will distribute headscarves to attendees, who will have an opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts.

The gathering will also honor the memory of Alia Ansari, 38, a Fremont resident shot in the middle of the day on Oct. 19 while walking down the street with her 3-year-old daughter. Ansari was on her way to pick up two other children at their elementary school and was wearing a hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by devout Muslim women.

Though the case remains under investigation, Ansari’s relatives and local Muslim leaders believe the killing was motivated by hate. They can think of no other explanation for why someone would shoot the mother of six-other than that she was wearing a hijab.

Ansari’s murder has brought people of different faiths and perspectives together from across the Bay Area.

At a news conference held Friday in San Francisco at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, representatives of several immigrant groups expressed support for “Wear a Hijab/Turban Day,” which is sponsored by the Foundation for Self-Reliance, SEMAH and American Muslim Voice.

“It’s affected us all,” said Shazia Jafri, communications coordinator for the Bay Area Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).


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