(CNN) — To some, the hijab is a symbol of female oppression and Islamic fundamentalism.
But to Nazma Khan, a Muslim who moved from Bangladesh to New York at age 11, the headscarf is a symbol of her religious belief in beauty through modesty.
"Modesty is part of our Islamic faith," Khan wrote in an email. "No one should be discriminated (against) for following their faith."
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So Khan started World Hijab Day to build empathy for this perspective and to encourage non-Muslims, and Muslims who don't normally wear a hijab, to try it out. The Arabic word hijab refers not just to a headscarf but to modest dress and behavior in general.
"Our goal is to foster global religious tolerance and understanding through hijab awareness. Many women get discriminated (against) simply because they choose to wear the hijab," Khan said. "Hopefully, this event will make people realize that women who wear the hijab are just like anyone else. They're not oppressed or are forced to wear it. They just simply want to follow their faith by being modest, just like Mary (mother of Jesus)."