TRENTON, Canada (AA): A Canadian university has launched a program to provide replacement hijab kits to women who are attacked and have their head coverings ripped off, the groups told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
The program is a joint effort by the student union of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group.
In an email to Anadolu Agency, the two groups said the idea sprang from discussions concerning the attack on a mosque in Quebec City in January, when six Muslims at prayer were shot to death by a student from Laval University.
The Dalhousie student union and the research group said many students expressed concern for their safety after the attack.
The hope is the kits will raise awareness of the violence against Muslims and encourage victims to feel more comfortable and report the crimes.
“In recognizing the increased incidents of violence towards women of colour on campuses across the country, we’ve created these kits so that anyone who has their headdresses targeted can quickly get access to a replacement,” according to a joint statement on the groups’ website. “Kits include fabric and pins, along with bystander tips and important numbers for reporting such crimes.”
Dalhousie Student Union President Amina Abawajy said various people have told her of incidents in which hijabs were targeted but victims have been reticent to tell officials of the attacks.
“I don’t believe those have been reported to security (and) we were hearing of a lot of concerns, specifically from Muslim women wearing the hijab, so we responded by creating this emergency kit,” she told Canadian media.
The groups said U.S. President Donald Trump is helping to stoke the violence.
Trump has tried to invoke travel bans against Muslim countries and has been critical of Islam and immigration.
“Rhetoric like that coming from the White House is proving to incite violence and bigotry in physical ways, so we need to address it by having a physical and purposeful response,” the statement said.
While the school union has not heard of any kits yet being used, as of Tuesday, 20 kits have been requested and distributed on campus and to community groups.