KENSINGTON, Brooklyn (PIX11) — A mural aimed at empowering all women, but especially those who wear hijabs, was unveiled Sunday in Brooklyn.
The mural, entitled Hijabi Queens, was presented at the corner of Coney Island and Ditmas Avenues in Brooklyn’s Little Pakistan neighborhood. It was painted by Natasha May Platt. The mural honors Muslim women who wear Hijabs, the Islamic head covering.
Farzeen Hussain Wasti and Asad Wasti own the building the mural was painted on.
“We have never seen anything like this in the neighborhood and there are a lot of hate crimes here and many of them go unreported and they happen to women who wear a head covering,” said Farzeen Hussain Wasti.
The Wastis say they commissioned the art after seeing three similar murals in Los Angeles. All of them feature images from an NFT collection owned by Karter Zaher and Doaa Alhawamdeh.
The couple says the goal of the collection is to inspire people to not only tolerate those who wear Hijabs, but to accept them.
“People kind of have their misconceptions inside. They may not harass you about them or vocalize or abuse you about them, but they hold them. Celebrating a Hijabi woman means these people don’t even have those stereotypes to begin with. They see you; they see your soul. They see the human in you, and they connect with you. They want to break bread with you,” said Alhawamdeh.
Alhawamdeh grew up in the Bronx. She says having images like these growing up would have reduced her experiences of bullying.
She hopes the art encourages other young Muslim girls to be confident in who they are.
Nine-year-old Zahrah Hassan says it’s already done just that.
“I don’t feel scared anymore,” she said. “Right now, I’m a Hijabi princess, but when I grow up, I’m going to be a Hijabi queen!”
Her mother Rubain Ali agrees. She says the mural not only represents who they are, it also reflects their culture and religion.
“Seriously they talk about Hijabis and I feel like they’re talking about me. I feel so proud of myself being a Hijabi woman,” said Ali.
The owners of the mural are encouraging people to come down to Brooklyn to see it. They also want people to scan the QR code on the mural to learn more about the initiative. They’re hoping doing so will inspire other New Yorkers to commission more murals like this throughout the city.