December 14th will now be known as Freedom of Religion Day for Salt Lake County. The announcement came Tuesday Afternoon from Mayor Ben McAdams who was joined by representatives from different faith communities.
One of those representatives is Noor Ul-Hasan, a muslim and community activist. And it’s her story that inspired this gathering.
Late last year, Hasan made a difficult decision. As a muslim woman she wears a Hijab head covering. And she began to feel targeted for it.
“And I thought I really need to think about whether I can continue to be this kind of a leader and wear my religion on my head," says Hasan. "And that’s where I decided, I think I’ll take it off.”
She posted her decision on Facebook and was instantly flooded with responses. Her friends begged her to keep wearing her Hijab. Many of them offering to wear head coverings as well as a sign of solidarity.
Hasan says she’s grateful to live in a place where she feels that kind of support."
"It does make a difference when you’re in a state where faith is respected and faith is admired and diversity is appreciated," says Hasan.
But Hasan says there is still room for improvement. She encourages everyone to help put an end to hateful speech against any faith. Also, she says we need to get out and attend different worship services.
This point was reiterated by every religious representative present. Including Pritpal Singh, who worships at the Sikh temple on Redwood road in Taylorsville.
“Anybody is welcome to the temple, you don’t have to be of Sikh faith," says Singh. "Anybody can come to the temple and be a part of the services.”
Singh says visitors will be asked to take off their shoes and wear a head covering. But that shouldn’t discourage anyone. He says it is a very welcoming atmosphere.
Through laughter, Singh added, “And we will never insist that you come next Sunday also."
As a way to observe Freedom of Religion Day, Mayor MacAdams asked residents to show their support by wearing a head covering or a green ribbon on December 14th.