By Mitchell Mylius
Many Muslim women in the U.S. are used to stares and whispers when they wear a hijab in public.
But the Muslim Student Association tried to break down stereotypes and combat Islamophobia at an April 19 event dubbed “Wear a Hijab.”
A hijab is a fabric veil that Muslim women wear. The group gathered in the quad with more than 200 colorful veils, inviting students to try on the headwear. Some participants made their own.
MSA Vice President Fatima Elgarguri said a friend overheard another student commenting on the event as trying to convert people religiously.
“That’s where people get confused about these veils,” said Elgarguri. “Wearing hijabs is a cultural practice and a personal decision for the women.”
Hijabs are the symbols of Muslim culture and some associate their wear with radical Islam. But that’s not the case with most Muslim women.
“When I wear the hijab, guys are more respectful,” said Ambar Mausumi, an MSA member. “It’s become a part of my identity.”
Esraa Abukhadra said she understands why people have these preconceived notions.
“It’s natural for people to judge something you don’t know about,” said Abukhandra in a meeting following the event.
Elgarguri said this was an attempt to bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Esther Waltz does not practice Islam, but supports what the MSA does. Waltz participated in the event and posted pictures in a hijab on her Facebook page.
Toni Munoz, another MSA member, is not Muslim, but wearing a hijab meant more to her.
“Wearing a hijab made me feel like I needed to act like a better version of myself,” said Munoz.
The MSA meets Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in room 1643.