IOWA – The Muslim Student Association at the University of Iowa invited their colleagues to try hijab for one day last week, to correct misconceptions about Muslim women and their Islamic outfit.
“I think it’s nice for others to step in someone else’s shoes one day and see what it’s actually about instead of just assuming,” Salma Haider, the group’s president, told KWWL.
The ‘Hijab It Up’ event was held last Wednesday, inviting students of other faiths to put on the Muslim women hijab for a day.
Haider confirmed that the hijab is the choice of many Muslim women, who choose to be modest.
“I am a Muslim. I don’t wear a hijab. My sister? She wears a hijab. It’s up to you,” she said.
Deidra Beavers, a freshman at the University of Iowa, is one of the non-Muslim students who tried the hijab during the event.
Beavers said she had always thought that the hijab was “something that was kind of forced on people” and “a threat to empowerment”.
“It was nice to get a perspective from people that say, ‘No it’s positive, it’s part of me, it’s part of my culture’,” Beavers said.
The event comes after several reports of racially motivated attacks targeting Muslim women, particularly those wearing hijab.
A report by prominent Muslim-American civil rights organization released last November showed reported a “dramatic” rise in the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States in 2016, a similar trend as observed in 2015.
Anti-Muslim hate crimes grew from 180 incidents in 2015 to 260 in 2016.