CAIRO – Continuing a tradition of hosting annual appreciation month, University of Florida campus dedicated the 2016 event to introducing Islam to the students, giving them an appreciation for Islamic beliefs and traditions in several events during this month.
“You get used to it,” Marylyn Resendiz told The Independent Florida Alligator, referring to the hijab she put for the first time on Monday, February 15.
“You don’t feel weird anymore, and you just go on with your day.”
Resendiz, a UF microbiology and cell science freshman, tried on a hijab as part of Islam on Campus’ Islam Appreciation Month.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
“In some aspects, some people may look at me different, but I brush it off because that shouldn’t be important to them,” 18-year-old Resendiz said.
Maria Ilyas, the chair of the appreciation month, said she wears her hijab every day and lent some of her own to students who wanted to wear it all day.
“It will give you kind of an insider’s perspective so next time you see a girl in a hijab, you’ll feel more connected,” the 20-year-old UF microbiology and cell science junior said.
The 4th event of Islam Appreciation Month 2016 kicked off last February 10 and runs for a whole month.
One event hosted last Wednesday by Islam On Campus – UF honored those that have been victims of injustice and ignorance in Chapel Hill and Charleston shootings.
“We hope our event, “From Charleston to Chapel Hill: Countering Islamophobia and Racial Injustice,” becomes an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and solidarity,” the event organizers said in a post on Facebook.
“We hope it helps engage the greater UF campus community in the struggle to eradicate Islamophobia and racism, and drive out hatred with love and education.
Students see the month as a time to clarify rumors surrounding Islamic culture.
The events are for all students, not just those who practice Islam.
“Once students come out to our events and meet IOC members, they soon find out there’s nothing scary, mysterious or narrow-minded about us,” Sameer Saboungi, a current IOC member and the former vice president of external affairs, told Alligator.
“We’re fun students struggling with school like everyone else,” the UF international studies and political science senior added.
“IAM (Islam Appreciation Month) can break any assumptions people may have about IOC.”