Stigma surrounding Islamic headscarf or hijab has always been the worst challenge facing Muslim women.
Wrongly perceived by many non-Muslims as a tool of oppression, hijab took the center stage as Muslim students at California State University hosted a table on Titan Walk to raise awareness about the Islamic attire.
At the event, held on Tuesday, students wearing hijab informed passersby about their attire; they also provided pamphlets with information about hijab.
“I can’t imagine life without it now. It’s just a part of me,” Urooj Brohi, a Muslim Student Association board member, told Daily Titan.
“If I’m out somewhere and I’ve been wearing my scarf, it reminds me that I shouldn’t be drinking, I shouldn’t be out in this area or my clothes; I shouldn’t be wearing this because then what does that say about me,” Brohi said.
Despite misconceptions, Saja Serhal, the group’s treasurer, said that hijab is a choice she made herself.
“I choose to wear it as a symbol of my religion and also my own worship. It makes me feel more empowered,” Serhal said.
The group hopes to increase its members and create an inclusive environment for all types of beliefs, Brohi said.
“For us, growing up over here, we’re just balancing both our American identity and our Muslim identity,” Brohi said.
“It’s definitely possible. It’s just that we got to work on it.”
The event is reminiscent of World Hijab Day which occurs annually on the first of February.
Celebrated in over 140 countries, the World Hijab Day is aimed at fostering religious tolerance and understanding by inviting non-Hijabi Muslims and non-Muslims to experience wearing a hijab for one day.
In its eights version, the brainchild of New York-based Nazma Khan was held under the theme, “unity in diversity.”
The day encourages women of all backgrounds to experience wearing a hijab and to support a woman’s right to wear one.