Giving its Muslim students a sense of belonging, a Minnesota elementary school has started selling hijabs for its female Muslim students that bear the school’s mascot.
The initiative by the William Byrne Elementary was first suggested in 2021 by the school’s Somali-cultural liaison Maryan Ali, Local 12 reported.
Ali wanted to find a way to offer female Muslim students a way to wear something with their mascot “Buster the Bulldog” on it.
“Every student deserves the opportunity to express their school identity and have that feeling of belonging,” said Carla Valadez, a parent-volunteer and spirit wear coordinator.
Recalling Ali’s suggestion, Valadez added, “I was, of course, so grateful that she identified this need in the community, and it was an enthusiastic, ‘Yes.'”
“I worked with the whole PTO, and this immediately became a very important initiative for us.”
Dream Comes True
Making the dream true, they began tracking vendors and agreed with screen printers who helped bring the vision to life.
They sold the first hijab to 10-year-old Nawal Mohamed, who got one in each color.
Seeing the looks on students’ faces “made it all worth it,” Valadez said. “It really makes this work meaningful.”
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not just a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
Stigma surrounding Islamic headscarf or hijab has always been the worst challenge facing Muslim students. To bring different cultures together, a Wisconsin college organized “A Day In Her Hijab” event last November to give students an opportunity to learn about hijab and Islam.