TEXAS – Supporting Muslim women right to don the Islamic hijab, students in Texas A&M University joined millions of Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide who try hijab on Monday, February 1, as part of World Hijab day annual event.
“Anytime you sit down with someone and you have a conversation and you show them what your religion is all about should be casual like this,” biology junior Salam Yamak told The Battalion.
“It creates a better environment and so we can better show the true nature of Islam.”
On February 1, millions of Muslim and non-Muslim women wearing a traditional Islamic head scarf will march on the streets of 116 countries to mark the fourth anniversary of World Hijab Day.
The World Hijab Day is the brain child of a New York resident, Nazma Khan, who came up with the idea as a means to foster religious tolerance and understanding.
Suggesting the event, Khan wanted to encourage non-Muslim women to don the hijab and experience it before judging Muslim women.
She also saw the event as a best chance to counteract some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab.
The event began in 2013 and has been celebrated every year by the Muslim Student Association, MSA.
Its significance increased amid growing anti-Muslim sentiments in the media, accusing Muslim women of being submissive.
Reaching out to their colleagues, Yamak believes events like this help to eliminate misconceptions surrounding Islam and create a welcoming atmosphere.
“I think it’s so beneficial,” Yamak said.
“Whenever you have Islamophobia or any other group that is seen as different it’s because of people not having enough knowledge or having enough experiences with Muslim people.”
Chemical engineering senior Danielle Gore echoed a similar opinion, adding that these events combat Islamophobia by opening up an honest discussion of Islam and showing it as the peaceful religion it truly is.
“It’s an effort to break down the barriers we’ve put up between ourselves,” Gore said.
“Especially for people who have only seen negative portrayals of Islam in the media and that’s what this holiday [sic] is for, to create a dialogue and to ask questions and to humanize a group of people who have been dehumanized.”
Gore added that despite increasing Islamophobia, he noticed an overwhelming outpouring of support from multiple organizations and churches from the Bryan-College Station area.
“Even if we do get some crazy people who yell things at us when we’re walking around campus we have definitely seen the goodness come out from our fellow Aggies by showing us support, despite the rhetoric that’s been created,” Gore said.