The Muslim Student Association kicked off Women’s Herstory Month on Wednesday by inviting students to wear a hijab for a day.
“Being covered on this campus, where there aren’t many of us, we do feel a connection to this small community and it’s nice to invite others here with us,” said sophomore Kaoutar Bahaja.
The goal of the event was to answer questions about veiling and Islam while allowing students to experience it themselves. Signs reading “Muslim in solidarity” and “her body, her choice” with pictures of hijabs were also available for students to take pictures with.
“People always ask us ‘why do you wear it,’ ‘is it really hot’ and all these questions,” said Bahaja. “It’s just giving them that experience of what we do.”
A hijab, an Arabic word meaning “cover,” can be worn for many reasons. Many women wear them after puberty as a personal choice to show their devotion to God. However, the hijab has recently received negative backlash as people falsely associate the covering with acts of terrorism.
From the off-duty NYPD officer wearing a hijab, who was threatened and was told to go back to her country, to the French woman who was kicked down the stairs of a subway station for wearing hers, an increasing amount of violence has been targeting those of Muslim faith. According to CNN, the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes grew by 67 percent in 2016, “reaching a level of violence not seen since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.”
Many students stopped to try on hijabs and they were encouraged to wear them throughout the day. Freshman Gabby Bok was one of the students who chose to continue wearing a hijab.
“I think it’s really important,” she said, “to give other people this experience so that it can broaden their perspectives and understanding of what it is.”