Students who have always been curious about wearing a hijab will get the chance to wear a green one Thursday.
The International Student Union, Muslim Student Association, Office of Global Affairs and International Studies, Center for International Studies and the Women’s Center are co-sponsoring a World Hijab Day observance event, which will include tabling with hijabs and a discussion panel.
World Hijab Day, which Nazma Khan started in 2013, is an annual event held every Feb. 1. Khan began the movement as a way to “foster religious tolerance and understanding” by encouraging women to experience wearing a hijab for a day. According to World Hijab Day's website, 145 countries celebrate it every year.
If You Go
When: 9 a.m., Thursday
Where: 1st floor, Baker Center
What: Panel Discussion
When: 12 p.m., Thursday
Where: Multipurpose room, Multicultural Center, Baker 205
Tabling will take place on the first floor of Baker Center from 9 a.m. to noon, where the first 150 students can borrow a “bobcat-green” hijab, bought by the International Student Union and Muslim Student Association, for the day and learn how to wear it, M. Geneva Murray, the director of the Women’s Center, said.
Hams Kashoob, a sophomore studying biological sciences, will table on World Hijab Day to teach people how to wear a hijab. She does not think people will learn a lot from wearing a hijab for a day, but she thinks it is a good way for people to show their support.
“People are trying to show their understanding and their sympathy,” Kashoob said. “It’s more than just teaching them. It’s more connecting and creating a community of supportive people.”
She hopes that wearing hijabs for a day will help people understand the daily struggle of wearing them and keeping them on their heads. Depending on the material, like nylon, hijabs can slip off easily. Sometimes the wind can blow them off, or they can get hot underneath.
“It’s like wearing a jacket but on your head,” Kashoob said.
Nfn Elizarni, a Ph.D. student studying educational leadership, is from Aceh, Indonesia. She will also table in Baker to educate and help people experience wearing a hijab.
“I am responsible as a Muslim woman who wears a hijab ... to share the reason why,” she said. “It’s a calling as a Muslim woman for me.”
In addition to World Hijab Day showing respect to Muslim women who wear hijabs, she said the day is also a way to challenge the assumption that women who wear hijabs are considered oppressed.
“That is not totally true for us who wear it. It’s part of ourselves,” Elizarni said. “It’s not wrong to practice our religious belief, to show the world also that we accept others. Why don’t they accept us? We are part of humanity.”
Amani Al Ismaili, a sophomore studying geology, had never heard of World Hijab Day but thinks it is an interesting idea. As a student from Muscat, Oman, Al Ismaili said it’s important for women who normally don’t wear a hijab to see how she looks in one and also to see how other people look at her and judge her.
“I feel safe when other women wear hijab,” she said. “There is someone like you with you, to know what they are feeling. It’s cool.”
A difference between this year and the previous year’s celebration is that a discussion panel about the hijab will take place at noon in the multipurpose room in the Multicultural Center, Murray said.
“Every person is kind of curious about how hijab feels and how they would feel if they wear it,” Kashoob said. “But maybe doing it randomly on a random day, they would feel like they’re shy or not comfortable doing it. But it’s a day they can do it with a big group of people that would show their support.”