Students Participate In Annual Hijab Day Challenge

Fatima Haghi, vice president of UCSD’s Muslim Student Association, helps Hijab Day Challenge participant Hibah Khan put on a  headscarf. Photo by Nadah Feteih / UCSD Guardian.
Fatima Haghi, vice president of UCSD’s Muslim Student Association, helps Hijab Day Challenge participant Hibah Khan put on a headscarf. Photo by Nadah Feteih / UCSD Guardian.
Fatima Haghi, vice president of UCSD’s Muslim Student Association, helps Hijab Day Challenge participant Hibah Khan put on a  headscarf. Photo by Nadah Feteih / UCSD Guardian.
Fatima Haghi, vice president of UCSD’s Muslim Student Association, helps Hijab Day Challenge participant Hibah Khan put on a headscarf. Photo by Nadah Feteih / UCSD Guardian.

The Muslim Student Association at UCSD hosted an event titled “Hijab: The Elephant in the Room” as part of Hijab Day on Wednesday, Feb. 11. Hijab Day was part of the organization’s Islam Awareness Week.

The event began in the morning on Library Walk. Members of the MSA invited students of all backgrounds to take the Hijab Challenge and wear a hijab for a day. Those who participated were invited to share their experiences at the event on Wednesday night.

The night began with a prayer for the three Muslim students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who were murdered on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The talk then transitioned into a discussion about the hijab and the difficulties Muslim women who wear the hijab face, which included speeches from Mamoon Syed and Marwa Abdullah. Abdullah spoke about her experience as a Muslim woman in the U.S. and recited a poem about why she wears the hijab.

After the speeches, girls who had participated in the Hijab Challenge shared their experiences of wearing the hijab for a day. Each of the participants described having a positive experience and reported experiencing a difference in the way others perceived them.

Revelle College junior Kacia Cameron, who participated in the challenge, told the UCSD Guardian that people treated her differently while she was wearing the hijab.

“I did notice a difference,” Cameron said. “[People] were either avoiding eye contact with me or they were staring.”

A Q&A session with Ismahan Warfa, an MSA alumna, and Syed followed the Hijab Challenge participants’ testimonials.

 At the end of the event, Ramsha Shakil, another member of the MSA, told the Guardian that the goal of the event was to raise awareness about what being a Muslim really means. 

“I know a lot of people have misconceptions based on what the media says,” Shakil said.

MSA president Sammay Azhand told the Guardian what outcome he hoped for from Hijab Day.

“Just like in the name: to raise awareness because there are a lot of people on campus who really don’t know anything about Islam at all other than what they may have heard in the media,” Azhand said. 

Azhand mentioned that Muslims have the tendency to think that others think badly of them. “But during this week, I’ve seen personally that there’s plenty of people who are super nice and honestly just don’t know,” Azhand said. “If you inform them a little bit, they get happy and they learn something.”

The MSA also hosted “Meet a Muslim” on Thursday, Feb. 12, and a sermon titled, “Umma Means Community” on Friday.

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