Friday, Feb. 3 the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Lambda Theta Alpha (LTA), the Latin American sorority on campus will be cosponsoring an event to celebrate World Hijab Day. The holiday is internationally recognized annually on Feb. 1.
According to WorldHijabDay.com, the celebration was started by Nazma Khan, in an attempt to combat the discrimination and general lack of understanding of why women wear it, and to also invite women to wear one for a day.
The hijab is a traditional, mandatory head covering worn by Muslim women all over the world. Both organizations intend to spread that message to the Monmouth University community.
The event is intended to celebrate the hijab as well as the women who wear hijabs. Another purpose is to break down stereotypes. It is also intended to start a conversation about the cultural practices of women all over the world.
Students, faculty, and anyone else interested are welcome to come to the Rebecca Stafford Student Center from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
President of Lambda Theta Alpha and senior health studies student, Daniela Villamin said, “As president of Lambda Theta Alpha, a sorority that promotes acceptance of women from all ethnicities, we felt that this event is significant, especially with all the recent controversy in the country over discrimination of people with certain beliefs/traditions.”
Villamin explained the importance of having an event like this and why it is important for all women to support each other, even if they are not Muslim.
“I thought it was extremely important for LTA to get involved with World Hijab Day. It is a chance for students to understand and support women who choose to look or live differently,” she explained.
At these tables attendees will be encouraged to try on the hijab and will be educated briefly on what a hijab is and what it means to Muslim women.
The purpose is for people to wear one, see themselves in it, and understand what it is like before judging someone who wears one. A common misconception about the hijab is the idea that it is a sign of oppression. For many women, the hijab is a symbol of their faith and modesty, and a piece of their personal identity and culture.
Dr. Rekha Datta, Ph.D., a political science professor, said, “An event like this makes it possible for everyone to understand the cultural practice of wearing the hijab and to address the stereotypes of the Islamic faith and to see people come together on a wonderful human level. Western cultures tend to see the hijab as restraining, and to have an open dialogue about it and to address it in a festive, positive and respectful environment is a beautiful thing to see.”
It is expected for many people to attend and participate, as this is the third year the organizations are celebrating it.
Senior business administration student and Vice President of MSA, Zareen Shueib said, “This is the third year that MSA and LTA have held World Hijab Day at Monmouth. We have had great turn outs in the past and I am hoping for the same this year.”
Students are encouraged to attend and have an open mind. “MU students have been very intrigued and open to the event. Students and faculty stop by to try on the Hijab’s and talk to members of both groups. I hope this year is like past years, given the recent events,” said Shueib.
Both organizations encourange everyone to attend the event and participate, and to reach out if you have any questions.
Photo courtesy of Jamillah McMillan