Muslim students challenge Coyotes with hijab

By Renee Etcheberria |Staff Writer|

The mystery of the hijab was unveiled last week when over 130 students participated in the Hijab Challenge.

In this case curiosity didn’t kill the cat; students were eager to learn more about hijabs, muslims and Islam religion. Questions were encouraged and a wealth of knowledge was ready to be shared.

A hijab refers to a headscarf worn by Muslim women who practice the religion of Islam. Although the hijab is for both men and women, it is primarily worn by women. Men have more of a “mental hijab” where they practice dressing and thinking modestly.

In the Arabic language “hijab” means curtain or cover, so it is not only limited to a headscarf but is also associated with modest clothing.

CSUSB Muslim Student Association (MSA) summoned the student body last week in the Hijab Challenge. The event was hosted to primarily bring awareness about wearing hijab’s, and the controversial issues that surround it. For women they offered headscarfs whereas for the men they were encouraged to wear green or purple which are the colors of Islam and non-violence.

I was one of the eager students and partook in the challenge. I wanted to wear the hijab to see what it was like to live the life of Muslim women. What better way to speak on wearing a hijab then to actually wear one myself.

The task was not easy; I had to convince myself that I was secure enough to wear the hijab. Just the thought of what looks I may get from complete strangers made me hesitant.

A quick 20 minutes after wearing it I had a glimpse into what these women go through on a daily basis. I could not believe that a scarf wrapped around my head would make people so uncomfortable. Overall, I experienced a lack of direct eye contact or confused starring.

For women who wear a hijab those brief awkward moments are insignificant. Many MSA members expressed that when you believe in something so much it doesn’t really matter how others are going to behave in relation to what they are wearing.

“Beauty is not only skin deep, it goes deeper than that. We want people to see us for our intelligence and personalities rather than a sex object,” said Yasmeen Hantuli, Vice President of MSA.

Hantuli made it clear that to wear a hijab has nothing to do with oppression but more with valuing oneself and God.

The key point that MSA wants people to know, is the wearing of a hijab a personal choice, yes for some it is about an obligation to religion, but in the end it comes down to choice. There is no specified age or occurrence in one’s life that is the determining factor in wearing the hijab. It’s more about a personal security, spirituality and relationship with God.

“I woke up one morning thinking what is the point in waiting, I’m ready to wear it and don’t want to go without it. Although it is an obligation, I want to wear it,” said Manal Museitef, MSA member.

After an overwhelming turn out for the challenge the MSA held a panel to get feedback from their participants. They open up discussion for students to share their experiences. They also showed a video that was taken when students returned the hijab’s on challenge days.

Overall, feedback was positive and the challenge was a success. According to members of MSA this will not be the last of hijab challenge days.

For more information on the MSA or any questions visit MSAcoyotes.com

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