By Daleth Quintanilla |Staff Writer|
CSUSB’s Muslim Association challenged students, Muslim or not, to step into the shoes of Muslim women.
Anyone who participated in the challenge was welcome to speak at the panel, led by Dr. Dany Doueiri and CSUSB students Ranea Al-Tikriti and Alia Abuelhassan, held on October 29.
Panelists voiced their thoughts of the challenge and afterwards, I spoke with Al-Tikriti about misconceptions that others have of those who wear the hijab.
Misconception 1: Muslim women are forced to wear the hijab.
Al-Tikriti explained to me that Muslim women are not forced to wear the hijab, and it is completely their choice– a choice Al-Tikriti made thirteen years ago.
Doueiri had a different experience with his three children.
He explained to the panel and class that his children experienced bullying because of their race and religion in elementary school and when his 11-year-old daughter decided to wear the hijab, his wife discouraged the idea.
“Why do Muslim women wear the hijab?” one student asked the panel.
Abuelhasssan said, “if you truly believe and you are Muslim, then you should believe, yes I will put it on.”
Misconception 2: The hijab oppresses women.
Al-Tikriti explained that women who wear the hijab are not oppressed; they are free to live a normal life.
Al-Tikriti is able to go to school, work, and socialize just like any other person who is not Muslim.
Misconception 3: Women who wear the hijab never take it off.
Students asked questions such as:
Do you go to a day spa? and who cuts your hair?
These questions may seem silly, but according to the rules for women given to the participants prior to thechallenge, a Muslim woman who adorns the hijab is only allowed to remove their headscarf when she is at home with family such as her father, uncles, brothers, children, grandchildren, and boys who have not hit puberty.
The head scarf can also be removed for sleeping and showering.
A Muslim woman must wear modest clothing, concealing her entire body except her hands and feet, so a day spa for a manicure or pedicure can definitely be done.
There are many misconceptions of Muslims who follow the Islamic religion, and 101 students this week were able to defy the stereotypes set upon Muslims.
For more information on the religion, visit ask-a-muslim.com or visit the MSA which meets every Monday at 2 p.m. at the Interfaith Center.
What was your experience like?
“I liked it, it felt really comfortable, it felt like I was at home in my blanket, like when you wrap your blankets and you’re in your bed.”
“It seemed that more people supported me, supported my decision to wear this scarf, thank you so much for the opportunity and time to share your cultures and beliefs.”
“I sent a picture to my mom and boyfriend and my boyfriend is in the Marines and he was like, ‘what the hell are you doing?’…my mom was like, ‘be safe the world is not a safe place… it’s fine that your learning just be careful.'”
“The weirdest thing for me wearing the hijab is no one recognized me.”
“It was fun, it was okay.”
“I went to the doctors yesterday, which was pretty interesting. I didn’t know my doctor was Muslim, so he called me in and he was like ‘um you changed your look?’ and the receptionist actually changed my religion to Muslim.”
What was harder during the challenge?
“Definitely not touching my boyfriend.”
“My biggest thing was not cussing”
What was easier during the challenge?
“Something that was easier was not having to do my hair.”
Any racist comments?
“My dad is actually a Sunday school teacher at a Christian church, so when I told him I was wearing it, it did not go over well, um he did not want me to wear it all, that honestly the only negativity I received…”