By Courtney Mata |Staff Writer|
Every year the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) host the Hijab Challenge Week which is intended to give students a better perspective of the life of a Muslim woman who wears the head scarf.
According to their vice president, Adam Ghossein, a hijab is a veil or scarf that Muslim women wear out of a sense of modesty.
“We are all the same people,” said Ghossein. “Why should one aspect of clothing change how people feel about you?”
This event is intended to clarify misconception of individuals who wear a hijab and for those who place judgement on the Muslim custom.
“The purpose of MSA is to draw awareness to our religion, to show what Islam is like, and gain self-respect,” explained Ghossein.
Many students accepted the challenge and participated in the week long event. The club also offered the challenge for men which was for them to lower their gaze as women walked by. This involved making the conscious effort to not check out females and show them respect.
Senior Andrea Frost participated in the challenge for the second year in a row because she really values the experience.
“I feel that after 9/11, there are a lot of misconceptions about those who wear the hijab,” expressed Frost.
“But you cannot judge or hate others on someone else’s actions. It was a small group of individuals that caused the attack, not the group as a whole.”
Frost and other students wore the hijab in order to support others who wear the scarf on a daily basis.
At the end of the week, MSA held a panel where students were given the opportunity to discuss their experiences.
During the panel discussions, many students shared how they felt that wearing the hijab caused people to treat them differently.
Senior Theresa Strand shared an encounter with a girl from her class.
“A girl from my class came up to me and told me she had never seen a white girl wear a hijab and it surprised her. She felt white girls should not be wearing a head piece and she was surprised that I spoke perfect English. She later thanked me for opening her eyes to the culture.”
Sophomore Brenda Robles also shared that while participating in Hijab Challenge Week, she went to the mall with her boyfriend but was denied any sort of interaction. The people at the mall only spoke to her boyfriend.
Robles later expressed, “I have a voice too and I am a person and just because I am wearing this doesn’t make me different.”
This experience was a big eye opener not only for students who participated but also for those who did not.
I personally took the challenge and wore the hijab for one day. Students on campus noticed my change in attire, and were very supportive of it. Some students even decided to take on the challenge after learning that I was participating.
The CSUSB community prides itself on being a very diverse school and the support I got from wearing the hijab proved that.
This is MSA’s third year hosting Hijab Challenge Week and the popularity of it grows every year.
I believe the Hijab Challenge Week will continue to give students a better perspective on Islam and breaks down misconceptions of its customs.