By Ayumi Yoshihama |Staff Writer|
How do you wear it?
Isn’t it hot?
People tend to ask these questions to Muslim women who wear the hijab–which is Arab for headscarf.
Hijab, in the Muslim religion, represents modesty, privacy, and morality.
101 CSUSB students accepted the Hijab Challenge, which allowed students the opportunity to look at the world from the perspective of Muslim women who wear the hijab.
The hijab challenge was held on campus from Monday, Oct. 27 to Wednesday, Oct. 29 last week by the Muslim Students Association (MSA).
The challenge was started in UC Riverside years ago, and MSA of CSUSB has had this event annually since 2011.
They started the challenge to allow students to experience Muslim culture firsthand, rather than just to answer their questions about it, as mentioned by Omar Abdelkhaleq of MSA.
The MSA asked, “If you are wondering how the Muslim women feel like walking with a Hijab, why don’t you try it?”
They want students to experience how they feel wearing a Hijab and behaving as a Muslim woman, rather than explaining to them what it is like.
For those who accepted this challenge, they were also advised to follow the rules based on the Muslim woman’s demeanor–prioritizing modesty and good character.
The guidelines included: No swearing, No curse words.
Wearing modest clothing: Covering the entire body besides hands, face, and feet with long sleeves and long jeans,skirts, or maxi dresses.
No lying: Be truthful.
Lower your gaze: Not looking at the opposite sex with lustful eyes.
Don’t touch the opposite gender: No handshakes, hugs, kisses to someone, except your family members or spouse.
One must not remove their headscarf when the opposite gender is around, such as boyfriends or males who you are not married to.
It becomes appropriate to remove the hijab when you are at home with your family members and children who have yet to hit puberty.
Some males participated in the hijab challenge, following the same rules except those concerning the headscarf.
During the challenge, the participants had to agree to abide by the list, behaving in the manner of the daily lifestyle of a Muslim woman.
The panel discussion was held on the last day of the Hijab Challenge.
Some of the participants attended it and shared how they felt during the challenge.
Most of them said that it was a good experience and enjoyed wearing the hijab, but found it a little difficult to follow the rules because they are not used to it.
It also changed the participants’ views of Muslim women and furthered their understanding of them.
Ranea AI-Tikriti of MSA said, “I think the event was successful because, to me, it’s not about the quantity of the participants. It’s what they took from the challenge.”
“I wish that society would understand that we are just like other women. We just dress differently and more modestly. The hijab does not hold any Muslim women back from participating in sports, pursuing education, volunteering in the community, just to name a few examples. In essence, the hijab is not at all oppressive, as Muslim women we choose to wear it.