Hijabs are not just headscarves, but symbols of conduct and behaviour for Muslim women according to a virtual event titled “International Student and Scholars Services Coffee Hour: The Hijab Experience.” Muslim women wear hijabs any time they are in the presence of men outside their immediate family, according to the presentation.
The event was sponsored by International Student and Scholar Services and hosted by Sana Haroon, a coordinator for Salaam, an on-campus organization focused on eliminating Islamophobia by fostering an understanding of the Muslim world through events and discussions.
“Mainly people wear it to demonstrate their submission to God and as a constant reminder of their faith, especially women now wear hijabs as a symbol of their identity,” Haroon said.
“A women’s decision to wear a hijab must be their own. It’s definitely something we see a lot where people say you just do it because other people make you. In religion that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Your faith is very personal to you and something from the heart. A person’s decision to wear is their own.”
Panellists Khadija Shaikh, Zena Saleh and Faiza Chowdhury said growing up while wearing hijabs was not always easy. From middle school to college, panellists said they were discriminated against and ridiculed for wearing hijabs. Shaikh said her parents told her that once she made the decision to wear a hijab she will stand out among other students.
Chowdhury said it is important to disregard naysayers and be confident. In the face of discrimination, Saleh and Shaikh said that the hijab gives them the strength to be kind and truthful. They mention friends who are not necessarily Muslim have always been supportive of them and make them proud to wear hijabs.
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