Hijab Day - Learning Through Experience
On February 7th, 2019 the Muslim Student Association (MSA) held an event, on the second floor of Slayter student union, dedicated to world hijab day. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the hijab is the traditional covering for the hair and neck that is worn by muslim women. World Hijab Day is typically celebrated on February 1st every year as a way to recognize Muslim women who wear the hijab and choose to live a life of modesty.
According to Hamna Siddiqui, senior and the current president of MSA, the group’s goal for the event was to educate peers on what the hijab is, help clear stereotypes, and teach the reasons as to why a hijab is worn. Siddiqui has been a member of the MSA for the past four years, since her first year at Denison, and stated that this is the second time in recent memory that this event has been held on campus. The MSA dived deeper into what hijab is other than just the definition. Siddiqui states “Hijab is about being modest, there is both an inner and outer hijab.” At the event, members of the MSA had hijabs available for female students to try on and a mirror so that students could see what they looked like while wearing one.
“Better to learn through experience”
The MSA members were also available to answer students questions about wearing a hijab, or the tradition of wearing one in general, and the MSA also provided Middle Eastern fashion magazines that highlighted the different fashion and styles that surround wearing a hijab. It is “better to learn through experience” says Siddiqui and hosting a hijab day is really about offering a learning experience.
This event gave the opportunity and space for students to ask questions they may have had or address stereotypes that are associated with wearing a hijab. When it comes to stereotypes there are thoughts that women wearing the hijab are oppressed or that someone wouldn’t look good if they wore a hijab. When it comes to the stereotype of oppression Siddiqui commented that not all women are “forced” to wear a hijab, but genuinely want to wear it and actually feel empowered when they do. Students who were worried about not looking good in a hijab, after being taught how to put one on, were generally surprised by how good they looked, and even more surprised by the popular fashion surrounding hijab. Participants were happy that the MSA held this event to help fellow students learn something new about Muslim faith and traditions. Siddiqui, a senior graduating this spring, hopes that this type of experiential event continues on for years to come.