Through the eyes of a hijabi

Nirupa Basnet

Students wear hijabs to step into other’s shoes

Several Lafayette students donned Hijabs, headscarfs worn by some Muslim women, last week to experience the life of a Hijabi women for a day.

Inspired by World Hijab Day on Feb. 1, the Muslim Student Association created the event to spread awareness and debunk myths about Islam. A discussion comprised of hijabi and non-hijabi Muslims, as well as other non-Muslim participants about their respective experiences concluded the event.

“I didn’t know how to wear [hijab] or if I was wearing it right, but I felt it was very important to wear and see what it was like,” Valerie Melson ’17 said.

The lack of knowledge about Islam among Lafayette students was evident according to the participating students.

“There was a clear difference,” Torera Fagbenle ’17 said. “From dawn to now, I’ve tried to be very objective with it. The people who normally say ,‘Hi, what’s up?’ said nothing, probably because I have a [hijab].”

The yak “It’s dress like a terrorist day” that was posted in response to Hijab Day illustrates the purpose for holding the hijab event. Participants hope to continue raising awareness through discussions in the future.

People expressed their disappointment for this ignorance, but also commended the students who are committed to raise awareness despite the backlash.

“I don’t have the courage. I don’t have the energy to have to go through [that] everyday,” Professor of Africana Studies Dr. Wendy Wilson-Fall said. “It’s labor intensive. It is [takes] certain courage to engage difference and just say, ‘That’s what I’m going to do today.’”

The event was especially relevant in light of the recent tragic shooting of three Muslim students in near Chapel Hill, NC on Feb. 10.

The grand jury indicted the man accused of the murders, according to a press release by CNN. The case is still under investigation, but family and friends of the victims believe it to be a hate crime.

“I woke up a bit apprehensive or cautious because I had these stories in my mind of my friends being discriminated against, I had Chapel Hill in my heart,” Fagbenle said.

Zainab Hussein ’18, an international student from Kenya, said that some concerned people have suggested she take off her Hijab since she is in America now

“It’s part of me. It’s more than just a head scarf,” Hussein said. “I don’t feel complete without it.”