MSA celebrates World Hijab Day

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Students passing through Maucker Union had the opportunity to learn about the hijab and how to wear it on Monday, Feb. 25. The event, celebrating World Hijab Day, was organized by the UNI Muslim Students Association (MSA).

World Hijab Day takes place on the first day of February each year. The event was started by Nazma Khan, a New Yorker who wished to spread awareness about what a hijab is and why some Muslim women choose to wear them, according to the World Hijab Day website.

“Hijab is a symbol of Islam,” said Luma Yasin, a junior finance major. “Women wear them when they hit puberty. The purpose is modesty and covering the beauty of women.”

The hijab functions as a type of scarf or veil. For women such as freshman biomedical major Leila Masinovic, they’re an article of clothing that makes her proud to be Muslim.

Hijabs come in many different styles and designs. The type of covering that is worn depends on the culture that a person is from. One variety, called a burqa, covers the entire face. Other forms of the hijab reveal the face. Styles can change based on regional differences or personal preferences. For example, a hijab can be made out of a thick material or one that’s lighter. While Masinovic says they can get hot on occasion, her experiences with wearing one have helped her to figure out which clothes are breathable.

As for how often a hijab is worn, it depends on the person.

“Hijabis wear them all the time,” Masinovic said. “However, when you’re just hanging out with your female friends, you don’t necessarily have to. Some people only wear them on holidays or special occasions.”

Hijabs are meant to be worn when a Muslim woman is surrounded by males to whom they aren’t directly related. People who wear hijabs do not wear them in front of their cousins before they hit puberty. They can also take them off in front of their fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands and males who haven’t hit puberty yet.

MSA hopes to deliver the right message about the hijab and how it alters perceptions of others, along with a woman’s feelings as a whole. As part of the World Hijab Day celebration, MSA challenged non-Muslim women to wear a hijab for a day.

In general, they want to raise awareness about Islam and promote a better understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. In addition to World Hijab Day, they also host a variety of other events.

“There are misconceptions about the hijab,” Yasin said. “Some people say that we’re forced to wear them by men. I have many friends whose moms decided not to put on the hijab, but their daughters do. It’s required by Islam after a woman hits puberty, but the choice to wear it is between her and God. It’s totally my choice. I love my hijab and I love putting it on. It describes me and describes who I am.”