Hijab Day at Boston as part of Islam
Non-Muslim students at Boston University have volunteered to spend
a day wearing headscarves as part of the university’s March’s
Islam Awareness Month in a trial to correct misconceptions about
Islam and hijab.
“I saw the poster at the GSU Link and thought this was a really
interesting thing to do,” Dian Qu, a College of Arts and Sciences
student, said BU Today in a report posted Friday.
“I asked them to show me how to put it on, but I forgot, so I did
it my own way,” Qu, who is from China, added.
Qu was not alone in this experience.
She is among 40 non-Muslim women at BU who volunteered to spend a
day wearing headscarves as part of the BU Hijab Day Challenge.
Her boyfriend insisted she remove the scarf while they walked
together. She refused.
“I just turned around and walked on my own,” she said.
The hijab day is one of several events sponsored by the Islamic
Society of BU as part of March’s Islam Awareness Month.
Signing up at their dorms or at the George Sherman Union Link, the
students were given links to instructional videos and pink buttons
that read “BU Hijab Day Challenge—Ask Me About My Hijab.”
Sonia Perez Arias, another student, said her friend giggled when
he saw her and total strangers greeted her on Commonwealth Avenue
with the word “Salaam.”
“I like to do things that challenge me,” Arias said.
“Muslim people were greeting me in Arabic,” said Perez Arias, who
describes herself as an atheist.
“I didn’t know how to respond.”
Anya Gonzales gained what she calls “a new-found respect” for
Islam, while Richa Kaul, an initial sense of fear gave way to
understanding and confidence.
“I have a new-found respect for Muslim women,” Gonzales said.
Kaul, a Hindu, joined the challenge out of curiosity and to show
“solidarity with the Islamic culture.”
“The only time I felt scared or anxious was right before I opened
the door to my classroom, a School of Management class, and some
people turned their heads,. I could see that people see the hijab
first and then you.”
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious
symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
The hijab day was not the only event organized during the
university’s Islam Awareness Month.
Throughout March, the Islamic Society has sponsored a series of
events, including Petals from the Prophet and the sharing of
flowers on Marsh Plaza, an evening of prayer on the plaza.
The month-long observation concludes Sunday with a free open
invitation spring dinner at the GSU Metcalf Ballroom.
“The turnout has been great,” said Sakina Hassanali, president of
the Islamic Society, recalling that at the Petals for the Prophet
“Even though we were the ones giving out the flowers, one guy
actually came up to give us flowers.
“It really warmed our hearts. It just goes to show you the kind of
community we have at BU.”
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an
estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans
Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their
future in the United States.