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Muslim Student Association celebrates World Hijab Day
Shadan Roumany, the president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and Shahd Osman, secretary and treasurer, helped show freshman Brookelyn Meyer how to place a decorative covering over her head and tie it behind her ears in order for it to stay in place. The silver tassels on the piece hung just above her eyes.
“It honestly looked really pretty I thought, but I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was to put on… I’m glad I had ‘professionals’ there to help me,” said Meyer after Roumany took a picture of her wearing the hijab.
On Monday, Feb. 1, and Wednesday, Feb. 3, members of the MSA hosted an event in the University Center to observe World Hijab Day — observed around the globe on Feb. 1 — and spread awareness about the meaning behind the symbolic head covering to other students.
The MSA displayed a table in the 3rd floor lobby of the University Center that provided participants with the opportunity to learn a few ways among many to properly cover one’s head with a traditional Muslim head covering.
Those who tried on a hijab — many for the first time — could choose from multiple colors and patterns as well as special decorative coverings. As there are no places in the Cape Girardeau area to purchase one of these headscarves, Haute Hijab, an online hijab store, donated multiple pieces for the MSA to use at this event. Once used, each head covering was placed into a bucket to be cleaned and sanitized for the next guest.
While participants like Meyer only experienced wearing a hijab for a couple of minutes, many Muslim women wear it every day as a way to express themselves. Modesty, cultural tradition and religion are a few reasons why one might wear a hijab, according to Roumany.
“You can wear a cross necklace to show your faith, and I wear a hijab to show my faith. … You find your own definition of hijab,” Roumany said.
As represented by the many options of hijabs displayed on the MSA’s event table, the head coverings can be a visualization of the wearer’s personal taste. Osman and Roumany prefer to coordinate their hijabs with their outfits, but not necessarily match them.
“I probably have around 70 hijabs, and 40 are black,” said Jowairia Khalid, MSA’s vice president. Khalid prefers to match her hijab for the day closely with what she is wearing.
After someone tried on a hijab or head covering of their choice, they were given individually-wrapped candy as a thank you for recognizing World Hijab Day. Roumany says it is important to celebrate this day to allow non-hijab wearers to learn the covering is a way of expressing an individual’s self. This helps people to be open-minded, understanding more about other cultures and religions.