Editor in Chief
Following the recent New Zealand mass shooting, Hijab Day, originally a Women’s History Month event, evolved to support the Muslim community during a time of mourning March 28 in the University Quad.
The March 15 shooting targeted New Zealand mosques and resulted in at least 50 deaths and 50 injuries.
The massacre was livestreamed by the attacker, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, via Facebook.
The Muslim Student Association offered students an opportunity to learn about the symbolism behind wearing the hijab by providing head scarves and demonstrating the proper way to wear one.
“When others see people of another faith wearing the hijab, they see that the Muslim people are being supported, and I think that other people would then be encouraged to support the community as well,” Nala Kachour, president of the Muslim Student Association, said.
President Devorah Lieberman attended the event and asked Kachour to explain to her why she wears the hijab.
“Having Hijab Day helps us learn about the symbolism of the hijab,” Lieberman said.
“This is just another example of how we’re learning about each other and how to appreciate each other. The more events we can have to understand all of our communities…the more we will be able to be a microcosm of how the world is supposed to be.”
While wrapping Lieberman in a vibrant purple head scarf, Kachour explained to her that wearing the hijab symbolizes both modesty and freedom. By modesty, she means that when people speak to her, they are looking at her ability, rather than at her body.
“Many people have this misconception that we’re forced to put the hijab on, that men force us to cover ourselves,” Kachour said.
“I think it symbolizes my freedom, that I’m putting on this hijab out of my own choice. I want to cover myself; I want to be modest and I don’t want people to look at me as an object.”
Kachour mentioned that another way to show support for the Muslim community, aside from attending events such as these, is to state the truth.
She said that some people have responded to the attack saying that the Muslim community deserved it due to “the type of people” that they are.
However, Kachour stressed that this is not true.
“Just having the assurance of other people that know that’s not true and they state that’s not true, I think would be one of the best ways to show support, to acknowledge it,” Kachour said.
The Campus Center gave students another opportunity to show their support by providing the chance to write notes showing solidarity and placing these notes on a public board that was put up right next to the front desk on the same day.
“Everyone can be present and recognize the grief that the Muslim community is feeling right now, and even if you can’t understand it on a faith-based level, you can still understand it on a human level,” said senior political science major Maya White.
White, with the help of Jane Duran, junior communications through the arts major, and Shyonta Glothon, sophomore psychology and theater double major, facilitated the bulletin board activity, and stressed that they hope others can learn to apply empathy on a personal level when it comes to situations such as these.
“These things don’t just happen; people cause these things and that needs to change. We need to be able to support and help those who need it,” Glothon said.
“Even if you don’t say anything, you can still do something. Your actions will speak louder than whatever you could have said – even just showing up to an event in support of someone else.”
Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.