Today: Jul 14, 2024

Students wear a hijab for Islamic awareness

Photo courtesy Kristina James
Top photo: Mariam Mansour, Muslim Student Association member,
puts a Hijab on graduate intern Kristina Santoro. Bottom
photo: Hijabs displayed on a table in the student center.

Kristina James — Staff Writer

A big smile covered Kristina Santoro’s face as her friend, Mariam Mansour, wrapped a blue satin hijab around her head.
“I am very interested in how they keep them on,” Santoro, graduate intern for Student Life at SCSU said with a laugh. “I love their culture.”
Santoro, as well as other female students, participated in Wear a Hijab for a Day on Wed., April 25. The day consisted of a two-part event that called for participants to wear a traditional hijab all day, which is a head scarf worn by Mus­lim women, then attend a discussion about their experience later on that night.
According to Mansour, a senior social work major at SCSU, the Muslim Student Association put this event, along with several others, together as a part of Islamic Awareness Week. She said MSA members hoped to be able to clear up any misconceptions people might have about their culture.
“People think we wear the hijab because we are all bald,” Mansour said, “but that is not true at all. We wear them as a sign of modesty.”
According to Qur’an 33:59, Muslim women who believe in the Muslim faith should “draw their garments around them” whenever they are out in public or in the presence of a man.
Gul Khan, a junior biology major at SCSU, said this rule is often misunderstood. She said it does not mean Muslim women must wear a hijab.
“It is all about covering up,” Khan said. “I choose not to wear the hijab but I make sure I am completely covered up. I always wear long pants and my sleeves are never shorter than three quarters.”
LaTasia Paris, 22 of Stamford, said she always thought Muslim women were forced into wearing the hijab.
“I have to be honest, I have always believed that Muslim women were suppressed and abused,” Paris said. “I thought they were forced into putting on all that stuff.”
Marwa Mansour, a sophomore psychology major at SCSU and Mariam Mansour’s sister, said although she wears the hijab, it was a per­sonal choice and was never pushed on her.
“I wore it in the fifth grade for the first time,” Marwa Mansour said. “My mother explained to me that wearing it was a commitment and that if I put it on I could never take it off. But she did not make me do it. I felt like I was ready for it.”
She said wearing the hijab empowered her; it empowered her as a young woman and empowered her as a Muslim.
However, Marwa Mansour said she has had some negative experiences, with non-Muslims, because of her headdress.
She said after moving to the U.S. from Egypt, in her junior year of high school, a male student called her a terrorist and pulled off her hijab.
“I slapped him across the face and got in a lot of trouble,” Marwa Mansour said. “But he never did.”
Marwa Mansour said she has also seen people flinch when she reached for her handbag. She said people always assume Muslims are up to no good.
Mariam Mansour said she understood the only information most people get about the Muslim culture is from TV, and a majority of the time the information obtained is negative.
However, she said there is a simple solution to this problem.
“People should just ask us,” said Mariam Mansour. “It is much better to hear it from us then to assume and judge us.


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