MSA hosts henna

Alexandra Scicchitano – Reporter

The Muslim Students Association hosted a henna night last Tuesday. Henna is a southeast and west Asian tradition using the reddish, brown paint from the henna plant to form mandalas or flowers.

It is not restricted to those shapes according to Asma Rahimyar, a sophomore and political science major, who handles outreach for the organization.

“The design is typically a mandala,” said Rahimyar. “At home, I grew up doing henna, and I wouldn’t always do flowers or mandalas.”

MSA member and sophomore Rachel Schaffer said that it is important to keep this tradition alive.

“I think it’s important to respect cultures that are different from ours,” said the early childhood education major.

Rahimyar said that henna is so important, that a bride might get both her hands and feet done with it, and sometimes her arms. She said that sometimes men will dye their beards with henna.

Uruj Khan, a freshman biology major, and club member, said that henna is important to her because of her Pakistani heritage.

Rahimyar said that henna can last for a week on the skin, depending on the quality of the henna used.

“One time when I got high quality henna, it lasted a month,” said Rahimyar.

The henna drawing first starts to fade to orange, and then it fades away until it cannot be seen anymore, said Rahimyar.

Maha Naeem, a senior and computer science major said that henna, “shows the artistic side of being Muslim.”

Growing up, Rahimyar said that she was uncomfortable going to school with henna on, but when other girls got it done, white girls mostly, all of their friends would say that it was cool.

“It’d be unique, but in a bad way for me,” said Rahimyar.

Khan said that when people think or hear the word Muslim, it is not viewed positively.

“Islam is a very diverse religion,” said Khan. “It’s why we do events like this.”

Naeem said that henna has become part of Islam.

“I think it’s fun,” said Safeta Basuljevic, a freshman and accounting major. “It’s a cultural and religious thing.”

Raphael Spencer, a freshman and attende, said that people have to get the sense of what Muslims are about.

Spencer said, who got a henna tattoo of his name in Arabic said he was pretty intrigued.

Events like these, said Rahimyar, are not cultural appropriation, because he and the MSA want people to come out and get to know their culture.

“People use it as a costume, and I think it is definitely appropriation,” said Khan.

She said she believes the event is not cultural appropriation, but put emphasis on the fact that people who wear it as costumes or do not know what it is, is appropriating their culture.

“Events like this,” said Rahimyar, “help us claim what is rightfully ours.”

Photo Credit: Alexandra Scicchitano



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