Curious to learn about a different culture’s religious practices, 31 participants recently experienced putting on a hijab as part of an event hosted by the Muslim Student Association.
The hijabs, a veil many Muslim women wear to cover the head and chest, were donated by female Muslim members of the group for the April 9 event. Students and faculty who passed by the Bovee University Center had the opportunity to put on a hijab in order to experience Islamic culture.
“The reactions (to the hijabs) were great,” said Mishari Alkhuwaiter, a Saudia Arabia graduate student and president of MSA. “People in Mount Pleasant are usually open-minded and nice.”
Saudia Arabia graduate student Eman Alqurashi, who volunteered at the event, enjoyed seeing students being exposed to Muslim culture.
“It was nice to see people excited and participating rather than receiving strange looks because we dress differently,” Alqurashi said. “Feeling the acceptance make us feel great and being nice and open with them make them also more relaxed and open to us.”
Alkhuwaiter said the MSA, which has become more active this year, hosted the event as a way to break stereotypes the media often portrays about women in Islamic culture.
“People in the United States believe Muslim women are not empowered,” he said. “It’s their choice and religion to wear a hijab. There is no right culture and there is not only one right way to live life.”
Alkhuwaiter said the event went well, but wished they could have stayed longer. He said they are looking to do a similar event in the fall.
The MSA has about 60 members active in the organization. The mission of the organization is to raise awareness of the Islamic religion.
“Islam has billions of followers around the world and there is not enough awareness,” Alkhuwaiter said.