Mesa students wear religious head covering to help fight Islamophobia


San Diego Mesa College Communications Office

The recent "hijab day" event should not have been such a cause of discussion on campus

Robeal Tesfamichael, Staff Writer

San Diego Mesa College allowed its Muslim Student Association to invite students of all religions to wear a hijab for a day during April 29 in order to raise awareness toward false Muslim stereotypes.

A hijab is a veil worn by Muslim women that covers their head and chest while in the presence of men outside of their immediate family as a form of modest attire. Due to false Muslim stereotypes that indicate the wearing of a hijab as oppressive toward women, The Muslim Student Association decided to hold an event that would deter these misconceptions of sexism. They elected to do so by providing female students with hijabs that they could wear all afternoon before meeting up in later that evening to discuss their experiences.

According to all the Muslim women who participated in this event, they primarily choose to wear the hijab to honor the will of “Allah” (Arabic term meaning “God”) and for their own self-liberation. While these particular Mesa students said they don’t judge those who do otherwise, these women would prefer to be known solely for their personalities and not for their bodies. Although Muslim men aren’t asked to entirely cover up their bodies they are taught to lower their gaze when in the presence of another woman if they are already in a relationship , illustrating that both Muslim men and women are asked to carry out duties for their religion even if the duties aren’t exactly same.

“Men and women are equal in Islam,” Hayatt Yasin, San Diego Mesa College student, said. “There is no such thing as sexism in our religion; it is utterly forbidden. When God talks about the equality of men and women, when he mentions them in the Quran he says, ‘and we believe men and women.’ He’s always mentioning men and women together.”

The general consensus among most of the non-Muslim female students who decided to take part in the event was that it was very eye opening. Many felt that their peers began to look at them differently while they wore a hijab; even claiming that there were students on campus who would talk to them in a manner suggesting that these women needed help. Having now become aware of the true intent behind Muslim women wearing a hijab, students were able to grasp a better understanding toward the adversity a female Muslim in America currently endures.

Several of the Mesa Muslim students indicated that what they see as the constant false portrayal of Muslim beliefs by mainstream media outlets has helped create stereotypes of Islam as being synonymous with terrorism for many American citizens. Unfortunately, because of this, plenty of Muslims in America are left to deal with unwarranted scorn and ridicule.

“It’s not even just Islam,” Isaac Noorwala, San Diego Mesa College student, said. Nowadays they just want drama to make money. Look at the coverage for Baltimore or back then during Ferguson.  Whatever can cause dispute, that’s where the money is so that’s what they’re going to do.”

While all of the Muslim students acknowledged that there are Muslim terrorists who believe that they are acting within their religion, these students want it to be known that they denounce those terrorists and that their false interpretation of Islam doesn’t represent the vast majority of them. The purpose of this event was meant to help improve religious and race relations across the country.Essentially, to inform people that despite two kinds of people being different they can still live amongst each other in peace so long as both groups aren’t a detriment to each other’s well-being.