Feb. 1 is known as World Hijab Day, and to celebrate, ETSU’s Muslim Student Association sponsored an event with the Multicultural Center to let those who don’t practice the Islamic faith to come in and try on a hijab.
In addition, CEO of Haute Hijabs and popular beauty blogger Melanie Elturk was invited to speak. While many of the scarves were borrowed from members of the Muslim Student Association, many were also donated by Elturk herself for the event.
The event was intended to promote a greater sense of awareness of the Islamic faith, and to educate ETSU students about it.
“I see the support from the greater student community, and I see other people from outside the student community also participating, so that’s great,” said Taneem Aziz, a local photographer who came to the event to support some of his weekend school students.
Turnout for the event was so successful that it seemed the event might run out of scarves.
Hanin El-khateeb, Secretary of the Muslim Student Association and a member of the committee that helped plan the event, explained that it was part of the global celebration.
“In times that we’re living right now, we have to show the world what our religion is about, what the head covering that we wear means,” she said. To her, she explained, the hijab represents modesty and representing her religion.
Rana Elgazzar, president of the Honors College Student Council and the chair of Civility Month, explained what wearing a hijab means.
“For some people, it is an outward expression of the level of their relationship with God, and for others it’s just a fashion statement,” she said.
For her, it was partly about making a bigger statement about her religion, although she related that wearing a hijab did not make one woman more pious than another. She also felt that wearing a hijab helped with focusing on the parts of her character she wants other people to see.
Hunter Robinson, an ETSU anthropology major, and one of the participants at the event, said it certainly helped educate her.
By talking to and interacting with members of the Islamic faith and learning their stories, she now understands why women would want to wear a hijab.
Overall, attendants considered the event a success, and felt that it answered many of the student body’s questions about Muslims and their faith.