World Hijab Day aims to dissolve negative stigma

Bellevue College’s Muslim Student Association organized a World Hijab Day on Monday, Feb. 1, in order to foster awareness of the hijab and its cultural and religious foundation. Founded by Nazma Khan, World Hijab Day first began on Feb. 1, 2013, and since then the event has been replicated in multiple universities and colleges.

Members of MSA hold World Hijab Day.
Members of MSA hold World Hijab Day.

Khan’s efforts to spread World Hijab Day has been successful with over 91 members appointed as World Hijab Day ambassadors in over 33 countries, according to the official World Hijab Day website. “Throughout last year, Nazma Khan has been invited as a guest speaker at universities, high schools and religious organizations,” explained the website. “By opening up new pathways to understanding, Nazma hopes to counteract some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab.”

Furthermore, Khan will continue advocating for the awareness of the hijab. “This year, Nazma Khan’s aim is to have 10 million participants worldwide and asking for everyone’s support,” said the website.

At BC, MSA’s President Owla Mohamed organized a small booth by the fountain with hijabs in a variety of colors and styles. “It was an educational thing and removing all the bad stigma related to it,” explained Mohamed. “Basically, we’re celebrating it while educating people about what it is and what it means.” Aimed at educating non-Hijabi Muslims and non-Muslims about the ideas behind the hijab, Mohamed and members of MSA hope to address discrimination, Islamophobia and racism, said Mohamed. For Owla, the hijab represents modesty and kindness. “We have to be good people, nice and generous,” shared Mohamed.

MSA also plans on holding a collaborative event with the Arabic Culture Student Association titled, “Take on Hate.” Similar to the World Hijab Day, this event will feature a panel of community leaders and an open mic with spoken word performances, which will address Islamophobia, discrimination and misperceptions of Arab and Muslim culture. “Take on Hate” aims to portray the “diversity, richness and contributions made by Arab and Muslim communities to our country,” according to the event page. The event will be on Monday, Feb. 29, from 2 – 4 p.m. in the cafeteria.