Students try on hijabs part of Islam Awareness Week - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students try on hijabs part of Islam Awareness Week

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One religious group is letting students walk in their shoes but it's not in new sneakers. Instead, they're wearing hijabs worn traditionally by Muslim women.

On Wednesday afternoon, the University of Iowa Muslim Student Association held a "Hijab It Up" event on campus as part of Islam Awareness Week. They gave other students the chance to put on a hijab and ask them questions about wearing one because the group said there are a lot of misconceptions about Islamic women who wear hijabs.

"I think it's nice for others to step in someone else's shoes one day and see what it's actually about instead of just assuming," Salma Haider, the group's president, said.

Members of the group spent much of the afternoon wrapping head after head in hijabs at their table set up in the T. Anne Cleary Walkway, who in return learned more about what it means to be Islamic.

"We're just like you. We're not different. Islam is about peace," Haider said.

Muslim women, like Haider, say that's not often what other people see when they see a woman wearing a hijab. Through the event, they were showing others that wearing a hijab is a personal choice and not one that is forced upon them.

"I am a Muslim. I don't wear a hijab. My sister? She wears a hijab. It's up to you," she said.

For Ala Mohamed, she chooses to wear a hijab as a testament to her faith.

"When people see me they know I'm Muslim. I'm proud to wear my religion as part of my appearance," Mohamed said. "Not only does it speak out to what religion I am but it's also who I am."

Mohamed said it's events like Hijab It Up that can break down walls for people to better understand that faith.

"To try on the hijab or just to tell them about it would really take away from the media perception of the hijab as something that oppresses women. We just want to show them that it is a choice," she said.

UI freshman, Deidra Beavers, was one of the students that had her face wrapped in a hijab.

"I always kind of thought that the hijab was something that was kind of forced on people. people talk like its a threat to empowerment. It was nice to get a perspective from people that say, 'No it's positive, it's part of me, it's part of my culture," Beavers said.

Haider said she hopes through Islam Awareness Week, more people will have a better understanding of the religion and feel more comfortable to approach them with questions.

More information about the upcoming events can be found here.

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