Muslim Student Association hosts second annual World Hijab Day booth

By Vivian Richey, Staff Reporter

For the second year in a row, students at Columbia College got a chance to try on a hijab, or cloth head covering, as part of World Hijab Day. 

The event, sponsored by the Muslim Student Association, showcased a selection of hijabs and traditional Muslim clothing for men and women, as well as a backdrop for those who wanted to take pictures.

“All of the board members brought things they could add to the table, and in the end the booth turned out beautiful. At the end of the day our teamwork and dedication for this event pulled through,” said senior Nasim Ellahi, president of the Muslim Student Association.

“This day is to commemorate and appreciate hijabi women,” said Kashf Fatima, senior marketing major and vice president of the Muslim Student Association.

The MSA’s booth was open at the Student Center for the occasion on Feb. 1. One of the goals was to “open a door” to the experience of being a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, Fatima said.

“Our hopes for our MSA is to push the agenda of diversity and Islam awareness even further; we want people at Columbia College Chicago to see us, respect us, and try to learn more about it,” Ellahi said.

Part of MSA’s celebratory display was a poster board adorned with flowers that presented information about what hijabi is, what it means for women, along with similar practices and significant moments in hijab history, such as White Wednesday started by Iranian women as a sign of protest and the Swiss government’s 2021 ban on some face coverings.

“Hijab is one of the most misunderstood fabrics in the world,” Fatima said. Non-Muslim students may have an idea what a hijab is but may never have had the opportunity to try one on without wondering if it’s okay,” Fatima said.

Ellahi added that one of the most heartwarming parts of the day was seeing students’ smiles and laughter after putting on the hijabs, taking photos together and sharing it throughout social media to push the message.

World Hijab Day was first celebrated in 2013 at a school in Rochester, New York and more than 150 countries now celebrate. 

Fatima added that the meaning of the hijab in Islamic culture is a devotion to God and modesty. 

The concept of hijabs has become more popular recently through members of other religions sharing their traditions on social media, specifically Tiktok. Fatima compared the hijab to the practice of veiling due to its inspiration from hijabis in the west, which has become popular on Tiktok recently. 

“The highlight of today was seeing the sense of community, diversity and Islamic awareness at Columbia; the willingness for students to come up and learn more about MSA and the hijab is a blessing, since we are so used to the world oppressing us and other POC,” Ellahi said. 

Fatima said another reason the MSA decided to have the booth again this year was because they wanted to showcase their faith and the beauties of Islam, such as wearing a hijab.

“We are literally wearing our religion,” Fatima said.We represent our religion.” 

Fatima said she and the rest of MSA hope to continue to host the event annually. 

“We kickstarted last year where our hijab day booth kind-of got us recognized as a legitimate club,” Fatima said. “Some people didn’t even know we existed until they saw the hijab day booth.”

The Muslim Student Association meets every Wednesday in room 314 of the student center and can be reached through their Instagram account @msa_columbiachi.