University of Wisconsin students wear hijabs during ‘Islam Appreciation Week’

Dec 8, 2016 by

MADISON, Wis. – University of Wisconsin students are participating in a “Hijabi for a Day” event that’s designed to spread awareness about the Muslim headscarf and counter “islamophobia.”

Student across campus donned hijabs last Wednesday – becoming what’s known as hijabis – as part of an event for Islam Appreciation Week put on by the University of Wisconsin Muslim Student Association and the Wisconsin Union Directorate Global Connection, the Badger Herald reports.

According to the news site:

During “Hijabi for a Day,” the women met in the morning to receive their head scarves and also get assigned a texting buddy, who wears a hijab on a day-to-day basis.

Farhat Bhuiyan, one of the organizers of the event, said one of the main goals is to normalize Muslim female practices.

UW-Madison Professor Anna Gade, an “expert on Islam,” quoted the Quran as an impetus for the outreach.

“I think that ‘Hijabi for a Day’ is really in the spirit of what the Qur’an says when it teaches its readers that people of diverse backgrounds and identities, including Muslims, should ‘get to know one another’ (Qur. 49:13),” Gade said in an email to The Daily Cardinal.

The event, however, seemed to backfire as some students who witnessed their non-Muslim classmates in hijabs accused them of cultural appropriation, Bhuiyan told the Herald.

“I got some looks,” said sophomore Anna Ambros, who participated in the event. “I’m sure they were wondering why I was wearing a hijab because I never had before. I’m not a Muslim.”

Coincidentally, UW’s Islam Appreciation Week and the “Hijabi for a Day” was largely overshadowed by a Muslim student at the University of Ohio who went on a rampage with a butcher knife that injured 11. Police believe that attack stemmed from student Abdul Artan’s radical Islamic beliefs, CNN reports.

Regardless, Bhuiyan told the Herald the response to the Hijabi for a Day prompted mixed reactions from UW students.

“Throughout the day, Bhuiyan said she received both positive and negative feedback,” according to the news site. “She said that the negative feedback suggested it was cultural appropriation or offensive.

“Bhuiyan said those who feel negatively might not understand the point of the event. She responded to every message she received during the day, trying to explain the organization’s goals.”

Students who donned the headscarves last week also discussed their experience afterwards, and “many of the women said they received compliments during the day and felt beautiful,” the Herald reports.

“Others expressed that more people would look at them while wearing the hijab.”

The hijab exercise is the latest in a growing trend of Muslim students convincing their non-Muslim classmates to don the headscarf for a day to gain an understanding of their circumstances, and the events have caused controversy in many K-12 school districts, EAGnews reports.

Officials at a school in Ohio last school year were forced to cancel a “Covered Girl Challenge” because of the backlash.

The “Hijab for a Day” events are spawned in part by recommendations from the U.S. Department of Education on how schools can counter anti-Muslim bias in schools, which were outlined in a “Home Room” blog published by the department following terrorist attacks in Paris and California earlier this year, EAGnews reports.

The event at the University of Wisconsin prompted at least one online commenter to point out the hypocrisy of the “Hijab for a Day” events in the larger context of Islam’s treatment of women.

Reader “Arafat” posted to The Daily Cardinal:

I think UW/ Madison women should go to Saudi Arabia – experience the searing heat while being forced to wear a burka. (A burka for the naive UW Madison women is a black cloth back that covers everything but a woman’s eyes.) They should experience how beautiful doing this is during the months of July and August and they should realize that Muslim women have no choice.

NO CHOICE. UW Madison women unknowingly are playing pawns in this Muslim game. The game of pretending Islam is about choices and respect of others, when in reality Islam means submission, with submission meaning the individual giving up all rights, ALL CHOICE for the group think of Allah.

This is why, of course, the Arab Spring was an embarrassment to Islam for it showed that democracy and Islam are incompatible for democracy means choice, individual freedoms and women’s rights.

It cracks me up when liberal women and feminists get suckered into things like “Wear a Hijab Day.” How little … liberals and feminists really know about the real world of Islam.

Source: University of Wisconsin students wear hijabs during ‘Islam Appreciation Week’ |

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  1. Avatar

    Allah is the word for GOD, and all Arab Christians call GOD Allah. Islam means submit to GOD totally, and it is a choice how the woman covers. I was born in the Baptist faith 56 years ago, but 20 years ago I reverted to Islam, and the GOD I worship now is the same GOD as the GOD I worshipped in a Baptist church. So if you curse Allah know you are cursing your own GOD.

  2. Avatar
    Ash S.

    For the comment on Saudi Arabia–(a) there’s a difference between a headscarf and burka. And wearing a loose headscarf in the heat of July and August is actually a relief from the sun, which is why both men and women have been doing it in Saudi Arabia since before the advent of Islam.

    And (b) suggesting that Saudi Arabia`s oppressive laws are what represent real Islam is like my saying Dark Ages European debate on whether a woman should be considered similar in rights to a horse to represents “real” Christianity. That would be dumb. Men in all cultures have tried to oppress women. Islam gave women property rights and divorce rights that Europeans wouldn’t have until a millennium later. But since 1800s, the interpretive discourse in Islam has stalled, struggling to survive with an independent identity in face of rapid Westernization. And where men are modernizing rapidly, women are asked to bear the major burden of retaining identity. But for many of us, it is our choice to cover our hair–not just for modesty, but because it reduces vanity (men’s beard is meant to serve similar purpose). Ask a nun whether covering hair doesn’t make issues of body image closer to irrelevant.

    And yes, Islam is the attainment of inner peace achieved through submission to God. Ultimately, like many religions, it is a call to subsume the ego and worldly desires to achieve peace.

  3. Avatar
    Joe Garcia

    Will this university also have a Jewish appreciation day or a Christian appreciation day? If not, why not? If you can do this for Islam why can’t it be done for these other religions?

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