RLC sparks talk about religious diversity on World Hijab Day

by Britteny Johnson, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Religious Life Community observed World Hijab Day on Wednesday by sharing information about the hijab and wearing it in solidarity in hopes that it would highlight different viewpoints.

This year marks the fifth annual World Hijab Day and the second year that Simpson has taken part in the event. Nazma Khan, of New York, came up with the idea for the first WHD as a way to invite women outside of the Muslim faith to wear the hijab, experience what it is like and to create a better understanding of the Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab, according to the WHD website.

Andrea Casaretto, a junior who practices the Muslim religion, said WHD means more to her than just wearing a hijab; it’s about recognizing those who do every day.

“For me this day is about recognizing people who wear this on a daily basis and who get harassed for it. Also, for those who everyone pities, because they think that someone is forcing that poor girl to wear it,” Casaretto said.

Last year RLC used this day to invite people to wear the hijab and experience what it was like. This year, however, they have taken a more focused route.

“This year for World Hijab Day we want to offer multiple perspectives on the hijab and on women who face discrimination because of their faith and their appearance,” Kay Fee, RLC Interfaith intern, said. “So instead of saying wear the hijab to show solidarity, we are saying do whatever you feel is the most respectful way to show solidarity.”

Casaretto said that she personally is fine with people wanting to wear the hijab in solidarity, but they need to know how to answer questions about it before they do.

Some may see the hijab as a sign of oppression, but Casaretto said that she wants people to know they not everyone who wears a hijab feels oppressed. She acknowledges that some do but not all.

“Not everyone who is wearing it is oppressed. They feel more oppressed when you are trying to tell them to take it off,” Casaretto said.

By participating in WHD and sharing the information they have found, RLC hopes that students will take an interest and learn different viewpoints. Fee said on behalf of Interfaith that they welcome questions from students.

RLC posted links to informational articles about different viewpoints on wearing the hijab, both day to day and in solidarity to their Facebook and Twitter pages: Simpson College Interfaith and @SimpInterfaith.

“We can’t stress enough that if you have questions about any faith. You don’t understand it or maybe it kind of scares you and you would like to learn more about it, email [email protected], and if we don’t have the answers, we can connect you with someone who does,” Fee said.

For more information about World Hijab Day, visit worldhijabday.com.