“…but all terrorists wear hijabs:” an ode to ignorance

Ruth Onyirimba

The Muslim Student Association hosted an event on Thursday, April 16 that invited Quinnipiac students to try on hijabs and experience one aspect of the reality of being a Muslim woman on campus. Naturally, I decided to join the fun.

I should warn you now that I didn’t experience anything too far out of the ordinary, as I had feared. I thought that my Christian friends would look at me differently, but that was not the case at all. I feared that people would avoid me, but, besides the occasional stare, I felt fairly accepted. Although I was a bit self-conscious at first, the day went smoothly for me.

Enter Yik Yak.

After I was done with the social experiment, Ayah Galal, a friend of mine and a member of the MSA, showed me a string of comments that had been posted on the app.

The first was a comment promoting the event. The next asked what the event was promoting. The third explained the presence of negative stigmas that surround hijab and offered that one of the purposes of the event was to increase exposure to the headscarf.

Later on came this sentence: “Not all people that wear hijabs are terrorists but all terrorists wear hijabs.”

I hereby dedicate the rest of this article to the person who posted this nonsense.

First of all, this comment is both ignorant and offensive to members of the Quinnipiac community, including myself. Although I’m not Muslim, I don’t believe that this comment is fair, educated or even remotely kind.

Secondly, you were right when you said that not all people that wear hijabs are terrorists. All of the Hijabi women (women that wear headscarves) that I’ve met at Quinnipiac have been kind, educated and expressive. However, whoever told you that all terrorists wear hijabs has horribly deceived you.

First of all, not all terrorists are women – in Islamic culture, only women are expected to cover their heads with a hijab. Women often make the decision to practice hijab order to express their modesty and dedication to God, not to promote violence and chaos.

Second of all, not all terrorists are Muslim.

For those of you who didn’t quite understand me, I’ll say it again: Not all terrorists are Muslim.
Now, I’m not denying the fact that there are extremist Islamic terrorists that have committed heinous crimes. However, there have been many terrorist crimes that have been committed by – and against – people of several religious affiliations.

To conclude, diversity is a topic that comes up a lot in the Quinnipiac curriculum, but are we paying attention? The racial, ethnic and religious differences between us provide us with a unique opportunity to learn from one another, but why is it that some of us don’t seem to want to learn? Many students on campus have been negatively affected by misconceptions and ignorant comments about their race, religion, sexual orientation and other things that seem to set them apart.

This week, I’m going to do my best to learn about these different groups instead of simply rejecting or ignoring them… I’d love for you to join me.