The Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted events from March 28 to April 1 as part of Islamic Awareness Week.
Islamic Awareness Week provides students with an opportunity to learn more about Islam and the lives of Muslims, according to a poster presented by MSA.
There is no set week nationally for Islamic awareness, according to MSA members.
Freshman Lubna Farooqui joined MSA in the fall of 2015 and said that the purpose of the events was to engage students in better understanding of the religion.
“Mosques that are around the country will try to put on events to get people to learn more about what the religion is really about,” Farooqui said. “That’s kind of what we’re doing here this week.”
On Tuesday, March 29, the club hosted an event for students to try on a headscarf for a day. Students were encouraged to learn how to put on and wear a headscarf, or hijab as it is called in Arabic, for the day.
The hijab is a form of an internal moral system, according to brochures handed out by MSA members. The brochure stated that Islam’s code of modesty extends to all aspects of one’s life, including attire.
“We gave out scarves and people would come in and learn how to put it on and wear it around campus,” Farooqui said.
Students came back at night to talk about how they felt wearing the hijab for the day and their experience with it, according to Farooqui.
“For [try on a headscarf for a day] I think the people who came in were people who genuinely wanted to try it or learn a little more about why you wear a hijab,” Farooqui said. “I think it’s nice that there is curiosity to learn more about it.”
Freshman MSA member Taqua Naeem was happily surprised with the turnout and dedication that students showed for the event.
“After the event I walked around campus and I actually saw people still wearing [hijabs]. I was like ‘oh my gosh!’ It was really touching,” Naeem said.
MSA members were pleased by the turnouts at the events throughout the week.
“[On March 29] we had a really good number of people that came in. We only had a limited amount of scarves and we almost ran out,” Farooqui said.
Naeem was also pleased by the strong interest and participation of students.
“I think that the amount of people that came in is very telling about the Quinnipiac community, how accepting they are and the fact that we didn’t get any threats or hate from doing stuff like this,” Naeem said.
Farooqui hopes students have good impressions from the events and the week.
“We hope that they learn more about what Islam is about, and from [try on a headscarf for a day] the significance of what the hijab is and what it means to Muslim women who chose to wear it and maybe why sometimes people don’t chose to wear it,” Farooqui said.
The hijab is more than just a scarf or head covering; there is a deeper meaning to the hijab, according to Naeem.
“The thing with hijab, it’s not just covering up on the outside,” Naeem said. “It’s also a modesty of character and that’s the major part of it. It not just wearing a headscarf that makes you automatic Muslim, it’s what’s on the inside that is really, really more emphasized.”
But when it comes to the club as a whole, image is important.
“I hope that the image that we’re trying to send out now contrasts the image that has been sent through the media. We’re not bad people,” Naeem said.
Farooqui said the goal of MSA is to educate others.
“It’s just to get people to know what Islam is all about,” Farooqui said. “I think sometimes in the media you don’t really understand what it’s about and so this is kind of a chance for everyone on campus to learn more about Islam. If they have any questions they can come to any of our events and ask us.”
Farooqui said Islamic Awareness Week was important because it allowed other students to understand the religion in a more intimate way.
“It’s just to get people to learn more about Muslim and Islam in general just so they have some general knowledge about what the religion is really about,” Farooqui said. “Also for Muslim students to have a place to come and feel free to be themselves and just sort of have a core group that shares the same belief values.”