Soha Samla doesn’t typically wear her Islamic hijab, but she wrapped a tan one around herself Wednesday to feel closer to God for the day.
Samla was one of about 80 people, some for the first time, who tried on hijabs of various colors and patterns. UF’s Islam on Campus put on the “Hijab-a-Thon” to kick off Islam Appreciation Month, said coordinator Sana Nimer. They invited students of all religions to wear a hijab for the day and take it home.
“Islam is not this big, scary boogeyman that people want to make it out to be,” Nimer said. “If you come talk to us, hopefully we can help you understand that and get rid of some misconceptions.”
The hijabs were donated by individuals and businesses, such as Haute Hijab, Abaya Addict and Hijab Culture, Nimer said.
Although the event wasn’t held last year, the club wanted to revive it to educate more students on Islam, said club member Rashhan Siddique.
“Islam itself abolishes that concept of oppression, of oppressing women and oppressing people in general,” the 23-year-old UF electrical engineering senior said.
The rest of the month includes an Islam Fair, a public prayer, a slam poetry event and various other activities, Nimer said.
The event ended with a dinner and panel at the Reitz Union Rion Ballroom for
everyone to discuss their experiences. The panel’s guest speaker was Nadine Abu-Jubara, who is a co-owner of Verona Collection, a modest fashion company for Muslim women.
Samla, a 19-year-old tourism, event and recreation management sophomore, said she was excited to partake in and organize the event because it wasn’t held her during her freshman year.
“There are a lot of people out there that think Muslims are monsters under the scarf,” she said. “I want (students) to be able to wear it and realize ‘I’m still myself. I just have something wrapped around my head.’”