by Dr. Susan Berry
Dawa in an Illinois public school, courtesy of the Muslim Students' Association
The Muslim Students Association (MSA) of Vernon Hills High School–a public school in Illinois–hosted an event titled “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab,” which was designed to provide non-Muslim students with the opportunity to wear the hijab and understand more about the Muslim faith.“You can’t really understand or judge a person and their beliefs until you understand why they do it and what it’s like for them to do what they’re doing,” explained Yasmeen Abdallah, president of the school’s MSA. “This event is to hopefully denounce negative stereotypes.”
According to the Daily Herald, six members of the school’s MSA spent an entire morning placing hijabs on 17 non-Muslim girls as they discussed the garb’s meaning and tenets of the Muslim religion.
One non-Muslim girl–wearing a red hijab–said with more girls wearing them around school, “it could bring more acceptance to the religion and have more people become more aware.”
Jon Guillaume, principal of Vernon Hills High, expressed admiration for the MSA members.
“I think it is a difficult time to be a Muslim student in our high school, in our community, and in America,” he said. “I think this is an opportunity for our kids to embrace the Muslim community within the school. For other kids outside of this organization, to understand what it’s like for these girls to walk through our halls in this garment in a way that stands out from other kids. So, I’m proud of them.”
According to The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), the Muslim Students Association is “the most visible and influential Islamic student organization in North America.”
The organization, with approximately 600 chapters in the United States and Canada, was incorporated in January of 1963 when members of the Muslim Brotherhood convened at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with the goal of “spreading Islam as students in North America,” reports IPT.
Abdallah said she hopes the “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab” event will be held annually.
Dr. Susan Berry
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