Muslim Student Association hosts second Hijab and Kufi Day

The sounds of the oud – a short-necked Arab instrument – floated through the air in the Attallah Piazza at Chapman’s Hijab and Kufi Day March 1, hosted by the Muslim Student Association (MSA).

This marks the second year that MSA has hosted the event. Last year’s eventwas held to protest the sentiments behind President Donald Trump’s travel ban, said Muhammad Karkoutli, president of MSA.

“At that point in time, the Muslims on campus felt like they needed to do something,” he said. “This year, it’s a way to engage the community and raise awareness on the hijab and kufi. (We want to share) our tradition and expose it to the public.”

About 24 percent of reported religious hate crimes in the U.S. were anti-Islam, according to a 2016 FBI report. Seventy-five percent of Muslims feel that there is discrimination against them in the U.S., according to a 2017 Pew Research Center report.

One of the purposes behind the event was to reduce Islamophobia, said Hakeem Wakil, the MSA treasurer.

“Everyone in the Chapman community was so welcoming to our event and I was so excited seeing people I have never met before ask a little about Islam,” Wakil said. “Our goal in MSA is to play a positive role in the Chapman community, and I feel like Hijab and Kufi Day has done just that.”

The kufi is a traditional cap worn by Muslim men, and the hijab is a headscarf worn by Muslim women.

Junior kinesiology major Kenzie Saleh, a member of MSA, drew henna on the people who attended the event.

MSA is a nationwide nonprofit organization that brings students together and promotes tolerance, according to its website. There are 98 registered MSA chapters in the U.S.

“(MSA) is not exclusively for Muslims,” Karkoutli said. “(We want to provide a space) where people who are interested in Islam or happen to be Muslim can meet up, socialize and learn from one another.”

Among the people at the MSA table was freshman Noor Dababneh, who is a Jordanian Christian and a peace studies major.

“It’s important for me to be a part of MSA because there’s (this) sense of community,” Dababneh said. “I get to meet people who are from the same background as me and have things in common.”

by Alya Hijazi
*Originally published in the Panther 3/02/18*

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