With the hope to raise awareness about Muslim culture and bolster solidarity, Muslim students in different universities across the US have been organizing hijab days to give their colleagues a chance to support their Muslim peers.
“It’s no doubt that Muslim women are the most targeted among Muslims because we are outwardly representing the religion,” Marya Ayloush, a junior at UCLA and member of her school’s Muslim Student Association, told USA TODAY College on Monday, March 20.
“Unless we are able to educate people about it, and give the an opportunity to stand in solidarity, then we’re on our own.”
Ayloush, the primary organizer of Hijab Day at UCLA, said she was motivated to organize the event because she wanted to give students an opportunity to “stand in solidarity” with their Muslim peers.
The young Muslim blamed Islamophobia on the lack of representation of Muslims.
“It’s not ill-will,” said Ayloush.
“Many people think Islam is a religion of violence. But when you actually change their mind, they’re so happy. We know that most people are open-minded, accepting, tolerant.”
During Hijab Day at UCLA, Ayloush and her team of 20 volunteers wrapped headscarves onto their fellow peers. “All 200 scarves flew out in less than two hours,” she said.
Men were also given solidarity pins.
“Right now, we’re taking all the allies we can get,” she said. “We wanted to include brothers in this too.”
Mona Fouladi, a senior psychobiology major at UCLA, told USA TODAY College she really enjoyed the Hijab Day Ayloush organized.
“Hijab day was one of my happiest days as a UCLA student,” said Fouladi. “To be able to share my religion and be honest about my love for both hijab and Islam as a whole was truly a relief.”
Born into a Muslim family, Fouladi didn’t wear the hijab until she turned 17.
While Fouladi believes that “life for Muslims is certainly getting worse under Trump’s administration,” and she has experienced a rise in “bigoted comments,” she says there’s a silver lining to it all.
Acknowledging an increase of anti-Muslim harassment, support from her peers and fellow Americans has surged in recent months.
“The solidarity from my fellow Americans in response to the Muslim ban was amazing. As an American-Iranian, I really hope that this support will continue,” she said.