It was almost like any other school day, except the hijab, an Islamic headscarf, seemed to be everyone's fashion of choice among high school girls. It didn't matter if they were Islam in faith or not. They were simply celebrating World Hijab Day.
This World of Inquiry School No. 58 decided to take part in the celebration of World Hijab Day after one of its tenth graders, Eman Muthana, wrote a letter to school principal Sheela Webster about the possibility of celebrating the event in school.
"We wanted them to experience it and feel how we feel. I just feel proud that I'm sharing my culture," Muthana explained. According to a report from WHEC Rochester, students were invited to wear a hijab for a day. There were also tables set up in the cafeteria where girls can try on the headscarf and anyone can ask questions.
The school, however, ran into a bit of trouble when they failed to notify parents about the activity way ahead of time. In fact, parents were only informed about the event on the day of the event itself, after the media started inquiring about it. This prompted some backlash on social media.
The school, however, is no stranger to encouraging students to try something new in support of cultural enrichment or supporting people with cancer. Before holding its World Hijab Day event, the World of Inquiry School supported the "Bald for Bucks" campaign.
According to EL Education, some students and teachers lined up to get their hair shaved in support of raising more money for cancer research. Meanwhile, for the World Hijab Day, EAG News reports that the school gathered 150 pieces of hijab.
World Hijab Day is observed every first of February. The celebration started three years ago when New York resident Nazma Khan thought of using the hijab as a way to promote religious tolerance and understanding. Moreover, Khan wanted to dispel the myth that the hijab is meant to represent oppression and segregation. Rather, this sacred headscarf has the power to make someone feel beautiful.
As Canadian Muslim Ryane Fyith-Mcarthur put it, "My hijab makes me feel beautiful among others because people only can see my personality and not judge me based on my appearance and body shape." For her, wearing the hijab means people get to know her solely through her personality and character. Moreover, Fyith-Mcarthur also stresses that wearing the headscarf has never kept her away from school. In fact, she readily participates in competitive sports.
This year, Khan hoped to have 10 million participants for the World Hijab Day. Meanwhile, the Rochester School District maintains that its schools do not discriminate against religion and religious practices.