This week, students at UT have hosted day and evening events meant to create awareness and clarify crucial misunderstandings held about Islam as part of Islam Awareness Week at the University.
These events are aimed to tackle current issues for the Islamic community. For example, on Monday the women of the Muslim community here at the University of Texas tabled at the West Mall, asking passersby if they were interested in trying on the hijab. The hijab is an Arabic word that literally means screen or curtain. In Islam, for both men and women, hijab is the physical and the metaphysical practice of modesty. Although hijab is an abstract concept, women traditionally practice hijab by wearing a headscarf, something that has been a cause of discrimination and hate crimes. While curious students tried on the hijab, women on UT's West Mall engaged with their fellow longhorns about the misunderstandings of the hijab and what the concept truly means: empowering women. More broadly, Islam Awareness Week seeks to join Muslims from various Islamic schools of thought, many of whom experience conflict both on this campus and around the world.
The cooperation of Muslim Longhorns on campus, exemplified by Islam Awareness Week, contrasts with the relationship between different Islamic groups around the world, many of whom face sectarian violence and injustice. Just like any act of violence and injustice, sectarian violence is an act that disrespects race, creed, color, ethnicity, religion or class. However, since the Soviet War in Afghanistan, this form of violence has escalated in the Muslim world.