Inside an Evanston church Saturday night, Rana Yurtsever recalled how she would have to explain why she wore a hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women, at the beginning of every school year in Washington, D.C. When she moved to Chicago during high school, she saw other girls with hijabs and thought she'd no longer have to answer questions about her religion from her peers and teachers.

"I was wrong," said Yurtsever, a sophomore at the American Islamic College in Chicago. "People still didn't understand that it's an identity, not just a cloth over your head."

Yurtsever and two others spoke about their experiences as Muslim women to an audience of about 30 at the Lake Street Church, 607 Lake St. The panel, titled "Women in the Islamic Tradition," was created by the church's interfaith committee as part of efforts to debunk misconceptions about Islam and the role of Muslim women.

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