By Tahaara Gazali
Two photographs: different years; women, men; students, staff; diverse races, colors, ages, and religions. What do these people have in common? They are celebrating International Hijab Day.
A hijab is a veil worn globally by Muslim women. It reflects their lifestyle of modesty and shows their devotion to their god, Allah.
February 1st celebrates Muslim women, their religion, and their culture. Non-Muslims honor the Muslim faith; women wear hijabs and men wear head coverings called imamas or white clothing called khamees.
Maryam, Safiya, Nasra, and Amina Gazali introduced the tradition to RCSD in 2015 through the Rochester International Academy. The celebration has spread to other RCSD high schools, including East High school and World of Inquiry #58.
Muslims and participating non-Muslims compared their experiences. Vicki Casarett, an ENL teacher at East High, shared, “at first, I worried about revealing any hair; but then it felt cozy.” Shafiqa, who converted at the age of 19, says, “I feel honored and protected in it.” Manasha, who was born Muslim, claims, “I feel comfortable. I would not consider going out without it.” In sharing tradition, Muslims and non-Muslims alike have gained cultural understanding.