By Greg Mills
SAN BERNARDINO (CBS) — Students at California State University San Bernardino were challenged to wear traditional Muslim head scarves this week in a campaign that many people hoped would change attitudes.
Corinna Ordonez, a Catholic, was one of the students who took on the challenge, dressing in a traditional Muslim head scarf called a Hijab.
“I’m looking at them and I wonder how other people look at them and if they judge them. Things like that, so I wanted to try it,” she said.
That was exactly the idea behind the Muslim Student Association’s “Take the Hijab Challenge,” which they issued to students at CSUSB.
“Walk in our shoes for a little bit to see what we go through,” said Naheed Sahak, who believes there are common misconceptions in the U.S. regarding people, who are Muslim.
She said that many women in our country, who wear a Hijab, get negative and in some cases hostile reactions.
The literature that the association provided stated that the Hijab, an Arabic word for scarf, is worn by Muslim women for modesty.
“You know, in the twenty-first century especially you see girls that think beauty is about showing your body,” Sahak said.
Critics claim that wearing a Hijab is a form of oppression, that women are considered subservient to men, because they have to cover up while men do not.
Sahak said that she does not believe that to be true.
The women I spoke with said that they chose to wear the Hijab and generally started wearing it in their late teens or early 20s.
The few people I spoke with also said that they honestly have never experienced any negative reactions to wearing the scarves, which cover much of the head.
“Personally, myself, no, thank God,” Sahak said.
Ordonez said that she spent about an hour working on her hair in the morning, but did not mind covering it up to take the challenge. She was joined by more than 200 women over a two-day period
Ordonez wore it around campus and expected to get a lot of dirty looks.
“Most of the reaction that I got was people trying not to look at me. If they looked at me kind of by accident, they [would] look down,” she said.
Thursday the Muslim Student Association planned to show videos of those who took the challenge and recorded reactions, followed by a question and answer session.