Non-Muslim Students, Professors, Wear Hijab to Protest Harassment
By IslamOnline and News Agencies, 3 October 2001
In a show of solidarity with Muslims, students and professors at the University of Connecticut (Uconn) are wearing the hijab, or Islamic head covering, to protest incidents of harassment on campus.

Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, there have been six reported incidents of harassment against Muslim students on campus. Muslim students say that the actual number might be higher since many incidents go unreported.

Four students from Gulf countries have already left the country due to either direct harassment or fears of possible harassment.

Anne D'Alleva, professor of art history and women's studies, who started the hijab movement says, "There has been physical harassment where women have had scarves snatched from their heads. Male students have been physically attacked and there has been lot of verbal harassment."

In order to combat hate on campus, D'Alleva made the rough-hewn scarves herself from pieces of inexpensive black cloth. The back of the scarves carry the message, "Them equal us." About 30 students and professors are reportedly wearing the hijab since the movement first started on September 24th.

Miriam Lee, 20, a junior at Uconn, says that she is now experiencing first hand how hijab wearing women are treated on campus. "My whole life I've been a little white girl," she said. "Now when I go to classes, I find people make a lot of space around me, give me weird looks and say nasty things."

Flor Amaro, a senior at the university, says that she gets weird looks and has also received a death threat. "You don't know who you have to be on guard against," said Amaro. "There are definitely classes I haven't gone to, not so much for fear of my safety, but for the verbal attacks I know I will get."

Muslim students are thankful for the women's supportive gesture. "I think the women who do it are really strong," said Hila Yosafi, 19, a sophomore from Bristol. "On a college campus, it's something people notice right away."

On Monday, students also held a "Rally for Unity" which drew about 200 students.

The hijab movement is spreading across the country.

At the University of Michigan last Friday, graduate student Lisa Levin called on non-Muslim women on campus to wear the hijab and show support for Muslims.

Some students protested wearing the head covering, associating it with the subjugation of women. Levin, who is Jewish, urged those who are uncomfortable with hijab to wear wristbands instead.

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