CSUSB Muslim Student Association sponsors 2nd annual Hijab Challenge Week


Students, staff and faculty members at Cal State San Bernardino  are encouraged to try on the hijab – a traditional headscarf worn by Muslim women – and wear it for a day.

MSA - Hijab Challenge Week 2012

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The goal of the challenge by the CSUSB Muslim Students’ Association is to demonstrate how modesty and self-respect are a personal choice that empowers women in the United States and around the globe.

The four-day event – which began Monday and runs through Thursday, Oct. 18 – includes MSA members distributing hijabs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today through Wednesday inside of the Santos Manuel Student Union. Pink hijabs will be available for students to express their solidarity with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Participants are encouraged to practice other forms of modesty that Muslim women would adhere to, including wearing long clothing and maintaining a respectful attitude towards others. The concept of “hijab” involves a set of principles beyond simply wearing the headscarf — and is not limited to the female gender.

Male students, faculty and staff are being asked to wear green T-shirts to show their solidarity with women taking the challenge, and are also encouraged to dress and act modestly.

The event will conclude with a question-and-answer panel session on Thursday, Oct. 18, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Santos Manuel Student Union Theatre. Women who have taken the challenge will be able to share their experiences with the student body. Furthermore, the concept of the hijab will be discussed in depth.

The event is considered a valuable opportunity for students to experience life through a different lens, said CSUSB Muslim Students’ Association President Mahbuba Hammad.

The panel session last year was emotionally charged, with nearly every participant breaking down in tears; many claimed the event was a life-changing experience, Hammad said. The event earned the 2012 Excellence in Programming award from the Cal State San Bernardino Student Leadership and Development board.

The event drew regional and national attention, Hammad said. As a result, “We’ve had numerous student and faculty organizations request that we repeat the event,” she said. And “over 200 participants and several news outlets covered the event.”

Several social studies, humanities, communication and cultural studies professors have encouraged their students to participate in the event, and several sororities have agreed to participate.


The goal of the Muslim Students’ Association is to educate the community about Islam. It assists Muslim students in fulfilling their Islamic duty to promote Islamic values through various engaging means. It also aims to maintain a friendly atmosphere for positive interaction between Muslim students and other religious and social organizations on campus.

The MSA fully recognizes all religions and extends a friendly hand towards them. It holds high esteem for all opinions expressed in a respectful manner and supports dialogue that promotes understanding, enriching exchange of ideas and the dispelling of intolerance and misconception directed towards Islam or any other religion or group.

The Cal State San Bernardino Muslim Students’ Association meets every Thursday from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Santos Manuel Student Union in Skybox 207/208.

For more information, on the Muslim Students’ Association, contact Mahbuba Hammad at (909) 537-3794 or by e-mail at msa.csusanbernardino@gmail.com. Also, visit the MSA website and at follow the group on Facebook.

Also see television coverage from KCAL 9 of the first hijab challenge in 2011 at “Students challenged to wear Muslim head scarves on campus.”

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.