Last October, ICC held an event called “Hello, Hijab!” at Okuma Garden House. I was actually not the one who proposed this event. The one who did it was Ade, an Indonesian student of GSAPS. However, even though I was not the one who proposed this event to ICC, I have always wanted to introduce hijab to non-Muslims through fun and interactive event. For that reason, I was so happy when I got assigned as the SSL in charge of this event. This event means a lot to me not just because it is actually the first event that I organized in ICC, but also because through this event, I can fulfill my duty as a Muslim to introduce our religion’s custom.
The purpose of this event was not merely to introduce hijab, but to let the public, specifically students of Waseda University know that Islam is not a religion filled by pathetic extremist like what the media says, and hijab is not limited to black and white. As we all know, there were many attacks allegedly done by ISIS, a group of Islamic extremist. Along with that, there has been a lot of discrimination targeting Muslims all over the world. That is why I wanted to give Waseda students the opportunity to interact with Muslims from different countries and give other Muslims the opportunity to show that Islam is actually a really peaceful religion.
One of the hardest parts of organizing this event was gathering Muslim supporters. At first, we tried to recruit Waseda students through ICC’s mailing news. Little did we know that there are not that many Muslim women who are wearing hijab in Waseda. We received few replies from male Muslims who helped us spread the news about this event outside of Waseda to find supporters.
To make their task easier, I decided to create a poster for recruitment and asked them to put it in mosques and other places. It took some time and a lot of patience, but long story short, we managed to gather 13 supporters. Since most of our supporters are not from Waseda, it was difficult to hold a meeting where everyone could participate. Consequently, the meeting was held pretty late. But, thankfully, all of our lovely supporters were so enthusiastic and cooperative.
On the day of the event, I was pretty nervous. However, looking at my supportive teammates and cheerful supporters, I felt a bit relieved and grateful that I had the chance to do this event with these people. The event went pretty smoothly without any major problem. During the first session of the event, which was presentation about hijab, Ade-san introduced about hijab a little. Since the purpose of this event was not to give formal education about hijab, she tried to make it as enjoyable to listen to as possible so the participants could comprehend the content easily.
The next session was the tutorial session. During the tutorial and tryout session, the participants all seemed very enthusiastic. They walked around looking at different scarfs that was exhibited and picked their favorites to try on. The supporters were also very kind and friendly to the participants. They all patiently helped the participants to put on hijab while making conversations. Some people even took pictures with each other, filling the room with smiles and laughter.
After the tutorial, the next agenda was the fashion show. We had a lot of difficulties convincing people to join the fashion show because most people were too shy and they thought it would be like one of those fashion shows in fashion events. After failing a few times, 7 lovely girls were willing to be the model for the fashion show. Each of them wore clothes in different theme that show how do Muslim women mix and match their outfits. From the ICC, Kawaguchi-san, which is another person that was in charge of helping the event, and I also did the fashion show. When the models walked the mini runway, the participants seemed very interested; some of them even took pictures and videos.
The last session of the event was café time. During this session, we gave the participants and the supporters more time to interact with each other while drinking and eating snacks provided. We also received snacks for café time from a company called “Osama Rice Cracker” that kindly supported ICC’s event for the second time. Looking at these people who did not know each other interacting enthusiastically somehow made my heart felt warm and my chest was bursting with happiness.
N.M (Student Staff Leader)