World Hijab Day celebrated at UMSL by Muslim students and public

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NORMANDY, MO (KTVI) – A curious crowd of lunch time students gathered around a table full of head scarves.

At the University of Missouri St. Louis, the Muslim Student Association encouraged undergrads and anyone interested in wearing a hijab on World Hijab Day.

'So hijab is basically to protect our modesty,' says Alaa Saffaf, Muslim Student Association President.  'We wear it to show that there`s more than meets the eye.  It`s not all about our looks.  It`s about what`s on the inside.'

For the past five years, February 1st has marked World Hijab Day.

It`s estimated 140 countries take part in show of solidarity.

'We definitely wanted to come out and support our Muslim students and show solidarity,' says Laura Holt.   'With everything going on recently with Islamophobia that some of our students are experiencing we just wanted to show some love and learn ourselves and what it feels like to wear it'

Organizers say the goal of the day is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect one another.

Whether it was confidence or connected, students left words to convey how they felt after donning their new head scarves.

'I was thinking about it like what are they doing over there, are they giving you pamphlets about Islam or candy,' says Akila Jackson, Student.  'There were both of those things but also, `Whoa people are trying on Hijabs that is different. ` I would like to see what that`s like, so I`m glad that I did it.  It was really cool.'

'Pride, beauty, confidence,' says Cynnamon Cole, Student.  'There`s a number of terms that I can think of.'

'Words about how they felt and words of encouragement to us,' says Saffaf.  'It`s really amazing the stuff that people are writing on the board.  It`s really beautiful.'