ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – Members of the university community donned hijabs Wednesday to spread awareness of Islam.

“We want to bring awareness to women of the Islamic faith,” said Fraser Breon, a St. Bonaventure University sophomore and a member of the Muslim Students and Allies, which sponsored the event with school’s Student Government Association.

“Wearing hijabs shows our solidarity, and we’re also spreading awareness of the religion,” Breon explained. “Some people think Islam is oppressing women, but we want to show its religious value that is interconnected. It’s a powerful religion.”

Sign Up for E-News

The “Hijab Day” event took place in the Hickey Dining Hall, where the SGA and the MSA distributed dozens of colorful and printed scarves.

“It’s just a scarf; it’s hard to demonize someone when you know it’s just a scarf,” said MSA President Amina Golden-Arabaty.

SGA President Anneliese Quinlan said Hijab Day was part of a university campaign named IDEAL, an acronym that stands for inclusion, dignity, equity, action and love. The campaign is designed to spark open dialogue among faculty, staff, students and area community members.

“We had the race matters campaign last year, but this year we wanted to focus on not only race, but religion, equity inclusion and customs,” Quinlan said

Noting that the St. Bonaventure community held a rally against the president’s travel ban in February, Quinlan said that Hijab Day is a continuation of solidarity and support for the school’s Muslim students, faculty and friends.

“This is a great way to spread awareness and diversity on the campus.,” said Sarah Costello, a sophomore who decided to take part in the event after receiving a Facebook invitation. “It’s also great support especially with everything that’s happening around the world today.”