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Scarves wrap up UT students' solidarity
By Jeannine F. Hunter, News-Sentinel staff writer

She's white, Roman Catholic and before this week, Ashley Maynor's patriotism was never questioned.

For the University of Tennessee sophomore, the half-day she spent wearing a head covering worn traditionally by Muslim women was an eye-opening experience.
In one of her classes Friday, she was asked if she was an Afghan sympathizer or a true American.

Maynor was a participant in Friday's Scarves for Solidarity Day. Female students and faculty displayed sisterliness toward Muslim women by wearing either imported scarves ordered from Detroit suppliers or white ribbons pinned to their shirts.
Maynor said after viewing a film about Islamic women Thursday night - part of a series of Muslim Student Association-sponsored events - she refashioned her view of the hijab, the head covering many Muslim women wear.

"Mary wore a head covering," Maynor said. "The hijab is an external expression for their internal faith. It is not a mark of subjugation."

Student members of the Progressive Student Alliance, Catalysts for Change and the Muslim Student Association manned two tables set up at the humanities building and the University Center plaza.

One hundred scarves were ordered and passed out by 11 a.m. Friday. Muslim students resorted to asking fellow Muslims to loan theirs and visiting local Middle Eastern stores for extras.

Around the country, South Asian women - Hindus, Sikhs and Christians - and Muslim women have been targets for harassment and insults. On UT's campus, a few students said either they or fellow students have received threatening phone calls.
Elisabeth Stedman, a UT freshman from Madison, Wis., wore a pin to show that she refrains from scapegoating individuals for the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

"We have worked together, and the MSA has been very supportive of our Living Wage campaign," said Katie Haworth, chairwoman of the Progressive Student Alliance, which supports economic and social justice. "It's not enough to say you support them. You have to show it."

Throughout September and October, non-Muslim women nationwide have adopted a scarf or hat covering to show they oppose prejudice and violence against Muslim women, and a national Scarves for Solidarity Day was organized for Oct. 8. In one Washington Post article an organizer said it wasn't a political symbol but a symbol of love, tolerance and American ideals.

Jeannine F. Hunter may be reached at 865-342-6324 or hunter@knews.com

This article has been reprinted with permission.

Your Comments

Kadijah, Albany - wrote on 10/2/2011 6:19:46 PM
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Comment: I am fortified more than ever before; when i read these various articles on the hijab. Before , I became a muslim; I dressed as a western woman; because I am ! and used to get alot of sexual gestures from men , and even friends of my boyfriends.I never dressed with a lot of skins showing ; I was a conservative dresser ; and still is ! but now , I wear my hijab, and the sexual stares has stopped in a negative way. That kind of behavior ; used to make me feel lost and sad; I felt that I was seen only as a sexual object ; and who I am was not noticed. However, NOW ! as I am wearing my hijab ! those same men and strangers bow their head when they see me ; and the first to say , " Saalam Allacum sister. " and they are ; muslims non-muslim men. I felt my self-esteem shoot to the roof ! my confidence rose! I am respected , and so proud that i am a muslima and pleasing Allah. I feel like a princess under my hijab !!!!!! because i am NOW seen as a person and not a sex symbol. My sexuality now feels safe for myself and my husband. and nothing is oppressive about it . I choose to wear it after studying Islam for Six years and was struggling to wear the hijab. Because , I loved to style my hair and loved how i looked, and thought that I would look like an old lady in it, and people will think that I am a terrorist. But as my faith grew and being in a spritual state of mind ; and how pure my soul felt ! In the month of Ramadan ; I satrted to wear it in the community and at my job ! my co-workers gave me and hardtime and continue to do so; but given the beautiful and pure way i am feelin; will not remove it to please anyone. So thank you again to the women who oppose to the way muslim women are treated wearing their hijabs. I believe that the West will see that we are not oppressed and we are servants of Almighty Allah ; who asked that we dressed this way ; and it should not be a polilitical issuse but a personal choice.

Jeremy Mseitif, Seattle - wrote on 12/31/2003 5:55:05 PM
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Comment: Thank you for showing your support and understanding of the issue.

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