Student initiative provides emergency hijabs to Muslim women in need

Photo: Peter Hagyo-Kovacs

Muslim women whose head coverings are damaged or lost in an attack now have access to replacement hijabs at Dalhousie University.

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Emergency hijab kits put together by the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group and the Dalhousie Student Union contain fabric, pins, and information for bystanders who witness an attack.

Amina Abawajy, president of the student union, describes the project as “a proactive step” taken in response to concerns from students, specifically Muslim women, “feeling a lack of safety.”

The emergency hijab kits contain fabric, pins, and information for bystanders who witness an attack.

She says the idea emerged after last January’s shooting at a Quebec City mosque, where a gunman killed six people and injured many others.

“Islamophobia is very real. It’s very present, not only on campuses but in the wider community,” says Abawajy. “This is our way of responding to the alarming rates of Islamophobic incidents.”

Amina Abawajy, president of the Dalhousie Student Union, says hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise.
Dalhousie Student Union

“As Muslim students, we’ve had these experiences ourselves. And as Muslim students who are now in positions of leadership, we have a responsibility to bring these voices to the table, to advocate for our communities, and to ensure that not only are we responding but we have proactive measures so that when incidents do occur we’re there to support our students.”

Dalhousie security has jumped on board with the project, stocking the kits and ensuring their availability at the university’s campuses in both Halifax and Truro.

Abawajy is encouraging other student unions to look at the project and consider implementing a similar resource.

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