Islamic Community Center of Tempe welcomes Muslim students into community with hijab exchange

Islamic Community Center of Tempe hosts numerous events throughout the year, including social events for new community members

From holding events or interfaith discussion to teaching local children, Tempe students have a major hand in helping the Islamic Community Center of Tempe, a building located just a few minutes from campus.

Every weekend ASU volunteer at the center, teaching Saturday school for children between the ages six and 18. The mosque also offers services beyond traditional worship and classes on living with mental illness. 

One event, however, stands above the rest for many members in the community — the hijab exchange, which occurred most recently on Jan. 21.

The hijab exchange is one of the most popular events at the mosque, occurring several times throughout the year. Participants of the event said it is an empowering event for Muslim women and a way for the community to come together, socialize and spruce up their wardrobes.

Muslim women, who refer to themselves as Sisters in Faith, can bring hijabs they no longer want to swap with other sisters, as well as community donated headscarves. It is also an opportunity for new converts who might not own a hijab to stock their closet.

One of the attendees, Elena Coassolo, is a community member who converted to Islam several years ago and became active with the mosque, taking advantage of the Islamic Community Center’s classes for new members.

Islamic Community Center of Tempe welcomes Muslim students into community with hijab exchange from The State Press on Vimeo. Video by Mingson Lau.

“The hijab exchanges are a wonderful way for new sisters to meet each other and get new scarves,” Coassolo said. “These parties are just for fun and fashion, but we have a lot of other events that draw students and people from the whole Valley.”

Tabark Abdelhabib, a microbiology freshman who is interested in Muslim fashion, said it can be hard for new converts to integrate the new religion with their existing culture. However, the hijab exchange and other events like it make it easier to meet others who have gone through the same struggle before.

“The hijab is another article of clothing, and it can be hard to match with your outfit,” Abdelhabib said. “It’s very helpful to see women who’ve been wearing a hijab for a long time and see how they put it together.”

At the first hijab exchange of the new year, old friends excitedly chatted with one another and complimenting each other’s hijabs, while first-time visitors or new converts made introductions and tried on their first scarf.

Andrea Renee, the head of the outreach program, said the crowd size was around average, but that the goal for future events was to bring in more new members, especially ASU students.

“This is just one example of the events we do, but the hijab exchange really helps women come into the faith and feel accepted by the community,” Renee said. “It would be great if we could get more students to attend.”

Even students who don’t identify as Muslim can go to the mosque to find a home away from home. The Islamic Community Center hosts several interfaith events throughout the year and works heavily in outreach programs to ASU.

Those interested in upcoming events at the Islamic Community Center should visit the Outreach Facebook page

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