The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C., is considering allowing a Muslim woman who was admitted to wear the hijab on campus.
The college has strict rules on uniforms, and this move would be the first religious accommodation in 175 years with regards to the dress code.
I used to live five minutes away from The Citadel, and would pass by the college almost daily, marveling at the lack of diversity as the cadets (mostly white men with short hair) marched by. Their website claims the students are 7% female, and 22% minorities.
The public university has very strict uniform requirements. For example, mustaches, sideburns, and hair needs to be “neatly trimmed and styled.” Beards are prohibited, unless “required…for medical reasons.”
Many people were outraged when they heard that a Muslim cadet wants to wear her hijab, and that the school is considering it; one Twitter user was even against women being at The Citadel, period.
Unfortunately for him, The Citadel stopped being an all-male affair in the 90’s. In fact, the first woman graduated in 1995, and the college has been co-ed ever since.
Check out some of the mind-boggling tweets below:
We’ve got some bad news for the Islamophobes–it’s a public institution, and it’s her First Amendment right. That’s the great thing about it being America. (Do you even read the Constitution, bro?!)
Moreover, the college has an Office of Chaplaincy, and actually encourages students to get involved in religious groups “of their choice.”
There’s been no public response from the student, even after the horrendous social media backlash. (We at Muslim Girl got yo back, sis!)
Sadly, the backlash she faces may have just begun, as The Citadel has a history of racism. The most recent incident happened just a few months ago, in December 2015. At that time, eight cadets were disciplined for wearing white hoods reminiscent of those worn by the KKK, during a “Ghosts of Christmas Past” skit. What’s even more disturbing is that it seems the incident went unchecked by campus administration until The Citadel Minority Alumni Association posted about the shocking act of racism on social media.
If The Citadel does indeed allow this Muslim woman to wear the hijab as a student at their institution, which we are totes making duaa (supplication) for, it will be an unprecedented moment in history. Yes, the military has strict rules and regulations–as it should–but there’s no reason that an accommodation can’t be made for this sister, especially when educational institutions should be environments that foster pluralism and understanding of differences.
After all, there’s really no better real-world learning experiences than the ones that we get because of our exposure to diversity and inclusivity.