After years of watching non-Muslims warily eye her religious attire, Hend El-Buri joked with some veiled friends that it might finally break the ice if they all wore bright pink hijabs to their University of Missouri classes one day.
The wardrobe whim has evolved into a national campaign involving thousands of other Muslim students, aiming to tear down social barriers and raise money for breast-cancer research (participants are asked to contribute to Susan G. Komen for the Cure).
The college junior created a group on Facebook proclaiming Oct. 26 as National Pink Hijab Day. Through word of mouth, more than 6,500 participants have signed up across the country, including young Muslim men who will wear rosy caps or shirts to show solidarity.
"It might make Muslim women more approachable," explained El-Buri, 20. "We might have different faiths and we might look different, but breast cancer can affect any of us."