The western world seems to be afraid to comprehend or sympathize with the media-made antagonists they have created. Cornering them all behind one image, Muslim women have dealt with the exhausting and excruciatingly unjust burden of fighting for their beliefs and their place in the world; all this in an attempt to shatter the stereotype that brands them. Muslims are not terrorists. Muslims are not “traditionally submissive” and Muslims will continue to battle for their rightful place in this world.
On July 31st, 2016, a Muslim woman was once again subject to an act of sexism and islamophobia by none other than the belligerent television personality and Republican presidential nominee that we have come to know as Donald Trump. Ghazala Khan, mother of Muslim army captain Humayun Khan who lost his life fighting in Iraq for his country (the United States of America), was dehumanized and disrespected when Trump insinuated that her religious beliefs were what kept her from speaking at the Democratic National Convention. Having once again being reduced to her religion and her gender, Khan had to defend herself and did so in an eloquent rebuttal.
Trump couldn't understand that Khan was still heartbroken over her son's death, and thus didn't have the capability to speak in public about him. She chose to stand by her husband rather than to speak. Trump's comment on how Khan's decision not to speak correlates directly to the religion that she practices is false, sexist, Islamophobic and is yet another example of the concept of "mansplaining".
First of all, Khan made a conscious decision to not speak. Despite the fact that she did not need to explain her decision to the rest of the world, she was pushed to explain her silence to the American public because of a false statement issued by Trump. The fact that she needed to do that alone shows how dehumanizing the comment was. She couldn't be seen as a mother still suffering the loss of her son, but rather was reduced to false assumptions about her religion and gender.
Moreover, Trump's ongoing Islamophobia is apparent in the statement that he made against Khan. Martin Luther King was right when he said,"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Trump seems to know nothing about the meaning of Islam and it's practice, which is indication of how dangerous is it to make false statements on air. People will eventually believe these fabrications and will thus fuel hatred against a certain people creating a pariah group with no valid basis of reasoning.
This even brings into question the dangers of infotainement. Why was it that no one on the ABC network came to the defense of Khan and allowed Trump's statement slide without any debate? Should Muslim women only blame Trump? Or should they also hold the ABC news network as accomplice to Trumps discriminatory statements?
Furthermore, mansplaining, another concept that Trump is unsurprisingly guilty of, is the act of of man giving an explanation to people on the actions of a woman in a condescending manner. The comments made about Khan are a a great example of mansplaining, as Trump takes it upon himself to explain Khan's actions to the world.
Little did Trump know, the out pour of outrage from Muslim women around the country would overpower his irresponsible statement and ABC news' airing false information about Khan as a women and a Muslim.
Muslim women flooded social media, posting their outrage as well as their achievements to prove to Trump and those who share his beliefs that they are dominating their professions. These professions include being professors at Ivy League universities such as the University of Pennsylvania. Professor GhaffarKucher tweets:
These women are also dominating the world of public speaking and even getting critically acclaimed awards in the well-respected profession of law like Ayah Housni, and activist Linda Sarsour who the Obama Administration once called "a champion for change".
Noor Wazwaz, a well renowned journalist who has written for NPR. Huffington Post, the Military Times, and US News & World Report came to Khan's defense by directing her tweet to Trump and those who have aided in false accusations against the stereotypes that Muslim women have to suffer through.
Wazwaz even brings out her experience in the field of journalism to contest Trump and his fantastic statements. However, it seems as though she is also addressing the problem of stereotyping in Media. This is once again an example on the dangers of infotainment and how it may tarnish the individuality and image of Muslim women in the United States. "Misrepresentations" she says are "shameless." She even claims that she became " a journalist to pursue transparency to clarify" these consistent "misrepresentations" of women and Muslims.
Instead of assuming that these women are oppressed without even having to ask consulting them is dehumanizing and yet another demonstration of a superiority complex celebrated by the Western world. Here's a hint; when people don't ask for help, it is not an invitation for you to interfere and exhibit what is known as a hero complex. If Khan decided to not speak, it is because SHE DECIDED that she did not need to speak, and NOT because her religion stifles her voice due to her gender.
The subject trended on social media, and in consequence more content was created to support the #CanYouHearUsNow campaign against the stereotype surrounding Muslim women. A Youtube video by Nour Kaiss called "I Am a Muslim Woman" brings together many Muslim woman who stand by Khan and reflect on the common misconceptions that are associated with being women with their background in society.
These are arduous times for Muslim women. They do not deserve this inhumane treatment. The silver lining here, is the solidarity and support these women are giving each other. Rising to defend Khan, they have created an indestructible stronghold against chauvinists like Trump. These Muslim women are heroes.