Why #MuslimWomensDay Matters and How You Can Help Celebrate
Women’s History Month is wrapping up, but today is the first #MuslimWomensDay.
In the age of Trump, every celebration of diversity counts, so we talked with Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, author of a Kim Kardashian-approved book and founder and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com, about the importance of making Muslim women’s voices heard.
Often, Islam is misunderstood as anti-feminist. How would you explain that misconception to someone who doesn’t understand Islam?
One of the biggest stereotypes lobbied against us is that Muslim women are oppressed. This has ironically been used to politically disempower Muslim women in the West even further by speaking or making decisions on our behalf. Yet, Muslim women have a long legacy of feminist scholarship and one of the founding principles of Islam itself is gender equality. In that way, being a Muslim feminist is actually redundant because being a practicing or observant Muslim inherently means being a feminist.
What is the objective of Muslim Women’s Day?
MuslimGirl.com is calling upon our allies to pass the mic to Muslim women by centering our voices online. There are so many conversations taking place around us regarding the Muslim ban and even the women’s movement, yet Muslim women are rarely given the space to be heard above all the noise. We’re largely underrepresented in the media, and sometimes the representation that we do have doesn’t capture the spectrum of stories and narratives that make up who we are. We teamed up with dozens of the most visible digital brands and organizations to change that by flooding the internet with content celebrating Muslim women today.
What would you say to someone who doesn’t understand why Muslim Women’s Day is necessary?
Muslim women have become one of the most targeted minorities in the country. We have been bearing the brunt of this past election’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. Yet, there have been very few shows of public support or solidarity with us. It’s easy to let the experiences of women of color get drowned out in larger conversations, so this Women’s History Month it made sense to at least give Muslim women their own space for a day. Plus, this is a great way for allies to actively engage in empowering us in this present moment.
Especially now, with the travel ban, why is the celebration of diversity important? What benefits do you see/feel directly from this as a Muslim woman?
It’s always crucial to center the voices of those impacted by certain policies such as the Muslim Ban. The adversity we’ve been facing has been real, and Islamophobia has been hitting new highs. Positive representation can be so transformative for marginalized communities in moments like these. We wanted to respond with a positive message that anyone could get behind and that we know would be an incredible morale booster for all the Muslim women out there. It’s always important to remember that we aren’t alone.
What can non-Muslims do to help celebrate today?
Amplify Muslim women’s voices on social media and share all the great content you’ll be seeing pop up on your news-feeds today!