On November 2, 2015, a photoshoot in Sydney, Australia was swarmed by the police for suspicious activity. Although this “suspicious activity” was revealed to be pink clothing hanging on a fence to be used for the photoshoot, the police excused themselves by claiming they had mistook the clothing for “Islamic flags” because of “things happening over seas.” While this might seem like policemen simply doing their job and taking precaution, it realistically calls into question the blatant Islamophobia that is running obviously rampant throughout global society.
The profiling of people of color and according to religion has been an issue all over the world for decades, but in a society where rights for equality between gender and salary are at the forefront of discussions, it makes no sense to advocate for equality in one aspect and not the other. Islamophobia, literally meaning an irrational fear of Islam, has spread so deeply ingrained into global mindsets that simply hanging clothing from a fence warrants an excessive amount of police to become involved.
Tarik Houchar, the owner of Hijab House, the label conducting the photoshoot at the time, states that he believes they were targeted because the models, sisters — @twiicethestyle on Instagram — were wearing the hijab. The reported five officers who interrupted the photoshoot asked the Hijab House team to take down the clothing even though it was a public place and they were keeping respectfully to themselves and took down their personal information. The team, rightfully upset by the incident, took to addressing the matter on personal and public social media platforms.
“We just wanted all of you to know that no one should ever have to make you feel intimidated because of the way you dress. Hold your head high, wear your hijab in pride in these testing times, and make sure you have a good network of friends and family who will support and love you no matter what.”
While thankfully no one was physically injured during the interaction, the behavior of the police and civilians labeling Muslims as suspicious by nature is a major problem. Some inspiration can be taken from the incident however – unintimidated by the clear harassment and stereotyping the Hijab House team states on Instagram, “We just wanted all of you to know that no one should ever have to make you feel intimidated because of the way you dress. Hold your head high, wear your hijab in pride in these testing times, and make sure you have a good network of friends and family who will support and love you no matter what.”
Image: The Australian