The disparaging rhetoric spewed by politicians and others with media power (a.k.a. Trump) is making women in hijab targets of violent acts. Sadly, this is nothing new. Since 9/11, the rise of attacks on women donning the hijab continues to increase.
Due to these incidents, CNN recently reported an increase in self-defense classes due to the wave of recent attacks that have targeted Muslim women.
“A Tampa woman fears she was shot at and nearly run off the road leaving her mosque. Three boys in the Bronx allegedly punched a Muslim sixth-grader during recess, trying to rip off her hijab. A New York postal worker was arrested after a Muslim woman accused him of spitting in her face, yelling anti-Muslim slurs, all while she pushed her baby in a stroller.”
Unfortunately, the wave of attacks and increase in the need for self-defense for Muslim women has not simmered the rhetoric. As a matter of fact, the American Laboratory Research recently republished the white papers originally published in 2011 and known as “Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods and Strategies.”
In the report, Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies authored a chapter entitled, “A Strategic Plan To Defeat Radical Islam.” In his report, the good doctor identifies what he calls the “Islamist Terrorist Cycle” and defines it as, “The process begins with the propagation of Salafi jihadist ideology within a community. Increasing numbers of women begin to wear the hijab, which is both a symptom of Salafi proliferation and a catalyst for Islamism.”
Ah yes, it starts with that evil headscarf. That symbol of a mythically oppressive religion that was clearly debunked by Dalia Mogahed on The Daily Show when she explained that her understanding of hijab, according to Islam, is “it basically privatizes women’s sexuality.”
So what happens when we take away women’s sexuality in a male-dominated world? We get blamed for terrorism.
That’s right — the only way to “counter terrorism,” is to change “who you are.” Isn’t that what terrorists want?
Dr. Hamid states, “Weakening the hijab phenomenon is pivotal to stopping the growth of Islamism at the ideological level.”
Has Dr. Hamid ever met a woman who is not Muslim, but wears a headscarf? Covering hair is a practice that is traditional in Christianity and Judaism to demonstrate their commitment to modesty.
Dr. Hamid refers to himself as a “former jihadist.” Why would anyone, particularly the American government, agree that banning hijab would curb terrorism? Actually, it sounds like he is inciting terrorism.
Now, if I may address Dr. Hamid directly:
Sir, preventing people from practicing their religion is against the constitution. I know they don’t treat constitutional law in medical school, but before you go writing about constitutional issues, I suggest that you reread it.
Combatting terrorism does not require the victims of terrorism to change; it requires the terrorist to change. To insinuate that women who cover their heads are a form of “passive terrorism” is like saying a rape victim wearing a skirt is asking for it.
Sir, your rhetoric fuels hatred. You have put all women wearing head coverings at risk by insinuating that they are somehow the cause of terrorism, rather than the solution. Misogyny is the only purpose I see for making the statements that you did, which ironically is one of the arguments many use to devalue Islam.