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I’m a Muslim Woman & I’m Not “With Her”

I’m a Muslim Woman & I’m Not “With Her”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions/beliefs of Muslim Girl. However, Muslim Girl encourages all its readers to exercise your civic duty and vote.

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My grandfather always said the lesser of two evils is still evil. He was right.

It’s something I want Muslim Americans – all Americans, really – to think about.

This is my third presidential election. It’s undoubtedly the worst train wreck of an election I’ve seen; it’s worse than a ratchet reality TV show. I’m literally waiting for Ashton Kutcher to make an appearance and be like, “America, you’ve been punk’d!”

I live in Florida, which is a swing state. My vote is critical.

The thought of a Trump presidency terrifies me. Long story short: I’m Muslim, and I wear the hijab.

I’m also a newlywed – shoutout to my friends who thought I’d be a cat lady! — and my husband is Moroccan.

Morocco, a predominantly Muslim country, was actually the first country to recognize the United States as a sovereign nation after the U.S. gained its independence. But if you’re a Muslim from Morocco, you may have a hard time immigrating to the United States…you know, because “war on terrorism.”

More like the war on families, that disproportionately affects already marginalized populations, like Muslims and Latinos.

More like the war on families, that disproportionately affects already marginalized populations, like Muslims and Latinos.

The immigration process for a spouse, according to sources online, takes about nine months to one year, which means the likelihood of my husband’s paperwork being completed before the new President takes office is highly unlikely. If elected, President Trump (*cringe*) wants a ban on Muslim immigration, because terrorism.

We’re two people in love who just want to be together, and have a future and a family, just like anyone else…except we happen to be Muslim. My husband is not a terrorist or threat to national security, and neither am I.

But to both major party candidates, my value and contribution to society as an American Muslim lie only in my intrinsic ability to police the mosques and be a watchdog for terrorism.

Statistically and realistically speaking, you’re more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. You’re more likely to be a victim of gun violence – perpetrated by a White male – than you are to be a victim of a terrorist attack.  (And yes, I loathe the fact that in this article, I’m using the term “terrorism” in the way the mainstream media, statistics, and our presidential candidates do — to mean crimes committed by Muslims — versus the inclusion of mass violence perpetrated by other groups/identities.  The term “terrorism” should not be exclusively applied to crimes or acts of violence committed by assumed or alleged Muslims — hello, media bias! — it is only being used in this context for a consistent frame of reference.)

Toddlers and White males aren’t being subjected to collective punishment. Muslims, however, are.

Yet in June, in the wake of the Orlando shootings, I sat in Washington D.C. at the filibuster on gun control, and listened to the senators argue about gun control because Islamic terrorism. No one seemed to address the pink elephant in the room.  Like Jay Z said, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”

Toddlers and White males aren’t being subjected to collective punishment. Muslims, however, are.

The Muslim community must collectively apologize after every attack, and disavow every tragedy, or else there’s the mistaken notion of implied consent.

If we’re silent, it doesn’t mean we’re “radical” Islamists or extremists. Islam doesn’t condone terrorism; the term “radical” Islam itself is an oxymoron, as Islam is a religion of moderation that actually forbids extremism.

It’s just that sometimes, we’re tired and exhausted by it all, just like you.  (And yes, I’m tired of having to prove my humanity — “Hey, look at me!  I’m just like you!”)  We’re tired of defending ourselves and being blamed for something we didn’t do. We’re quiet because there’s nothing else we can say that we haven’t already said multiple times before, and when we do speak up, it seems to fall upon deaf ears.  Moreover, why do we have to apologize for something that we didn’t do?  

Muslims aren’t a monolith; we aren’t a homogenous group.

Are all White people apologizing for slavery or Ted Bundy? Are all Black people apologizing for Don Lemon?

To both major party candidates, my value and contribution to society as an American Muslim lies only in my intrinsic ability to police the mosques, and be a watchdog for terrorism.

After all, it’s utterly exhausting to go out in public and know that, like it or not, you’re now being tokenized as the spokesperson for 1.8 billion people, because you’re visibly and identifiably Muslim. Any time you forget your manners, as all humans are guilty of on occasion — not smiling back, getting impatient with a slow cashier, accidentally cutting someone off in traffic — all Muslims can and will be blamed for it. You don’t get to have a bad day like everyone else, because you’re the token Muslim and the spokesperson for Islam in America; there’s a pressure to always be “on.”

I blame the current election and its propaganda for feeding this growing anti-Muslim sentiment.

The anti-Muslim rhetoric is at an all-time high — it’s actually higher than it was following 9/11 — to the point where I’m honestly surprised sometimes when strangers are nice to me at the grocery store, and aren’t eyeing me warily, the way some TSA agents and airport police officers do.

On my way home from my wedding and honeymoon in Morocco, I was “randomly” stopped three times in three different countries.

The micro-aggressions I’ve experienced manifest themselves on a daily basis, in a variety of situations, but especially in the workplace.

Before I wore the hijab, no one knew what religion I was. No one cared. No one cared where my family was from, or how I was raised. Once I started wearing the hijab, in May of 2015, people became curious about these things to the point of entitlement, and I was bombarded with personal, invasive questions.

“Did your dad make you wear that?” (Nope.)

“So, did your husband make you wear that?” (I didn’t have a husband at the time, and no, my husband is going to “make” me do anything.)

“Where are you from? No, like where are you really from? Okay, like where is your family from?” (The moon?)

“Did you grow up Muslim or did you want to be Muslim?” (As if the notion was mutually exclusive; who would choose to be Muslim? Surely anyone who chose such a thing had to have been forced!)

My “otherness” became a happening thing.

It happened when an attorney I worked with (who should know better) asked me if the Quran allows me to wear the shoes I have on. (Because they were fashionable.)

Another asked me if I was an “Islamist”…then asked me what an Islamist was. (At least she asked a Muslim though, and didn’t get her information from Fox News.)

It happens when people don’t bother to get my name right when replying to emails, even though it’s spelled out for them. (Who’s Azima?) It happens when people stumble over my name, and I feel compelled to Americanize it for them, and introduce myself as “Mia.”

It happened when a client – the spouse of an Army veteran, who wasn’t present – says “Didn’t we just go to war with you guys? What makes you think I would want you working on my case?” to me while I’m surrounded by my colleagues, including supervisors, who don’t stop the anti-Muslim bigotry, but instead apologize to the client for me being assigned to the case; apologize for my presence and my existence. No one defended my competency or my humanity; my right to exist, and be free from abuse.

It happens when they ask me “Aren’t you hot in that?” It’s Florida in the summertime; everyone is hot. I’m wearing long sleeves and a scarf on my head. Yes, I’m hot. Being Muslim – read, a desert dweller; a camel jockey, because oh, don’t forget, all Muslims are Arab and from the Middle East, which is like a giant sandbox or something — doesn’t give me a superhuman immunity to heat. What you really mean to ask is why I’m wearing this, because you think I’m oppressed, or otherwise forced into it.

But I’m not. It’s my choice.

Just like I have a choice in this upcoming election – or do I?

Because I’m not “with her,” either. A Hillary Clinton presidency scares me as well; like grandpa said, the lesser of two evils is still evil.  I’m not even entirely convinced that she’s the lesser of the two evils. Clinton’s policies have led us into illegal wars and supported illegal occupations, leaving a very real trail of destruction and devastation.

I’m not even entirely convinced that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of the two evils. Clinton’s policies have led us into illegal wars and supported illegal occupations, leaving a very real trail of destruction and devastation.

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Trump is hands down the louder and more obvious of the two evils; Trump’s loud and proud vulgarity has been effective at diverting the conversation away from Hillary and her hypocrisy.

How can you be all for women’s rights, when you’ve been bombing women and children overseas?

She’s enthusiastically championed pretty much every war we’ve been in – even when they’ve created the same terrorists we’re fighting today – and that’s a lot of war, because the United States has been at war for literally over half of my life.

This is not defensive warfare either, which is the only kind of warfare permitted in Islam.

Are we really going to sell out our brothers and sisters overseas — who will be on the receiving end of Clinton’s foreign policies — to save ourselves from Trump?  These civilians being droned and bombed overseas aren’t just numbers or “collateral damage.”  They are people.  

As a Muslim – as a human — how do you reconcile that? How do you sleep at night knowing that you voted for her to avoid Trump and his Hitler-esque policies, but likely at the expense of innocent civilians – so-called “collateral damage” — in other countries?

You don’t have to be Muslim or Palestinian to be disturbed by Hillary’s pro-Israel policies; you just have to be human to care about what’s happening in Palestine.  It has nothing to do with Muslim rights or Palestinian rights, and everything to do with human rights.

It has nothing to do with Muslim rights or Palestinian rights, and everything to do with human rights.

Clinton is also anti-BDS, when BDS is a protected Constitutional right. And please note that supporting BDS is not anti-Semitic.  There have been a lot of illegal land grabs in Palestine, per the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is our right as consumers to boycott products and companies that are profiting off of that stolen land.

Clinton’s zealous support for Zionism seemingly knows no bounds.  One of her biggest campaign donors, Haim Saban, has been quoted as saying there were “three ways to be influential in American politics,” and listed them as:  “make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”  He’s also raised millions for the Israeli Defense Forces, which abuses and incarcerates Palestinian children, while Israeli children who commit crimes are dealt with using laws that protect them from being jailed.  UN human rights bodies have even alleged the IDF has used Palestinian children as human shields, amongst other horrific practices.  As for Clinton herself, in 2006, Senator Clinton voiced her opinion in favor of depriving Palestinians the right to self-determination and self-governance, saying that it was a bad idea to allow Palestinians to have an election. “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” she said. She then took it even further, saying that the U.S. should have rigged the elections: “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.” (Listen here.)

Her on tape talking about rigging the elections in Palestine actually makes Trump’s claims about a rigged Presidential election seem plausible — and if Trump being right isn’t a scary thing, I don’t know what is.

Her behavior in that instance was incredibly shady — and unbecoming — for someone holding a public office, because a public office — should, not just in theory — require transparency. Cough, emails, cough.

Are we really going to sell out our brothers and sisters overseas — who will be on the receiving end of Clinton’s foreign policies — to save ourselves from Trump? These civilians being droned and bombed overseas aren’t just numbers or “collateral damage.” They are people.

The Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said ““None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

But Clinton and her campaign don’t seem to see the humanity of a Black or Brown body — Black and Brown folks are commodities to be exploited; casual campaign props at their disposal.  There’s no better example of this than when Erica Garner, daughter of the slain Eric Garner, clapped back on the Clinton campaign because they were going to exploit her dad’s death in an op-ed about gun violence…when in fact, her father’s murder was an act of police brutality.

The two-party system isn’t doing us any favors; it’s simply creating a false dichotomy between the lesser — or louder — of two evils. It’s almost as if they’re two sides of the same coin. There are other options. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a decision that’s conscionable to you, and remember that your voice counts.

I know that people might be mad at me for writing this, and say that my vote for Jill Stein is basically a vote for Trump, but I disagree. My vote for Jill Stein is a conscious decision — one that I can sleep with at night.

The Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said ““None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Sahih Muslim]

Ibn Abî Zayn, who was the leading jurist in Morocco of his time, stated “All the etiquettes of virtue can be derived from four hadith.”  This was one of them.

Al-Jurjânî says of this hadith that it “is one of the foundations of Islam.”

There won’t be any illegal occupation, bombing, or blowing up stuff — nope, #notinmyname. Not because of my ballot.  This is not what I want for anyone.

The Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, also urged us to take action against evil — not conform to complacency and settle for the lesser of two evils — when he said, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Sahih Muslim]

Life is far from a Disney movie — although it would be helpful to voters if all the candidates pulled a Pinocchio every time they lied; Yes boo, we see you over there with that nose that not even Dr. Miami can fix — but Jiminy Cricket ain’t never lie: “And always let your conscience be your guide…”

Read more on Election 2016: “It’s a religious duty for Muslim Americans to vote for Hillary in order to stop Trump,” says this California imam.

View Comments (3)
  • Well written my sister. While I voted for the lesser of two evils, your point is well taken. I also appreciated your sharing the experiences of when you decided to wear hijab daily as well, the fear of representing almost 2 billion people is one of the things holding me back; the other being personal safety. As a revert whose fiancé has not yet been granted his visa, I at times feel ignorant and isolated. I in truth am neither. Thank you for writing and sharing your view.

  • LMAO. How can you be in love with someone you never met? Someone picked your husband for you in a foreign country because the men in the US know what a fraud you are

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