Dear Bella Hadid,
Asalaam walaikum dear sister. I am writing to you today because you mentioned that you’re “proud to be a Muslim” and you opened up about it in the summer issue of Porter magazine.
You mentioned in Porter that your dad was a refugee when he first came to America. When Trump signed on the Muslim Ban, you and your sister, Gigi, were not silent. You told Elle magazine back in January, “I come from a really diverse background […] I’ve had incredible experiences all over the world… and I’ve learned that we’re all just people, and we all deserve respect and kindness. We shouldn’t treat people as if they don’t deserve kindness just because of their ethnicities. It’s just not right. And that message – to be compassionate whenever possible – that’s so important to me.”
Those words are so important and more people need to hear those words and embrace those thoughts. We can’t change our skin color. And quite frankly, we don’t want to change what makes us unique. No matter who we are, we are entitled to respect, kindness and ultimately justice. Not only did you speak those words representing Muslims, but you spoke using your platform that reached millions.
You also mentioned in Porter that your dad was “always religious and he prayed with us,” and that’s when you followed with, “I am proud to be a Muslim.” As a Muslim, it’s nice to see that you embrace your faith and that we’re both sisters in Islam. No matter how different we are, you and I might have a lot more in common than I initially thought.
To those who say you’re not a real Muslim because you are a model or whatever, they don’t understand that there is no such thing as “the perfect Muslim.” Even I get judged by my own community because I might wear the hijab with pants.
No matter what, there will always be criticism. What they don’t seem to understand is that when one chooses to follow Islam, it’s not to impress others, it’s to get closer to Allah (SWT.) At the end of the day, He’s the one who judges. You declaring that you’re proud to be Muslim proves that Islam is not a monolith, and one can’t judge a book by its cover.
Having said that, and if you are reading this, Bella, allow me to say that you are welcome as a part of our sisterhood. Pull up a chair and and we’ll pass you the mic to speak up more against xenophobia and Islamophobia. There’s always room at the table.
Ahlam and the #MuslimGirlArmy