This week has been chaotic, as one of our favorite speakers, Nouman Ali Khan, has been outed allegedly as a man who has contradicted much of what he stood for. However, the comments made on Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t make it seem so, as they follow textbook examples of victim-blaming.
I would like to add a trigger warning before you continue to read, as these statements may be harmful in that regard. Many have focused on the validity of the evidence against NAK, but few have chosen to discuss the main issue: gender exploitation against Muslim women.
Regardless of the NAK scandal individually, why can’t the community move forward in discussing what’s important: that those in power should be held accountable, and we must start providing essential support to victims of different forms of sexual exploitation, harassment, abuse and violence?
Here are some examples of how the community’s reactions have added to the pain and suffering of victims:
These comments reflect why our community has to do better. We claim that the stereotypes of Muslim women are untrue, yet we cultivate environments where we have made it accessible for abuse to occur, whether it is sexual in nature or not.
Meanwhile, we have the audacity to blame movements (such as feminism) for all the problems where victims are women. Let’s get this straight: When you make statements about all the good someone has done for his community despite his downfalls, when you suggest it is impossible that someone could do wrong because of the image that person has painted of himself, you are deflecting. The service someone has contributed to their community is not an indicator of their innocence, nor a reason to withhold support for the victims.
Let us do better as a community and begin by addressing the problem where it originated: in men and the kind of thinking that mobilizes society to enable them.