The rhetoric that Islam oppresses women is one often expressed by those in the media. This idea that we’re somehow silenced is almost humorous, since upon entering our communities one would easily learn this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The main issue with this is that it’s a rhetoric that has wormed its way into the presidential election — which seems to have now become a horror show, complete with an orange clown who seems intent on attacking a religion he knows nothing about.
Donald Trump this weekend managed to make yet another ignorant statement. When speaking on Khizr Khan who made a passionate speech at the DNC regarding his son who was killed in Iraq in 2004, Trump decided to make assumptions about his wife, Ghazala Khan, who stood behind her husband.
Now, while the average human being may have seen this as a woman standing behind her husband as he speaks about the loss of their dear child — we must remember Donald Trump is not the average. He is below the standard. He made the remark, “Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”
The internet decided to take Trump on and indeed tell him that we do have voices, voices that show Muslim women’s significant contributions to society.
The hashtag #CanYouHearUsNow is the internet’s response to the ignorance displayed in the assumption that we somehow have people in our lives telling us that our voices do not matter.
The hashtag displays women who are scholars, speakers, business women, mothers, students and much more — proving that we do have a voice. In fact, we have many voices. Maybe the issue isn’t us — it’s the fact that you, Mr. Trump, don’t put an ear out to hear us when we speak.
Ghazala Khan herself shut down the idea that she was not allowed to speak, explaining that she was too emotional to do so as the subject matter is not an easy one for her.
This response is also crucial when discussing Muslim voices, as the choice to sometimes not speak and instead allow your silence to do so for you is also a choice we are given. Muslim women do not exist for your comfort.
When we are silent, it’s because we choose to be — and when we are roaring lionesses, that is also because we choose to be.
For Trump to make such an assumption should tell you all you need to know about the man running for President. He speaks without knowledge, as ignorant people do, but it’s important to note that it’s not our duty to prove that we have voices.
We don’t exist to be his teachers; rather, it’s his duty to learn before making generalizations.
#CanYouHearUsNow is an excellent and dignified response to a foolish and undignified statement made by a man who is in the running to be the President of the free world. We mustn’t forget that Trump is only a success due to his support — in many ways, our fears of him should be directed to those in our everyday lives more so than the man himself.
Those who are our teachers, friends, peers etc., might go to polls and vote for a man who wants us to leave due to a misplaced fear — this is for them. The hashtag is also for those people, who are giving into a campaign backed by hate, who should click on the hashtag and learn more about the positive change Muslim women have brought and continue to bring on a daily basis.
The hashtag is also crucial, which is somewhat sad, as it seems we have to prove something that should be a fact. This being that we have a voice. That we speak up and out just like anybody else. The hashtag is also for Ghazala Khan, in solidarity with her; to let her know that we understand her pain and we won’t stand by and allow her to become part of a story depicting Islam in a negative way.
We’re here, present and speaking up against your ignorance and hatred. Can you hear us now?
Written by Iqra Mehdi