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Arab American Women Have Strong Words for Donald Trump

posted on: Aug 3, 2016

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Cartoon by Arab America Contributing Artist Katie Miranda

BY: Clara Ana Ruplinger/Contributing Writer

Dear Donald Trump,

Do you even know what you’re talking about anymore? Muslim women have been speaking up and speaking out for years; you just don’t want to hear it.

Your implication the other day that Mrs. Khan wasn’t allowed to speak at the DNC on account of her religion or culture is not only offensive, it is downright false. And Mr. Trump, you have no room to speak on the subject. Talking about women in the media, you once said: “It doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass”.

That is what suppression of the female voice sounds like.

Muslim women from around the country combated your claim with the trending hashtag #CanYouHearUsNow in order to highlight the power and voices of Muslim women around America.

Here are some of the outspoken Arab American women who added their voices to the movement and advocated for Muslim and Arab Americans everyday in their careers and lives. They prove that not only can Muslim women speak up, but that when they do, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Dalia Mogahed is an Arab American scholar of Egyptian origin. She has been the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The author of several prominent publications including a co-author of Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, based on six years and 50,000 interviews with Muslims in more than 35 countries. She has given Ted talks, lectures at prestigious universities, featured in documentaries as an expert commentator, and advised many high profile leaders about Muslim issues. Her voice has been at the forefront of battling stereotypes surrounding Muslims for years.

Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old Palestinian American flight attendant is famous for her protest at the Trump rally a few months ago, where she wore a turquoise t-shirt that read “salam, I come in peace” and a gold star that read “Muslim”. Her gold star was reminiscent of when Hitler’s regime had German Jews wear the Jewish star to identify themselves.

Despite being silent and peaceful, security escorted her out of the rally. In the crowd, she faced multiple slurs. People don’t know that she has been outspoken about Muslim issues for much longer than this single incident. Here is an interview with her done in 2009 explaining why she choose to wear hijab while being a flight attendant, which is seen as a contentious choice in a post 9/11 era. When this powerful and outspoken Arab woman went to your rally, it was you, not her husband, that didn’t let her speak, Mr. Trump.

Mona Haydar is a self-described “poet, activist, practitioner of Permaculture, meditator, composting devotee, mountain girl, solar power lover and a tireless God-enthusiast.” This smiling woman has spoken up multiple times on behalf of American Muslims in the wake of terror and fear. She combats hatred and fear with love and communication. Her most famous stint was when she opened a ‘Talk to a Muslim” that offered free coffee, donuts, and conversation with a Muslim.

Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, is currently working as an Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NCAAC). She has been called a “Champion of Change” by the Obama administration and has received many other honors for her work. She was a national surrogate for Bernie Sanders at the DNC and has been at the forefront of civil liberties battles for Arabs and Muslims for many years now. One of the most prominent issues she has battled is the unwarranted surveillance of mosques by the New York Police Department, a futile policy that Trump endorsed. Have you heard any of her speeches talking about these issues, Mr. Trump?

Rowaida Abdelaziz is a freelance journalist based in New York City, is not just allowed to talk; she’s paid to talk. This Egyptian American woman is a graduate of Rutgers University with a double major in Journalism and Middle Eastern Studies. She has worked with the Committee to Protect Journalists, Al Jazeera Arabic and Elan Magazine. Still need proof of her voice, Mr. Trump? Read some of her great articles here.

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is the founder and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.net. She has penned 68 Articles for this prominent website whose tag line is “Muslim Girls Talk Back”, which you have probably never heard of, Mr. Trump. MuslimGirl is aimed at eliminating stereotypes surrounding Islam, and most prominently, Muslim women. It’s an entire website dedicated to giving Muslim women a platform to speak on, and has hundreds of articles written by Muslim girls from all walks of life.

Dalia Fahmy is an assistant professor of political science at LIU Brooklyn. She has a B.A. from New York University in politics and Middle Eastern studies, with a minor in peace and global policy studies. She later received two masters and a Ph.D. in political Science. She is an expert in Middle East politics, U.S. foreign policy, political Islam, and democratization – topics you don’t seem to be very familiar with, Mr. Trump. Dr. Fahmy tweeted this sassy remark after you accused Muslim women of having suppressed voices.

These are only a tiny fraction of the extremely powerful, beautiful and inspiring Arab and Muslim American women who have made their voices known. They are mothers, daughters, sisters, activists, scholars, professionals, journalists, and leaders. In a nation where their very identity stands on trial, they face the onslaught with poise, grace, and strength.

These women ask #CanYouHearUsNow Mr. Trump?