For those who do not know, Prime Minister David Cameron in the UK recently patronized Muslim women by suggesting that we are “submissive.” My message to you, Prime Minister Cameron, is that Muslim women are anything but submissive. Feeding into this rhetoric is only further perpetuating a negative image associated with Islam and Muslim women.
Instead, you should be standing in solidarity with women struggling for their humanity and liberation around the world. Or, you should spread the message that the peace and prosperity of the world is predicated on the empowerment of all citizens—men and women.
Yes, there are parts of the world in which almost every aspect of a woman’s freedom is curtailed from birth, where they are too often treated as commodities to generate values. But instead of criticizing Muslim women, you should be focusing your efforts to empower the women in your country and around the world.
It is a sobering fact that the considerable and hard won gains of the women’s movement in the 60’s and 70’s are today enjoyed by only a minority of women. Most women still suffer from discrimination and violence. I believe you, along with other leaders of the world, should focus your efforts in developing a movement that joins forces to support women in areas of the world where they struggle for liberation.
In this struggle, I believe that we, as a society need to invest in our girls and teach them to think less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings. We need to create a world in which our girls can dream of becoming doctors and judges and not child brides.
My hijab is a symbol of my solidarity against the oppression of woman. When I choose to cover this way, it is because I am fighting against a systemic oppression of women in which their bodies are being sexualized and objectified. My hijab is liberating and empowering. It allows me to be the traits described on the paper in the picture, to break barriers, and not be #TraditionallySubmissive.”