Muslim women: usually always spoken for without being included in the discussion. How many news segments have we seen about whether or not the hijab is appropriate, without the consultation of a single actual hijabi? How many panels on women’s health have we seen in countries around the world (yes, even western nations) without the input of a single Muslim woman? Too many. The calculated and intentional exclusion of Muslim women voices from such important conversations directly works to perpetuate the age-old caricature of Muslim women as “oppressed” and without autonomy or agency.
Rather, we should be working to elevate Muslim women’s voices; let us talk for ourselves, so we can shut down misconceptions like Yasmin Abdel-Magied in this viral video:
Enter Muslimgirl.com’s initiative #MuslimWomensDay. It’s more than just a hashtag — it’s a clear statement for mainstream media, and people around the world, to take a second (or a day) to notice the valuable work of Muslim women globally.
We are here. We have been, and will continue be, taking up space, challenging mainstream Orientalist misconceptions, celebrating our work and worth, and continuing to fight systems of global patriarchy.
We’re also great at Twitter.
Here are 10 of our favorite must-read tweets from #MuslimWomensDay:
— J-70 (@datzlmj) March 27, 2017
— Iman Abdulmajid (@The_Real_IMAN) March 27, 2017
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) March 27, 2017
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) March 27, 2017
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 27, 2017
Happy #MuslimWomensDay to our friend, Zari!
Continue to dream big, Zari! pic.twitter.com/RNWmzJblx6
— Sesame Workshop (@SesameWorkshop) March 27, 2017
— NYLON (@NylonMag) March 27, 2017
— TED Talks (@TEDTalks) March 27, 2017
— Equality for HER (@EqualityforHER) March 26, 2017
— Sarah Kay (@kaysarahsera) March 27, 2017
Remember that the mission of #MuslimWomensDay extends beyond cute retweets and gif-sets. The true inclusion of Muslim women’s voices means allowing Muslim women access to policy-making positions, allowing them safe spaces in organizing spaces, and even beyond that, to stopping the “War on Islam” and “War on Terror” that impacts Muslim women–here and abroad–more than anything else. Only when we stop unnecessary wars and destruction on entire demographics overseas, can we truly instate #MuslimWomensDay and the global inclusion of Muslim women. Until then, celebrate with caution, celebrate with hope, and celebrate with determination.