How White Feminism Aided The Christchurch Terror Attack 0 228

And yes it was an act of terrorism

I would first like to extend my condolences to the families whose were affected by this horrendous act of terrorism. It was not just or fair and it certainly was not unprecedented. For those in the Muslim community, we found this event to be horrific; however, we were not surprised. This type of abhorrence is something that has been ingrained within the daily lives of Muslims, and not to mention those who are profiled as being Muslim such as Sikhs, South Asians, and Middle Easterners. We feel this not only from blatantly Islamophobic musings by conservative White men and women, but also platitudes with distasteful undertones towards Muslims- particularly Muslim women- by White Feminists.

One of the most appalling parts of this whole circumstance is the outrage White Feminists have had regarding the whole ordeal. One of the first instances of this hypocrisy was when an NYU student, Leen Dweik, confronted Chelsea Clinton for previously being Islamophobic towards U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, yet being hypocritical when at the vigil. Dweik received severe backlash from Conservatives and Liberals alike, saying that she was harassing Chelsea Clinton. When I was watching the video, it was obvious that this student was grief stricken, not only because the victims were attacked in a Mosque, but also, because of the motive behind this terror attack. In no way, was the student harassing or yelling at Chelsea Clinton; she was speaking the truth. Chelsea Clinton, along with other white feminists disseminate rhetoric about Muslim Women that is Islamophobic and Misogynistic in nature.  Leen Dweik and her classmates said that Chelsea Clinton had


“ used her platform to fan [the] flames [of Islamophobia and they] believe that Ilhan Omar did nothing wrong except challenge the status quo, but the way many people chose to criticize Omar made her vulnerable to anti-Muslim hatred and death threats.” Furthermore, they found that Clinton had falsely charged Omar, the “only Black, Muslim, Somali, and refugee member of Congress.” And that Clinton’s usage of  “ ‘as an American’ [in her tweet against Omar] Clinton propagates an ‘anti-immigrant trope.’ [They further that] when speaking of someone who is a refugee, it’s a dog whistle, it’s signaling this is a patriotic issue and that nationalism excludes people like Ilhan Omar.”

What was even more shocking was the amount of support Chelsea Clinton was getting, especially from white nationalists and conservatives. It was clear the Clinton had used the vigil as a PR move, to gain support from the Muslim community after being Xenophobic and Islamophobic to Ilhan Omar. She also was getting support from white feminists such as Kathy Griffin. As Leen Dweik, a Palestinian-Muslim Woman, started receiving hate mail regarding her views, Kathy Griffin quote tweeted Dweik’s statement and called her a “f***ing p****.”

This statement was problematic for two main reasons. One of which is the internalized misogyny in her statement. Using a word associated with female genitalia to denigrate another person is misogynistic. Period. The second reason is due to the action of the statement, which was attacking a nineteen year old Muslim female for grieving the way she was. Invalidating how a Muslim woman chooses to grieve and peacefully expressing her opinions, albeit different from Griffin’s, is indicative of how white women seek to invalidate Women of Color.

I would like to point out; however, that there have been white feminists who have taken the side of Muslim Women and shown their support through wearing the Hijab. This was done by women across many professions including New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, news anchors, and doctors. This is the way to show support and uplift the Muslim community and especially Muslim women. I applaud these women for standing in solidarity with Muslim Woman and respecting their decisions. I understand how difficult it may be to support Muslim Women especially due to all the backlash they face. This can also be seen by Katie Hopkins and her views of “feminism” which condemns women from wearing the Hijab, even if it is to support Muslim Women. She spoke out in a video condemning the Non-Muslim Women who showed solidarity by wearing the headscarf. Again, not only is this Islamophobic, but also, it is misogynistic. After all, who are you to tell how a woman should be dressing. It works in both ways: with covering up and dressing down. Modesty and the empowerment women get from it is subjective; some women find it empowering to show more skin, while others find it empowering to cover up. Either way, deciding what a woman should wear is misogynistic, regardless of which society or culture you are from. Furthermore, narrow-minded rhetoric put out by white “feminists” like Kathy Griffin, Katie Hopkins, and Chelsea Clinton really is Islamophobic and misogynistic and help fuel terror attacks like the one in Christ Church. One can see that this rhetoric transcends n political party, but is indicative of the biases that many (white) people have.

For the Muslim youth, our first run-ins with these underhanded remarks started in our primary schools. It was rhetoric that painted the Muslim religion to be backwards and oppressive towards women.. This misogyny does not root from religion, but culture. Furthermore, since when did it become that white women were the spokespeople for all the women. The Women of Color, LGBT Women, the Muslim Women, the Trans-Women? The truth of the matter is, that most Muslim Women decide to be modest, not because they are oppressed but because they gain strength from it. Just how other White women gain strength from the Free the Nipple Campaign, Muslim women gain theirs from their sense of identity and modesty. Do not try to take away their choice to cover- because THAT is misogynistic. I would like to point out that for most women the hijab is a symbol of strength. To not be judged based off of their appearance, but their intellect. Instead of trying to invalidate Muslim Women’s actions, white “feminists” should be supporting Muslim Women in their plight to equality. One can see the inherent differences in the actions of Jacinda Ardern and Kathy Griffin. As women we need to recognize the privilege that we each have and utilize that to make space for those who do not have a voice.

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Yusra Siddique is a 2nd year Political Science major with an emphasis in International Affairs at University of California-Riverside. She is passionate about Higher Education and Title iX policies and has advocated on the local, state and federal level. She has also had the opportunity to be a contributor to CNN. Yusra also enjoys traveling and going to museums! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email her at ysidd004@ucr.edu. IG: @yusrasiddique Twitter: @yusrasiddique98

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