I have a story and a message for those of you whose consciences have not yet despaired of trying.
So today, on my way home from Orlando, a purely domestic flight, my family and I were detained at the airport.
Now, my father being held up at airports is not an unusual occurrence for my family (and, I’m sure, many other Muslim families), primarily because of his prolific Muslim activism over his past 32 years as an American - indeed, we’re far more surprised when it doesn’t happen. But this time, something different happened - my mother and I also ended up on the mysterious (and supposedly random) “SSSS” list.
What this meant is that the three of us (with my little brothers in tow), the only ostensibly Muslim family, were pulled aside in front of everyone by an incredibly rude TSA officer (who chose to primarily escort us by finger-wagging) and forced to stand there as another officer called the powers that be (the FBI) to determine if our evil Muslim-ness was a threat. At that point, we did not make much of a fuss, and instead made jokes about “random” searches and smuggling coconuts from the Bahamas and similar things, because sometimes laughing in the face of injustice really is the only thing you can do.
Apparently, the powers said something, because we were graciously allowed to continue to a search more prolific than that of our fellow passengers: a pat down, a thorough bag and shoe search by hand, and that hand swipe thing that checks for drugs and explosives. During the bag search, an officer made some rather shameless comments about the contents of my mother’s bag, and then asked her if she spoke English. Being the fantastic person she is, she began a vehement discussion of sorts with the officer about the clear failure of the system to secure liberty and justice and rights to all Americans and about the complete insensibility of the situation.
Although I had been restraining myself previously, deciding to not take it up with the officers who have little control over the incredibly broken system, something snapped in me and I decided to join my mother. Together, we told the officer about this infringement upon our freedoms, this constant reminder that we were guilty until proven innocent. The officer, while not exactly rude, was still standoffish. The discussion continued.
And then… another officer came. This officer decided to begin lecturing my mother and me about how loud we were being, and how he could hear us all the way from the other side of the area. He told us that we shouldn’t be talking like that (a textbook example of tone policing) and that we were disturbing other travelers. I told him that I couldn’t care less if others were being inconvenienced by my standing up against injustice, and suggested that they in fact SHOULD be inconvenienced when others are facing such an infringement - nothing ever comes from an ignorant and complacent public.
This officer, however, decided to treat me like a child, telling me that this was “inappropriate” and that I needed to “calm down.” I told him that my anger was justified, and repeatedly told him that I was an adult and that his condescension was not appreciated, but he insisted that it was respect. I told him there was a clear line between respect and condescension and that I was an adult and that he needed to stop treating me like a child, especially when it came to an issue as fundamental as this.
In response (get this), he turned to my mother and began to tell her that I was causing a scene and it was unnecessary. I told him to stop talking to my mother about me like I was a child, and that my concerns were legitimate, and that I would not take this 80000th injustice with a smile and a nod.
At that point, my father came back from his patdown, and this officer turns to my dad and begins lecturing HIM about me. I approached the conversation, and the officer told me it didn’t concern me, but I told him hell yes it did if he was talking about me and if he had my passport in his hand. He decided to ignore me and I sort of stormed sort of stepped aside to get my shoes and bag and try to cool down, because I was 10000% done with this guy.
Another officer then came over and began talking to my mother about how she completely understood and there was little she could do and gave her a number and email to contact. She was the only officer who treated us with respect and like human beings - clearly the exception, not the rule.
After that, we left to get onto our plane, and now I’m sitting in the gate and writing this. But I am left with several conclusions and questions.
It is impossible to be an active Muslim American and not be controversial. That’s why my dad is on the list.
But if that’s why my dad is, then why my mother, who is a law-abiding American citizen who teaches at a community college and hasn’t been involved in heavy activism or other activities of the sort?
And why me, a 17-year-old American-born-and-raised teenager whose favorite pastimes include reading, blogging, and marathoning TV shows?
If we’re going to accept the premise that my dad is on the list reasonably (and we shouldn’t), then are my mother and I on it by association? Is this collective punishment, something illegal under international (and by extension) US law?
And if we aren’t going to accept that premise, then are we just going to accept that Muslim Americans should be put on lists by virtue of their religious beliefs? Are we going to accept that the US engages (and it does) in profiling in its law enforcement and homeland security, and that this is a part of life we are willing to stomach?
And if this only happens on a domestic flight, please consider what happens on international ones. (Answer: Hours of search and questioning - even on the port back from the Bahamas.)
(And, perhaps tangentially, if DHS is this horrible to citizens domestically, consider what happens to those who are undocumented being held in detention centers miles from home?)
In the aftermath of 9/11, the US government has engaged in massive programs that criminalize and victimize Muslim Americans, from the micro(ish) level in the NYPD to the macro level in the Department of Homeland Security. And while civil rights groups have made some progress on such issues (shout out to CAIR, the ACLU, and the ADC among others), the path remains long and unpleasant. My family still goes to the airport hours early because we know what will happen. We still tell family members to pick us up hours late from international flights. We still gird ourselves for extra scrutiny from law enforcement.
We still feel like second-class citizens in the only home we have.
We still feel like we are seen through lenses of guilty-guilty-guilty, when the Constitution guarantees us innocent-innocent-innocent.
We are sick and tired and disappointed.
There’s something deeply wrong here, America. And we are so, so tired of being the only ones who see it.
Open your eyes.
Several days ago, Rihanna visited the city of Abu Dhabi, the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates, and decided to have a photo shoot in front of a mosque. After the incident, the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center issued a statement saying that although the sacred area welcomes visitors of all faiths and backgrounds, the photos that Rihanna were posing for were “inappropriate, violated the ‘sanctity’ of the mosque and disrespected the religious nature of the location,” according to Gulf News.
Although Rihanna did abide by Abu Dhabi’s social norms and covered her body and hair as many Middle Eastern women do, she was not only standing in areas of the mosque that were off-limits to guests, but she was posing pretty seductively. Wearing bright red lipsticks and nail polish, Rihanna managed to sneak in some of her vivacious self during her photo shoot.
Rihanna proceeded to post these photos to her Instagram, where her caption for one of her photos was, “B*tch stole my look,” referring to a group of Muslim women standing near her that were wearing head scarves and full body garments. She also posted a picture of her basking in the sun with the hashtag, “#NoTanLines”.
Seriously WHAT ARE YOU DOING
This Week In Fuckery:
Welcome to another installment of This Week In Fuckery! Today we will be recapping the week of October 5th through the 11th. If you missed any of the previous installments, you can go here to check those out. Trigger warnings for rape, rape culture, racism, transphobia, Islamophobia, and hate crimes in the links. Let’s get this depressing show on the road.
- Arkansas state Rep. Jon Hubbard (R) wrote in his book, “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” for black people.
- Another Arkansas state Rep., Loy Mauch (R), wrote in a letter to the Democrat-Gazette “If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?”
- Tamon Robinson’s Mother, Laverne Dobbinson, Owes NYPD $710 For Damages To Police Car That Killed Son
- According to the Connecticut Supreme Court, women are constantly in a state of consent unless they explicitly state otherwise.
- Billionaire CEO David Siegel threatened to fire his employees if President Barack Obama wins another term. (Am I the only one who is pretty sure this is illegal?)
- This week, the Supreme Court is to hear the case of Abigail Fisher, who said she was rejected by a university because she is white, drawing new attention to affirmative action’s constitutionality. Both the New York Times article and the transcript of the first day’s arguments are facepalm worthy.
- Disney sued for discrimination by former employee over Muslim hijab
- Rep. Roger Rivard (R) said that his father told him when he was young that “some girls rape easy.”
- A plethora of people have been tweeting “it’s called the White House for a reason.” The reason they come up with is racist as hell. (It’s funny how fast we forget that slaves built the White House and U.S. Capitol.)
- A “pro-life” congressman and doctor, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tennessee), pressured his mistress into having an abortion.
- A transgender woman died after being dragged by a car in São Paulo Brazil.
- The person who murdered Kyra Kruz Cordova, a transgender woman of color, is still at large. If you have any information about the murder or would like to donate to her memorial fund, please click the link.
- Another transgender woman in Philadelphia was shot in her home. She is currently in critical condition in Hahnemann University Hospital. Her mother was also shot but she was killed.
WOW WHAT THE FUCK
what the shit.
If ever in Wyoming, I know what ice cream not to get.
“The public discourse among non-Muslims regarding the Muslim community tends to be shaped by stereotypes, possibly most powerfully when the conversation turns to Muslim women — they are hounded, we tend to think, and quite possibly cowering. The very real problems with which Muslim women grapple appear rooted in the nature of the religion, and, we assume, are thus powerfully immune to real change.
By way of counterargument, Paradise Beneath Her Feet presents an engrossing, seemingly counter-intuitive take on the question of women’s advancement in the Muslim world, showing that Islamic feminists are successfully arguing – from within the texts and traditions of their faith – that gross gender inequality flies in the face not just of the spirit of Islam, but also its laws,”
she said, quoting an article on Feministe. “So take note. If I want to choose to wear the hijab- respect my choice.”
Yeah, a lot of the time “Western” (in quotes because the bias also applies against Muslim Americans who are not, by definition, Eastern) feminists pretty much need to shut up and back off.
This is Rachid Nekkaz, the French businessman who announced he will pay all fines for women who are charged with wearing the niqab — not just in France but “in whatever country in the world that bans women from doing so”.
The niqab is a filmy cloth attached to the headscarf that covers all but the eyes. Any woman found to be wearing the niqab in France in public can be fined upto €150 ($200) and ordered to attend ‘re-education classes’. Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland all have — or are planning — similar legislation.
I’m in favour of a law to convict a husband who forces a women to wear the niqab and who forces her to stay at home. But I’m also for a law that lets these women move freely in the streets, because freedom of movement, just like any freedom, is the most fundamental thing in a democracy.
He is pictured above with Kenza Drider, the longshot “freedom candidate” for French presidency, after accompanying her to a police tribunal in Paris where she appeared for violating France’s niqab ban. Drider told The Associated Press in an interview:
When a woman wants to maintain her freedom, she must be bold. I have the ambition today to serve all women who are the object of stigmatization or social, economic or political discrimination. It is important that we show that we are here, we are French citizens and that we, as well, can bring solutions to French citizens.
Nekkaz put up a €2m ($2.5m) property to fund his campaign.
Photo credit: Getty
Ball so hard motherfuckers wanna fine me
Both of these GQMFs are awesome.
When I was six-years-old, I used to play ‘tag’ in the playground and pretend I was flying on the swings. These girls don’t get to play on the swings, in fact, they don’t get to play at all. What they do is get married to 60-year-old men. Soon they won’t be playing mommy… They’ll be mommies.
^ This photo is bullshit!
As is the custom in Gaza, children who attend the celebration dress in white and black to match the bride and groom outfits. This is a custom one finds throughout the world, not only in the many Asian cultures, but even in the United States. Ring bearers and flower girls are a common fixture at Christian weddings.
This is just anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic. Try and do a little background research. Also, it’s not hard to tell this photo is not about Saudi Arabia (the article is), and instead is located in Palestine.
FURTHERMORE this article is also pretty sketchy because it paints a picture of one VERY SMALL TRIBAL TOWN. Google the town, and you’ll only get results for this article, proving how small it is. Saudi Arabia has a long way to go but let’s have a little objectivity in this article okay?
All one has to do is google “Palestine child bride photo” and you can figure out this is false.
Reblogging that commentary.
Wow, what bullshit! Yeah, that’s incredibly racist and unresearched. And like the commenter notes, child dresses are made to echo Christian/American wedding dresses in this country all the time; in fact when I was planning my wedding I noticed that many flower girl dresses are EXACT DUPLICATES of bridal patterns, this happens here as well, it’s just a trend. No one is marrying off children in this photo.
That is not to say that child marriage does not exist or does not have the potential to be harmful, but that before you go around spreading Islamophobic stereotypes all over Tumblr and in newspapers, check your sources. This photo isn’t even from the same country you’re speaking about, for crying out loud.
TLC has a new reality show running called All-American Muslim, following the lives of several Muslim households in Dearborn, Michigan. The critical response has mostly pointed out how bland and ordinary it is; gosh, Muslim families really are just like everyone else! In an era where reality shows are mostly about flashy displays of wealth and power, following average, ordinary families is kind of groundbreaking:
In fact, most of the show’s stars seem to have been cast for their exemplary civic and cultural pride. In their bios on TLC’s Web site, the characters’ families are called “prominent” in Dearborn, or “pillars” — old-fashioned words that seek to describe what’s at stake here. In the Jaafar family, husband and father Mike is a deputy sheriff; wife and mother Angela is a consultant; they juggle a busy life raising four young kids. Within five minutes of meeting them, you want to be them. (source)
TLC assumes that many viewers are probably ignorant about Islam and the lives of Muslim families, in a country where Islam has been cast as a demon and Muslims are figures of terror. As such, the show heavily stresses the prosaic and ordinary lives of the families involved. Few positive depictions of Muslims can be found in pop culture, let alone reality television, and so this one sticks out.
Apparently, it stuck out too much, because the Florida Family Association issued a demand for advertisers to pull their support from the show, arguing that:
All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law…The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.
Again, another article that you should read all of. What. The. Hell. The sad part is that advertisers are actually complying with this bullshit.
Possible trigger warning for (non-violent but still pervasive) Islamophobia?
This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: A Muslim woman has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Southwest Airlines for allegedly removing her from a San Jose-bound flight after she told a Verizon representative on the phone “I’ve got to go.”
Huh? Read on:
Irum Abbassi, who was “readily identifiable as Muslim by what she wore,” wrote in her complaint that a flight attendant thought she heard her say “it’s a go,” and called security to escort Abbassi off the plane.
Once deplaned, a TSA agent quickly determined that Abbassi did not pose a risk and allowed her to re-board. Except that she couldn’t: The captain reportedly barred her re-entry, claiming crew members were “uncomfortable” with her presence.
Abbassi is suing for punitive damages.
Seriously, Southwest, get your shit together, you can’t just kick people off every week for making various people uncomfortable.
I feel that I now know what Jewish women went through before the Nazi roundups in France. When they went out in the street they were identified, singled out, they were vilified. Now that’s happening to us.
Kenza Drider, a 32-year-old mother of three, was famously bold enough to appear on French television to oppose the law before it came into force. She refuses to take off her niqab – “My husband doesn’t dictate what I do, much less the government” – but she says she now lives in fear of attack. “I still go out in my car, on foot, to the shops, to collect my kids. I’m insulted about three to four times a day,” she says. Most say, “Go home”; some say, “We’ll kill you.” One said: “We’ll do to you what we did to the Jews.” In the worst attack, before the law came in, a man tried to run her down in his car.
Since France introduced its burqa ban in April there have been violent attacks on women wearing the niqab and, this week, the first fines could be handed down. But a legal challenge to this hard line may yet expose the French state as a laughing stock.(source)