Despite making great strides in destroying cultural stereotypes, the Muslim community continually faces discrimination and inequality. It’s a common stereotype that women are often oppressed by men, and this is even more so in the Muslim community. Islamophobia is also skewing our views and strengthening cultural stereotypes.
17-year-old Lamyaa from Pennsylvania was tired of listening to the threats and discrimination in regards to her faith. After identifying herself as a Muslim woman and criticizing President Trump’s views on Islam, people online began to threaten her. They told her that if she stopped wearing a hijab, her father would beat her.
Lamyaa believes the aggression towards her was primarily because she was Muslim rather than for her political beliefs. In an interview with Buzzfeed, she said that she is used to this whiplash-style response from non-Muslim Americans. However, she still felt a need to take a stand. In an act of faith, Lamyaa sent her dad a text telling him that she was thinking about removing her hijab. Instead of a scathing and oppressive reply, her dad sent her a response that made all of us breathe a sigh of relief.
Her father said:
“Sweetheart that’s not my decision to make. That’s no man’s decision to make. If it’s what you feel like you want to do, go ahead. I’ll support you no matter what.”
Lamyaa later tweeted her conversation with her father in the hopes of spreading the word that not all Muslim women are oppressed by men. Regardless of faith, Lamyaa wanted people to dispel the common misconception that all Muslim women that wear a hijab are forced to do so. Since sharing the texts, the tweet has garnered over 140,000 retweets and been favorited over 320,000 times.
Most of the responses on her Twitter page are positive and offer her support, but others have raised concerns. Even if Lamyaa’s household has its liberties, others are not so lucky.
“A lot of people mistook this tweet as me saying no women are forced to wear the hijab,” she wrote. “I just wanted to say that that was not the point of the tweet. The tweet was something that happened and I think the way people perceive it is up to them.”
Although she admits that a lot of women are still being forced to wear the hijab, that isn’t what she wanted to focus on with her tweet. She still wears her hijab, but it’s her choosing and not that of society.