SHAFAQNA – Donald Trump’s presidential victory has sent shockwaves through the American population.
The President-elect has a history of making disparaging comments about women and a documented disdain for Mexicans and Muslims.
Protests have erupted all over the country as people mobilise, unwilling to accept his presidency.
Immediately following the announcement that Trump won the election, American Muslim women took to Twitter to express their fear about wearing the hijab.
According to Pew research, there are approximately 3.3 million Muslims in America – one per cent of the overall population. And yet anti-Muslim hate crime in the US has risen sharply in the last year.
Twenty-three-year old Blair Imani is an American Muslim, activist and founder of Equality for HER, an organisation dedicated to uplifting women.
A Trump presidency filled her with ‘pure fear’ and she was shocked that so many Americans supported his message.
Imani decided to wear the hijab, and thus make her faith visible, in March. She has been the recipient of hate crime since. She said: “I can attest to the fact that islamophobic and xenophobic folks have used his rhetoric as a green light to be more vocal and act upon their sentiments against Muslims.”
Her experiences ranged from micro-aggressions to reports of physical assault.
When I first started wearing hijab a woman very close to me snatched it from my head in the grocery store and acted as if she was doing something righteous by denying me my religious freedoms. When I was in college and I was wearing hijab when I was going to the mosque I would get called a terrorist.
Once I nearly was run off of the road by someone yelling slurs at me.
In [Washington] DC I was at a Clinton Fundraiser when someone called me a terrorist. I ended up getting to meet Bill Clinton because of the incident but it woke me up to the fact that even liberals and progressives have these sentiments sometimes.
Imani is fearful of the backlash faced by Muslim women wearing the hijab, as their outward display of religious worship makes them easy targets of hate crime.
In light of that, she has made the decision to wear a hat, instead of a headscarf.
I’m not coercing or persuading my fellow Muslim women to decide one way or the other but for me, I’m wearing hats instead of hijab because I’m afraid of the amount of people who feel that Trump’s election is a green light to be violent both verbally and physically.
I want to say that I am speaking to my experience, my fears, and my decisions alone. It is no ones right to pass judgement on my decision. Also I want to say that I am not afraid of Donald Trump, but I am pained by the way that his rhetoric has mobilized and empowered those seeking to do harm to marginalized people.
I’ll never stop covering or being Muslim.