Global Independent Analytics

Muslim Women Say They Don’t Need Donald Trump’s Help

Trump’s sudden concern for their welfare is counterproductive at best and Islamophobic at worst, say Muslim community leaders

At Thursday night’s GOP debate, Trump doubled down on his comments earlier in the week that “Islam hates us,” attempting to link that assertion to treatment of women in some Middle Eastern countries, reports Charlotte Alter for TIME.

“There is tremendous hate. Where large portions of a group of people, Islam, large portions want to use very, very harsh means. Let me go a step further. Women are treated horribly. You know that. You do know that. Women are treated horribly, and other things are happening that are very, very bad,” stated Republican candidate.

Female Muslim leaders clearly assumed that Trump’s rhetoric demonstrates his ignorance and hypocrisy while describing Islam as an anti-women religion. However, while other admitted that misogyny is very real n some interpretations of Islam , they agreed that his statement definitely will not help Muslim women.

Alter provides a quote: “Zainab Chaudary, a media specialist with ReThink Media who focuses on security and equal rights, says Trump’s negative statements about Islam are more likely to end up create prejudice and attacks on Muslims than any positive change. “The negative stereotypes he’s perpetuating actually lead to more violence against women who are Muslim or who are perceived as Muslim,” Chaudary says.

According to Chaudary, Muslim women tend to be more publicly visible than Muslim men, especially if they wear hijab, making them especially vulnerable. “They’re most likely to be the ones experiencing Islamophobia,” she adds”

However, the negative approach to Islam as a religion also tends to hurt female members of the faith; many women wearing hijab for the first time begin worrying about their own safety because this religious outfit might attract hostility.

Other Muslim women express their surprise towards Trump’s position concsidering the fact that his own wife appears to be mistreated: “Look on the screen when he appears with his wife, has she ever held his hand? She is always standing behind him, like a servant or a maid,” said Sarwat Husain, president of the San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“He’s so indelicate in his comments, he’s definitely not the king of subtlety and nuance. But the truth is that we do have a very serious problem within our Muslim communities with interpretations of Islam that do treat women as second-class citizens,” Alter cites Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement and author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.

Nomani added that although many clerics do preach discrimination against women, Islam includes ardent believers in gender equality; the real problem is that one cannot address the injustices in Islam without being called “Islamophobic”. “People will rush to protect the ‘honor’ of Islam by whitewashing the very serious problems in these communities. “Many of us sit in the crosshairs of these allegations of Islamophobia just because we dare to air our community’s dirty laundry in public,” she continues.

So called “honor brigades” take every chance to silence any debate or conversation that include a slightest criticism of the religion, writing this off as bigotry, and Trump’s harsh discourse only makes this delicate situation worse.

“Every time he says anything, it polarizes people so quickly that we can’t discuss anything,” Nomani said, cautioning that Muslims in other countries “end up using Trump and his comments as a metaphor for all of America.”

By Stefan Paraber for GIA

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