Muslims seem to think that wearing an American flag on their heads will make people think they are patriotic Americans. Nothing could be farther from the truth…especially when they use an actual American flag to show their Islamic supremacism.
Islam 21c This Muslim-Iranian writer & photographer is opposed to the symbolic “US Flag Hijab.” But not for the same reasons every American should be.
From all the photos filling our social media feeds of white people with red hats and white women with pink beanies with ears, and enough pro-Hillary slogans to make this Muslim woman of color uncomfortable, there was one particularly striking image that was consistently shared and re-shared and praised by the “left.”
The American-flag-clad Hijabi woman illustrated in the trademark style of of Obama’s “hope” poster is not short of striking. But not for the right reasons. How are we able to hold up signs of Muslim women wearing the American flag and chant slogans of supposed solidarity while drones carrying the same flag killed our Muslim family in Yemen at the exact same moment and we said nothing?
1. Know that a hijab-wearing Muslim woman did not make this image. Actually, a woman didn’t make this image at all. It was created by a white man: Shepard Fairey, artist & founder of the clothing brand OBEY, created this image from a photograph taken by Muslim-American photographer Ridwan Adhami. Were we unable to uplift the work of Muslim women instead? Are our images only able to be consumed when they are white-washed and sanitized?
2. Know that the hijab–for *me* at least–represents a rejection of materialism, of capitalism, of euro-centric beauty standards (among other significance) and draping an American flag over it erases almost everything the hijab means to me.
3. Know the American flag represents oppression, torture, sexual violence, slavery, patriarchy, and military & cultural hegemony for people of color around the world whose homes and families have been destroyed and drone-striked by the very person/former president whose campaign images this one seeks to replicate.
4. Know that the 50 stars represent 50 states where indigenous people were forcibly removed and systematically cleansed and assimilated — and that you cannot hold this flag in one hand and tweet #NoDAPL with the other.
5. Know that patriotism is not a form of liberation, but is inherently oppressive. Especially given the violent history of the birth of this country–and all others like it–on the backs of Black slaves (many of whom were Muslim) and indigenous genocide. Trump’s presidency is the logical outcome of the racist systems and institutions of white supremacy that this country was built on and this flag represents.
6. Know that Muslims are tired of having to “prove” they are American. But also, know that one does not need to be American to deserve respect, humanity, dignity, equality, rights, and freedom from hate and bigotry. An over-emphasis on being American as a prerequisite of deserving respect is harmful for immigrants and refugees. Especially under the new administration that already has plans of “extreme vetting” to prove American-ness. This is only pushing their agenda further. Also, see number 5.
7. Know that if the only time you are comfortable uplifting Muslim woman is when her image has been crafted by a white man and is draped in the American flag, I cannot call you my ally.