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I am often told that I may be a woman - a Muslim woman strong in both culture, faith, and unsilenced opinions about everything – but I am no more than just a woman in a man’s world. Because of this, it comes to no surprise that my rights to my headscarf are constantly threatened, my rights to my body are constantly jeopardized, and my rights to my voice are constantly terrorized.
Last century may have been a man’s world, and in the next four years, America’s president might try to make it one again. But as for this generation’s women, yesterday, today, and tomorrow has always been our world.
On Saturday, January 21st, women from every spectrum of race, religion, and color, women from hundreds of nations in the world, all made history. On this day, Atlanta Muslims joined on the streets with people of different backgrounds and faiths to fight for the same purpose. The march, which followed President elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, was organized to protest his policies and raise awareness to the issues women face now and will continue to face if he his future actions are as abominable as his words.
The march in Atlanta was inspired by the 500,000 people who demonstrated in protest by flooding the streets of Washington, DC. Linda Sarsour, a Muslim-American woman who organized the Women’s March in D.C., stood on the frontlines in her hijab, redefining to the entire world what an American woman looked like today. She, along with thousands of Muslim men and women who marched on the streets od D.C., Atlanta, New York City, L.A, Chicago, Paris, London, and even Melbourne took a stance against the policies of President Trump and the universal jaundiced treatment of women.
With more than 60,000 marching from the Center for Civil and Human Rights to the Georgia State Capitol, the men and women of Atlanta made history on Saturday. Led by Congressman John Lewis, who feuded with President-elect Donald Trump prior to his inauguration, the march pulled in the quietest and loudest voices of our city.
While we all may face threats to equal pay and even our rights to birth control and common education because of Trump’s new threat to defund Planned Parenthood and his lack of knowledge when it comes to equal pay, Muslim women encounter an extraordinary level of hostility.
Following the nomination of Donald Trump in 2015, hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. shot up 67% - the highest levels since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Now that we are forced to recognize him as our president, these numbers are expected to be just a fraction of what we will see in the future with his ignorant and uncultured promises to ban Muslims from the U.S. and to double down on mosque surveillance.
Because of Muslim women who openly express their beliefs through the hijab, or traditional headscarf, they are much easier to target. Only 24 hours after his presidential victory, women in universities all over the U.S. faced robberies, physical abuse, and threats by Trump supporters. People tore of hijabs and some women stopped wearing it altogether.
However, the Women’s March in Atlanta touched the hearts of millions worldwide. It did not only reassure Muslim women that we are united with every woman of every faith of every nation, but we are not spineless. We are the foundation of this society and our universes’ accomplishments were built on our backs. By speaking out for what we believe in and by battling whoever stands in our way, a world once defined as a man’s world will be recognized as a world without a purpose.
And as Lewis said in his speech on Saturday, “We are fighting for our sisters, for our mothers, for our daughters…We have a moral obligation to fight, so never, ever lose hope.”
Alaa Elassar is the managing editor of AtlantaMuslim.com and works for CNN International as a writing and production intern. A junior at Georgia State University and a political science and journalism double major, Alaa's writing and passions surround justice and politics.
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