Like most Americans, when Donald Trump proposed a ban on all Muslim immigrants trying to enter the United States, I was totally appalled.
While leaders of both major political parties were quick to condemn these remarks, there is doing no denying the great phobia of Islam sweeping across America. With that in mind, Trump clearly preached a sentiment that is relevant to American fears and rhetoric about Muslims today.
At the time of writing, there have only been two Muslim members in the American Congress, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson. When Barrack Obama was pursuing his first campaign for the presidency, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan offered his endorsement of Obama’s candidacy. Obama denounced Farrakhan’s support. As portrayed in the media in the States, Muslims are terrorists, and women subordinate objects in their greater theological struggle. To me, these seems like clear indications for a real lack of understanding about the many, complex faces of Islam today. In American consciousness, Islam is an intolerant and hostile religion, in which women have little or no voice. Traveling in Indonesia, this hasn’t at all been my impression.
I’ve recently found an interesting Instagram feed working to undermine these kinds of preconceptions, @hijabfashion.
Quoted from the top of their page, “We will not tolerate negativity.” The women featured on @hijabfashion defy all the stereotypes offered in the Western media. The women are confident, self-possessed, charismatic, and beautiful.
I recently contacted the administrators, and was (pleasantly) surprised to learn it comes out of North Carolina and London (given the most common complexions of the women, I was assuming Indonesia or Southeast Asia).
I recommend the feed for anyone interested in rethinking the dominant themes in contemporary American media. Undoubtably, America needs to come to terms with Islam, and @hijabfashion provides a wonderful voice for rethinking the role of woman and Islam in the contemporary world.