Donald Trump did not take kindly to the Democratic National Convention speech given by Khizr Khan, whose son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004. Khan was joined on stage by his wife, Ghazala, who chose not to speak. After Trump suggested that she was not "allowed" to speak because of the couple's Muslim faith, Muslim women used "Can You Hear Us Now" to set the record straight. Trump's latest comment was one of many to spark outrage among the Muslim American community and its allies.
Many Muslim women tweeted "Can You Hear Us Now" along with a description of their professions, activities, and accomplishments to show just how vocal they are in their communities and beyond. Some also used the hashtag to resist Trump's generalizations of Islam, speaking to the respect they expect and receive from the Muslim men in their lives.
The trending hashtag is a part of an initiative pioneered by Muslim advocacy groups, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, to combat Trump's derogatory treatment of the faith. The campaign is a powerful challenge to the idea that there is one way to practice the religion, and a vivid display of female empowerment in the Muslim community.
For her part, Ghazala Kahn responded to Trump in an article in The Washington Post on Sunday. She explained that her silence on the convention stage had nothing to do with her faith, and that she was simply overcome with emotion:
Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?
Trump's assumption that Ghazala was not allowed to speak because she is Muslim is not the first time he's couched his disdain for the religion in supposed feminist concern. At a Republican debate in March, he said:
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.
Though it is true that some predominantly Muslim countries score very poorly in the area of women's rights, Trump's suggestion that all Muslim women are oppressed by virtue of their faith is a gross generalization. And on Monday, with the "Can You Hear Us Now" campaign, many Muslim women delivered that important point, making sure that their voices are heard loud and clear.