As Women's History Month comes to an end, it's time once again to pass the mic to Muslim women. Last year, the website MuslimGirl.com launched Muslim Women’s Day on March 27 to elevate stories and share experiences from the community in the mainstream media. Now it's year two, and many people are once again organizing to celebrate the day.
Activists and media ranging from Facebook and MTV to the Women's March and United State of Women are coming together on Tuesday to celebrate Muslim women and share stories that show who they are. This can help fight back against hurtful stereotypes and hateful rhetoric.
Last year's Muslim Women's Day was seen as a big success. The BBC reported that it gained support in the U.S. The state of Florida noted the "economic, cultural, and social contributions of Muslim women" and their work to better their communities. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb wished everyone a happy Muslim Women's Day.
The founder of MuslimGirl.com Amani Al-Khatahtbeh helped kickstart the day. Last year she tweeted why it was so important. "In current climate, Muslim women are rarely given the space to be heard above all the noise," Al-Khatahtbeh wrote.
In an interview with Bustle last year, Al-Khatahtbeh further explained her reasoning. "We're on the heels of widespread conversations surrounding the Muslim Ban and even the women's movement, and it comes at a time when Muslim women are being increasingly targeted for their practice," she told Bustle. "Muslim Women's Day is a positive response to this critical moment by celebrating a marginalized community that needs the public support right now."
This year's theme is “Muslim Women Talk Back to Violence.” Participating media outlets will focus on stories of Muslim women affected by gun violence as well as sexual assault, addressing the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements too.
MuslimGirl.com's staff explained exactly what the day means, and what you can do to support it:
This is a day to celebrate Muslim women and flood the Internet with positive representations of who Muslim women are. Anyone can take part, from uploading pics on social media of the Muslim women in your life to showing some love to your favorite Muslim women accounts to follow. One of the easiest ways you can create space for Muslim women is simply by hitting share or retweeting #MuslimWomensDay content on your social media and elevating the stories you care about.
This conversation is more needed now than ever. A Pew Research Center analysis of FBI hate crime statistics released in November showed that assaults in 2016 passed the prior high seen after 9/11 in 2001. Last year there were 127 Muslim victims who reported aggravated or simple assault based on their religion.
Anti-Muslim intimidation also rose dramatically, though not to the heights seen in 2001. Surveys show that 75 percent of Muslim Americans think that there is "a lot" of discrimination against Muslims in the country. The general public largely agrees, with 69 percent sharing that view.
Given this situation, get started early reading up on impressive Muslim women and their accomplishments from the last year. MuslimGirl.com has prepared a list of 18 women that you need to know. They "made a difference in 2017 and should be on your radar for 2018."
From Linda Sarsour, one of the Women's March organizers, to fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Olympian to compete wearing the hijab, the women are truly inspiring. Read through their profiles on the site and consider sharing the story of the women who you find the most inspiring.
Muslim Women's Day is here to stay, and the second annual version could have an even bigger impact.