By Khadija Husain, Muslim Women’s Alliance (MWA)
Muslim Women’s Alliance (MWA), a non-profit organization based in Chicago and a national partner of the Women’s March on Washington, is taking a large group of Muslim community organizers to advocate for women’s rights on Inauguration Day. The highly contentious Presidential elections led to divisive rhetoric that polarized the nation and led to a sharp uptick in anti-Muslim attacks. Hundreds of thousands of women and men are expected to gather at the nation’s capital.
What started as a viral Facebook post the day after the elections about marching on DC by a grandmother from Hawaii quickly evolved into what is now being called the largest mass mobilization that any incoming administration will have ever faced. In its commitment to creating awareness and facilitating action on social justice issues, MWA early on joined the Women’s March in order to ensure diverse voices are represented.
MWA leaders reached out to the national Women’s March organizers Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland to see how the organization could empower the Muslim community to take part in standing up for justice. “I march because as a Muslim woman, I contribute every day to society, as a professional, as a tax payer, and as a community organizer,” said Suroor Raheemullah also noting she marches for her young daughters.
The nearly one hundred Chicago Muslims joining MWA for the march have stated different reasons for motivating them to join in the cross-country bus journey from Chicago to DC. Muna Odeh said, “I march for equity because equality is not enough. I march because it’s our responsibility. I march because I’m a woman with a voice who will change the world.”
MWA Executive Director Noor Hasan said she believes that this Women’s March is important for the entire Muslim community to be a part of because “Muslim women have long been the focus of media attention and scrutiny with countless news articles on everything from the burkini ban to anti-Muslim attacks on women wearing hijab. It is every Muslim’s faith duty to stand up against misogyny, racism, bigotry and Islamophobia.”
The Women’s March on Washington is a collective gathering of people from across the nation to stand for the most marginalized groups in our community. Muslim activists and allies are leading the charge for women’s rights knowing that it is tied up with the core beliefs of the teachings of Islam and justice for women will in turn lead to justice for all.