#CanYouHearUsNow: Muslim Women Respond to Donald Trump
by Noorhan Amani
Last month, the Democratic National Convention was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The convention featured speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds, in sharp contrast to the Republican National Convention. One of the speakers was Khizr Khan, a Muslim-American who is the father to Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed on-duty in Iraq in 2004 while trying to stop a suicide bomber (his family is known as a gold star family). Humayun Khan was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
On July 28, the last day of the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan, accompanied by his wife Ghazala Khan, gave a heartfelt speech about his son’s sacrifices and Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments on Muslims and other minority groups. Khan said, referring to Trump’s proposals to ban Muslims from entering the US and build a wall between the US and Mexico, “Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son "the best of America." If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities -- women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.”
A few days following Khizr Khan's speech, Donald Trump was interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. In the interview, Trump responded to Khan’s comments that he (Trump) “had sacrificed nothing.” Trump said, "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I've had tremendous success. I think I've done a lot." Trump also added, "If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say.” Referring to Ghazala Khan, Trump further said, "She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me. But a plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet, and it looked like she had nothing to say. A lot of people have said that."
In response to Trump’s bigoted and ignorant comments about her, Ghazala Khan wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she denied that her silence had anything to do with her husband or religion, and said, “Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could?”.
Additionally, in response to Trump’s comments that implied that perhaps Ghazala Khan’s husband or religion did not allow her to speak (reinforcing the ignorant stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed by their religious beliefs), Muslim women took over Twitter, using the hashtag #CanYouHearUsNow to debunk stereotypes. Muslim women of different professions, veterans, athletes, physicians, lawyers, academics, students, and teachers all shared their stories which demonstrated strength, courage, and dedication. Here are some of the powerful tweets: