Cloth throughout history worn for a political, personal or functional reason. Muslim cloth in general and Hijab in particular, have triggered so much debate and controversial in this country. America seemed obsessed with what Muslim women wear or don’t wear as if the only problem we are facing in this country. where, Political hijab is celebrated everyday in the White House and national news. The symbolism of Muslim hijab ranges from an oppression of Muslim women to a strong identity and a strong feminist stand. Lately we have two Muslim women who used hijab to break ground with totally different symbolism. “Halima Aden and Rep. Ilhan Omar. “Halima Aden both, brook ground and Made History as the First Model to Wear a Hijab and Burkini in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. “ screamed the headline of the Sports Illustrated Magazine, SI, on the front page , the 21 year old Somali Muslim playfully lying on the beach wearing her sexy burkini swimsuit. I’m not sure about the business of Breaking history and being first. lots of Muslims women wear burkini on the beach, swim with their everyday cloth which a wholesome sexy too for lots of onlookers.
Some Muslim women had been attacked assaulted in schools, Mall, parks and streets because of their hijabs, s or Muslim cloth, other were asked to take off their burkini in France. Muslims are banned from coming to America, however SI editor is thrilled to have Halima with her Burkini “We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Halima Aden is the newest member of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit family, making history as the first Muslim model to wear a hijab and burkini in the magazine.” Explained the SI editor. The question is why a sport magazine, that covers mostly masculine men sports, read mostly by men dedicates an issue (playboy) every year to showcase an issue full of women bodies in scant swimsuits, as if the only way to show beauty is to strip down and show your bod by the beach. “At SI Swimsuit, we strive to continue to spread the message that whether you are wearing one-piece, a two-piece, or a burkini, you are the pilot of your own beauty.” You can’t say that about men beauty of course. Halima burkini breaking ground story was all over the front pages of major newspapers and magazines. , discussed and debated on radio, TV and social media, presented as a breaking ground for Muslim women, the message is , showing you sexuality is your way to salvation to be free in America. Another Muslim woman from the same country who came to this country from a refugee came in Kenya at the same age, and she made it to the front page. Rep. Ilhan Omar also brook ground and got media attention too, not by bringing her hijab to the beach SI, she was first Muslim to bring her hijab to congress,. Rep. Ilhan Omar was on front page of the New York Post not associated with her sexuality and beauty, but associated with 9/11 and terrorism. Trump used it against Rep. Ilhan Omar, a video accusing Ilhan Omar of not revering the sacred 9/11 tragedy enough and speaking lightly of victims, referring to them as “some people”. The video, as we all now know, was edited and took her words out of context from a 20 minute speech to CAIR, a Muslim advocate group. Her words in the tweet video were superimposed on images of the horror of the 9/11 tragedy, a long stretch of imagination for a man who has none. We don’t know much about Halima other than that she came from a refugee camp in Kenya, she is cute with slim beautiful body, she giggle a lot as a teen age and bring positive vibes to liberals Americans, especially women. “You inspired us all” said a white woman as they both hugged on the beach “You can model as long as you wear the hijab” Halima’s mum gave her condition, SI, however you can wear anything- hijab- as long as you can model, a match made in heaven. Halima body sexuality not a threat, she decided to immerse herself into the consumer culture with her body. Ilhan in other hand decided to challenge the system with her ideas. America fascination with people who are doing things, human doors, not matched with those who offer ideas . According to Trump both , Halima and Ilhan came from a shithole places, and the statute liberty long time ago addressed only the poor and huddle masses, who need something, not so much the people with ideas who want to say something.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Americans seem to be paranoid and schizophrenic about Islam and Muslims, Islam is an imaginary ideology that is shaped by tabloid media and right wing Islamophobic propaganda. Most Americans never meat or seen a Muslim, through TV and Hollywood entertainments. Americans however don’t hate Muslims for their beliefs and religion, they hate Muslims who challenge the narrative. America still like certain kind of Muslims that fits the narrative, oppressed Muslim women Malala story, or a dictator like elSisi, as Trump said, he is doing a great job with Israel and keeping political Islam checked. We like Saudi king Salman who has lots of money and no ideas. Rep. Ilhan Omar was the first hijab Muslims to get into the congress, but unlike Halima she challenges this narrative where Halima celebrates. Halima used hijab to change SI masculine sexist family to have a space for a Muslim women body, where Ilhan used the hijab to have a space for everyone in America.
Ahmed Tharwat /host and producer of Arab American TV show BelAhdan