FROM ONE HIJABI TO ANOTHER: A LETTER TO AMENA KHAN

Dear Amena, 
 
I can’t explain the huge sense of pride that came over me the moment I first saw you in your pink L’Oreal hijab. I was elated to see someone covered, just like me, in an international campaign being our Muslim voice to millions of people around the world. From one hijabi to another, I believed you stood for the same things we all do, like justice. From one hijabi to another, I thought you stood for peace. From one hijabi to another, I thought you stood for what we all aspire to embody: the ideals set forward by our beautiful religion, Islam. But more importantly, I thought you stood tall and proud. 
 
As fellow a hijabi (I don’t know if I mentioned that!?), I was cheering you on! And yes, with that kind of global exposure, comes the opportunity for criticism and negativity. But that’s the game; and one you should know all too well with your over half a million followers. 
 
That is why I was shocked at your reaction regarding those now infamous 2014 tweets. 
 
Why did you retract those original sentiments of justice, peace, and empathy? Why as a Muslim, a human being, did you feel you weren’t allowed to have those sentiments—sentiments, even if no longer felt by you, are still valid and shared by many people educated enough about the current situation in Occupied Palestine. 
 
We counted on you that you would be a pillar in the normalization of us in mainstream society. We knew you were capable of taking the high road and responding to the escalated situation at hand. There we all sat watching and waiting with notifications turned on, to read your response to the sequence of events, only to then be disappointed by a response that did not speak to many of us.
 
Amani from MuslimGirl vocally rejected an award from Revlon, a company whose ambassador is Gal Gadot, a pro-Israeli ex- IDF soldier who is very vocal of her beliefs and support of the inhuman tactics of the IDF. While you don’t have to agree with the politics, we can agree to stand up for what we believe in. Not cower. Not retract. Not step down. Amani gave a response that will go down in history because she believes everyone has a right to an opinion; even you. 
 
From one hijabi to another, you still have time! Stand tall, be proud, be the hijabi that knows what is right and isn’t afraid to let the world know too. Come back and be stronger than ever, be unapologetically yourself, but most importantly, be the example you would be proud of. Be the woman our daughters can look up to and speak on how you took a stand for Muslims, for what is right.
 
From a fellow Hijabi,
 
Safiya Abdallah 
Designer/ Mother / Sister / Supporter
 

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