900 Activists Write An Open Letter Against ‘Auction’ Of Muslim Women
Being a woman in society is difficult. But being a Muslim woman is even more so. And that is because they are not only women but also belong to a minority. And while it is bad in India, it is worse in countries of the Middle East. Or so we thought. We know that Muslim women face hatred and abuse offline as well as online. In fact, there are activists around the world fighting for the online hatred against Muslim women to stop.
Recently, 900 people (individuals and groups) wrote an open letter demanding action against the online targeting of Muslim women. These 900 people consisted of students, lawyers, activists, academicians, journalists, etc.
The open letter was a response to the sexualized hatred and harm Muslim women face on GitHub. GitHub is an online platform where Twitter handles and photographs of specifically Muslim women were uploaded. Not only that but more than 80 women were profiled and the uploaders were sought to “auction” their images by soliciting the viewers of GitHub to choose their “deal of the day.”
The open letter in favor of Muslim women talks about how the openly misogynistic hate speech against minorities adds fuel to the rape culture that exists against women of this particular sect. It also criticizes the fact that women are majorly targeted because of their religious identity.
The letter signed by 900 people for protecting these women, read “The men on these handles (social media), channels and posts call upon majoritarian Hindutva nationalist men and mobs to abduct and rape Muslim women. These handles routinely spew pornographic abuse for both Muslim men and women and build online communities through chat boxes and posts to create violent online communities. This criminal use of social media uses openly misogynistic hate speech against minority communities and celebrates a rape culture against Muslim women targeted for their religious identity, and therefore, impacts the dignity of all women.”
The open letter demanded effective and legal action against those who are accountable for the targeted sexualized hate towards Muslim women. Those 900 who signed the open letter were also against the efforts of regulating women’s political speech and their participation in politics. These signatories believe that the targeting “is part of the project to push Muslim women out of public spaces, offline and online, by causing them harm and censoring their speech.”
And the truth is that women, especially in India, are targeted. Which needs to honestly stop. We as a society need to be more inclusive and tolerant of other communities. We need to provide women of all communities with equal opportunities so that they get empowered and independent.