On February 26, Twitter user Sabina Khan-Ibarra started a discussion about the empowerment of Muslim women.
Sabina, creator of the Muslim Montage – a website that discusses the success stories and aspirations of Muslim Women – asked her followers for their opinions on the definition of ‘empowerment’ and what it means to women coming from different backgrounds.
What is the definition of “empowered”? empowerment means to different things to women from different backgrounds. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Sabina Khan-Ibarra (@MuslimahMontage) March 4, 2014
Within a matter of hours, the hashtag #EmpoweredMuslimWomen was trending in America.
A few people initially tried to disrupt the conversation with sarcastic – and in some cases – caustic replies:
I bought her a fully automatic washing machine cause I care about her delicate soft hands #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Saad (@msaadkb) March 4, 2014
She asked for a new hot pot. I bought her a new dinner set too. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Zain Bin Imran (@ChocolateCharsi) March 4, 2014
Gave her the opportunity to find me a second wife. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Jibby (@JibbyD) March 4, 2014
#EmpoweredMuslimWomen have the power to switch the cooker on and off as and when they please.— Sohail (@Soha1l) March 4, 2014
However, later a ton of thought-provoking and clever replies overshadowed the tasteless mockery.
Transgendered sisters are ignored, shunned, denied resources and sometimes even basic human dignity. Let's fix that. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Eman. (@emaaanc) March 4, 2014
Empowerment is realizing that you can say no, you have a choice and you can be who you want to be. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Asra Nadeem (@AsraNadeem) March 5, 2014
#EmpoweredMuslimWomen don't need men to speak for them but we're here to help if asked and needed.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) March 4, 2014
We aren't meant to be anything less than kickass heroes in every sense of the word. It's in our history. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Laila Alawa (@lulainlife) March 4, 2014
#EmpoweredMuslimWomen I don't need you talking about the hijab to me, especially if you're a man. Know your place!— Halima (@Amilah09) March 4, 2014
Wearing hijab does not turn each of my normal daily activities (jogging, working) into acts of dissent/courage. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Pearl B. Lawrence (@PearlBLawrence) March 4, 2014
#EmpoweredMuslimWomen are subject to hostility from all sides. Our strength comes from within, our power from above. We will not be deterred— Raquel E Saraswati (@RaquelEvita) March 4, 2014
We will not allow the media to represent our men like terrorists & us like victims nor will we stay quiet about sexism #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— ~ (@AncientEmpress) March 4, 2014
We are journalists, lawyers, doctors, teachers. Nuff said. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Pearl B. Lawrence (@PearlBLawrence) March 4, 2014
#EmpoweredMuslimWomen know that when our voices shake against oppression that's when we need to speak and act the loudest— ilana alazzeh (@OccupiedMuslim) March 4, 2014
Being empowered means being authentic. Childless by choice not circumstance is a non-issue. Respect different views. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— Farida (@adiraf) March 4, 2014
Muslim men are so afraid of 'Muslim feminists' because they KNOW that their sexism isn't allowed in Islam. #EmpoweredMuslimWomen— ~ (@AncientEmpress) March 4, 2014