18 J. Gender Race & Just. 425 (2015-2016)
Muslim Women's Rights in the United States

handle is hein.journals/jgrj18 and id is 451 raw text is: 







Muslim Women's Rights in the United Statest

                             Farina Abdrabboh*


     I am a covered, Muslim woman-meaning, I wear a headscarf and a dress.
Just today, as I was preparing to board a flight to Iowa, my flight was delayed due
to a reported explosion at the Chicago airport. This explosion was being reported
by CNN on the televisions throughout the terminal.' Passengers all around me
would look at the television screen, then look at me, then look at the television,
and then look back at me. This paranoia is not a hyperbole, but rather the
experience of Muslims in today's U.S. security climate, particularly, in airports
when breaking news such as this occurs.
    This is exactly how Muslim Americans feel every time there is breaking news
around the world. Muslim Americans currently experience a double victimization:
as Americans, they are victimized by organizations like ISIS; and they are also
victimized by often sloppy reporting. For example, a politician does not suffer
substantially if he or she makes a misrepresentation about Muslims and Muslim
Americans. In the United States, there is an industry of Islamophobia-a
concerted effort by certain interest groups that is either directed towards
victimizing Muslims as a whole, or inadvertently does so-and there are no real
ramifications for the perpetrators. Unfortunately, as the recent uptick in hate
crimes against Muslim Americans attests, there are real and serious ramifications
for members of the Muslim American community, who bear the brunt of
Islamophobia. Consequently, Muslim women are caught in this crossfire; a
crossfire that is so complex it is hard to untangle. There are many facets to this
reality. However, it really has nothing to do with religion. Rather, it is a product
of institutions of oppression and patriarchy.
     The first line of defense is that Muslims are not terrorists. Muslims are
inherently inclined to love;2 they do not undervalue life or the lives of their sons


t This Article has been adapted from a Skype presentation given by Ms. Abdrabboh at the Women in
the Revolution Symposium on September 26, 2014. This Article is also featured in Transnational Law
& Contemporary Problems. Please use a string citation when referencing this Article: Fatina
Abdrabboh, Muslim Women's Rights in the United States, 18(2) J. GENDER RACE & JUST. 425, 24(2)
TRANSNAT'L L. & CONTEMP. PROBS. 379 (2015).
 Fatina Abdrabboh, J.D., M.PP, M.T.S., is the Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee's (ADC) Michigan office. She is a graduate of Harvard University, the University of
Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. As Director of the largest civil rights
organization defending the rights of Arab Americans, her work has primarily focused on identifying
unique challenges facing the Arab American and Muslim American communities and reconciling their
needs with the fundamental values enshrined in the United States Constitution.
'See Flights Resume on 'Reduced Rate'After Fire at Chicago Air Traffic Facility, CNN WIRE (Sept.
26, 2014, 4:09 PM), http://foxl3now.com/2014/09/26/flights-resume-on-reduced-rate-after-fire-at-
chicago-air-traffic-facility/.
2 See Islamic Networks Group, Frequently Asked Questions on Terrorism, ISLAM 101 (2004),

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