On January 21, 2017, thousands of women are expected to take part in the Women’s March on Washington. According to the Women’s March website, the purpose of their march taking place right after President-elect Trump’s inauguration day is to advocate for “demonized” groups including LGBTQIA, Muslims, etc. The Women’s March has partnered with several Islamic groups, including Hamas-linked CAIR (CT), the Muslim Women’s Alliance, Arab American Association of New York, and the Women for Afghan Women. While the movement strives for intersectionality between various groups – ethnic, religious, or otherwise, these groups cannot coexist without first assessing that their values align.
What seems especially odd about the feminist-LGBTQIA-Islam conglomerate is that the Islamic movements are directly opposed to the aims of mainstream feminists. While mainstream feminists advocate for freedom of expression in clothing, CAIR maintains that Muslim women should wear “loose-fitting, non-revealing clothing, known as hijab, or khimar”. According to CAIR’s guide for educators, Muslim boys and girls may not take same-sex communal after-sport showers, and that Muslim students should not be forced to participate in coed swimming classes. CAIR also insists that Muslims may not want to shake hands with teachers and administrators of the opposite sex – but as a “sign of personal modesty”. How does CAIR know what each Muslim is thinking when he or she refuses to shake a person’s hand? It could very well be out of condescension towards women – which is prescribed in the Quran.
While the list of inconsistencies between feminists and Muslims can go on and on, the point of this post is to highlight the fact that the Women’s March’s cooperation with Islamic groups must be one-sided, as it is impossible that they both strive for equality between males and females. Feminist groups must learn about gender inequality in Islam before either immediately kowtowing to their demands out of liberal guilt, or before assuming that American-Muslim groups strive for Western values.