At the latest GOP debate, Donald Trump continued his earlier controversial comment, in which he said that Islam hated the U.S., by attempting to link the assertion to the treatment of women in some Middle Eastern countries.
After addressing the tremendous hate that according to Trump the Islam holds against the country, and in which many people wanted to use very harsh means to demonstrate it, the Republican frontrunner presented another point of view where he pointed out that women are treated horribly in the culture, as reported by Time.
“There is tremendous hate. Where large portions of a group of people, Islam, large portions want to use very, very harsh means,” said Trump in the debate. “Let me go a step further. Women are treated horribly. You know that. You do know that. Women are treated horribly, and other things are happening that are very, very bad,” he added.
But even after Trump’s attempts of demonstrating some sudden interest in the welfare of Muslim women, this may be counterproductive at the best and Islamophobic at the worst, said some Muslim community leaders, which were women.
The negative stereotypes that Trump is perpetuating actually lead to more violence against women who are Muslim or who are perceived as Muslim, instead of promoting any positive change, commented Zainab Chaudary, a media specialist with ReThink Media who focuses on security and equal rights.
Muslim women, according to Chaudary, are more exposed to Islamophobia than men due to they are the ones who use are more publicly visible, especially if the wear hijab. Comments like the one made against the Islam could provoke violence against them specially.
Crude and disingenuous but still pointing to real problems
Other Muslim leaders like Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement and author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam, said that even though he was so indelicate in his comments, the truth is that they, the Muslim community, do have some very serious problems with interpretations of Islam that treat women as second-class citizens.
Some interpretations of Islam are very real, said Nomani. Many clerics preach hatred for America and some communities condone and encourage pervasive discrimination against women, she added.
But, she also noted that Islam includes passionate believers in gender equality, like her own father of the father of Malala Yousafzai. The problem, she added, is that reformers cannot call out the injustices within some interpretation of the religion without being accused of Islamophobia.