By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota
“Silence is the best way to answer a fool.”
After the Democratic National Convention (DNC, Donald Trump said the reason Ghazala Khan didn’t speak at the DNC is because she wasn’t allowed to. He played on stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed and voiceless.
Some women will respond through a twitter campaign to demonstrate that we don’t need anyone’s permission to speak.
Today, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (EDT), Monday, August 1, using the hashtag #CanYouHearUsNow, some Muslim women will share a bit about who they are and how they speak out.
I respect these women’s right to express their outrage in this manner. However, I disagree with this approach. Why? As a direct speaker, I have faced harsh criticism for my not speaking in a way that adheres to a stereotypical view of a Muslim woman by Muslims and non-Muslims, both men and women alike. Hence, boxing women to speak in one way to appease a bigot or a group of bigots plays right into their game. A show of false bravado is not necessary. Rather, what is needed is an educational lesson on silence.
As someone who is a direct speaker, I heard a woman, Ghazala Khan’s message on stage very loud and clear. A wise woman who stood dignified and respectfully – expressed her pain and suffering at Trump with her silence. She was not silenced by her husband, but, too stunned by Trump’s stupidity to even respond. She was genuine, open and authentic. She was being herself, not putting on an act of false bravado like Trump has been doing since the Presidential campaign.