WISE #JusticeforNabra Vigil
Today, we come together to mourn the the brutal murder of Nabra Hassanen, the young Muslim teenager who was found dead in a pond, during the month of Ramadan — a holy month for Muslims.
While we are uncertain of the motives behind the attacks, this recent tragedy fits into a greater trend of recurring hate based violence in a political climate that is increasingly antagonistic to Muslims as demonstrated by the recent attacks in Portland and Columbus. These events are having real effects on the Muslim community with a recent study showing 1 in 2 Muslim women fear for their personal safety and 42% of Muslim American women regularly or occasionally experience religious discrimination. This is the reality that we are now living — constant fear, unsure who may be next attacked.
In response to these events, WISE has supported in organizing #JusticeforNabra, a movement across nine cities. As part of this, we are holding vigils and bringing together community leaders and our female members to create a space for solidarity as well as serve as a resistance to the wave of anti-Muslim rhetoric, violence and policy that have been increasingly pervasive this past year. It is vital we heal as a community and commemorate the life of Nabra and the other victims of hate based violence and racism. When we stand for the right of Muslim women, we will affirm refugee and indigenous rights, black lives matter, women’s and LGBTQ rights and take a firm stand against the type of violence that is destructive to the fabric of our societies.
As an organization that teaches self defense, we know it can be life saving as it builds verbal, physical and emotional capacity to help young women de-escalate violent situations. However, we must also unpack why women and specifically Muslim women continue to be the victims of hate based violence. The onus should not be on Muslim women to protect ourselves from this violence, rather everyone must stand against the violent policies and rhetoric that contribute to an environment that empowers bigotry and white supremacy.
When we take on a “all of us or none of us approach” to hate, we ensure Muslim women and all marginalized groups can truly feel safe. Through our organized vigils, we hope to create a space for the broader community to stand with Nabra’s family and provide some level of justice for her and other Muslim women who have been victim to such hate and violence. We hope you will join us.
Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment aka WISE is a New York based organization dedicated to empowering Muslim women through trainings of self-defense, storytelling, social entrepreneurship and community mobilization.