Hoodie and hijab are not the same

A few days ago, Adele Wilde-Blavatsky wrote ‘To Be Anti-Racist Is To Be Feminist: The Hoodie and the Hijab Are Not Equals‘ on The Feminist Wire. In response, 77 feminists wrote an open letter accusing Adele of racism and Islamophobia (surprise, surprise). Both Adele’s original article and the open letter are no longer available on The Feminist Wire (but can be found via the links above) due to an ‘appeal to legal action’.

In support of Adele, we sent in the following statement that was published on portside.org:

We extend our full solidarity to Adele Wilde-Blavatsky for such a clear and rare analysis from feminists in Europe and North America, in which women’s resistance to the Muslim Right -including by resisting all forms of fundamentalist veiling – is made visible and honoured, rather than sacrificed on the altar of anti racism and anti imperialism’.

* Marieme Helie Lucas, sociologist, Algeria, founder and former international coordinator of the international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws ( wluml), coordinator Secularism Is A Women’s Issue
* Fatou Sow, Researcher, Senegal, international coordinator, Women Living Under Muslim Laws
* Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Iran/UK
* Karima Bennoune, Professor of Law, Rutgers University, U S A
* Khawar Mumtaz, Shirkat Gah, Pakistan

Of course a lot more can and must be said on this important matter and we all plan to write more in the coming days but we wanted to get something out quickly in support of Adele hence the brief statement above.

You’re welcome to register your support in the comments section below since The Feminist Wire has shut down any discussion on the matter.

Meredith Tax of Centre for Secular Spaces has already written something on this. She says:

…Clearly this is meant to end the discussion. Why discuss anything with someone who is racism incarnate – as is shown by her “questioning of women’s choice to wear the niqab.”

Are all women who question this choice racist by definition? What about women in Iran who risk jail for being “mal- hijab?” What about Muslim women in Nigeria who want to wear their traditional head-wraps rather than the burquas being pushed by Saudi-financed mullahs? Do these women have agency? Or do women have agency only when they wear the veil?

Feminists should be encouraging discussion of such questions rather than trying to shut it down.

Khawar Mumtaz writes:

In the US, I am told, an “authentic” Muslim woman is the one who is in some form of hijab or veil. The rest, I suppose, are fakes or pretenders. Talk about stereo-typing! And coming from feminists is alarming.

Alarming indeed.