Following my last post, I had a brief chat via text messaging with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, which I will share below. My last post on Rashida Tlaib using the MF word drew sharp reaction, both positive and negative. Ironically the harshest criticism came from folks who I consider “friends”, calling me misogynist and Trump supporter among other things.
As a Muslim blogger, I get sharp criticism from time to time, mostly from the extreme right wing. I have come to expect that. But I must admit that this one did sting a bit, because it was rather unexpected and it came from folks who I consider friends or friendly.
To be clear I am not saying I am in Congresswoman Rashida’s inner circles and/or among her top fundraisers. But I have been involved in a few, have met her, have talked to her on the phone, and have exchanged text messages and have helped organize events featuring her as speaker, even before she decided to run for the US congress.
Here I just want to make a few things very clear. In the end I will share my brief exchange with her. Here are some of the comments from last post and my response.
- “This has nothing to do with Islam. Don’t bring Islam into it.” Or “Who are you- don’t be the righteous and be Islamic police.” Some even used the “M” word- Mullah. Ouch. But the fact is that as Muslims, we are ambassadors. Whether we like it or not, we are viewed as Muslims first and foremost. In fact most people who know her know her because of her Muslim American identity. Can you name another congresswoman from Michigan? I would also repeat here that she was elected because of her excellent track record in her home district for all of her communities and her voter base is largely Non Muslims and she enjoys support from people all walks of life.
- “This is misogyny.” Really? This was one of the most painful comments, to be perfectly honest with you. (OK, being a Trump supporter was also pretty nasty). You mean voting for a woman presidential candidate, supporting the two Californian women senators, help organizing fundraisers, or speaking events for her and other women candidates that you probably have not heard of, such as Aisha Yaqoob for Georgia state assembly, were signs of misogyny? And being invited to speak at Women’s march in my city? I have no idea where some of the folks saw the sexism or misogyny on my initial post because no one pointed it out to me except just calling it misogyny.
- The post was somehow viewed as if I was a Trump supporter. Nothing can be further from the truth. There was not a word expressed in support of Donald Trump. Not one. In fact I have several posts published on this blog about him, including Caliph Trump and the Rise of Christian Taliban.
The Bottom line:
What she said was regrettable and I wont defend it but that does not mean I will stop being a staunch supporter of her. She still has my FULL support. She is a shining example of what America is all about. She is a fighter. She is passionate. I wish her the best in her political career and I am confident she has the ability and the strong desire to help make America great again. The US congress is better off because of her, and it represents America more truly.
Here is what she shared with me today on this subject, reproduced here partly but verbatim.
It was not meant for the world to hear. It was definitely a teachable moment.
Rashida- Rain or shine, I will be in your corner.