This month I am going to share a little bit about Zaynab bint Ali. She was the daughter of Fatima and Ali (ra) and the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). She like her brothers was named by the Prophet (pbuh). We often hear about her incredible brothers, Hasan and Hussain but she was just as […]Muslim Women Throughout Islamic History – Zaynab bint Ali
It was the Fall of 2017. I was on the F train going home after a long day at work. It was getting dark, and there weren’t many people in the subway car. After a few stops, the doors opened, and a blonde woman in her early 30’s walked in and sat down few seats away from me. She held this beautiful green handbag.
“Nice purse” I told her. “Thanks” she responded with a smile. We had a 40 minutes long conversation in which one of the questions I asked her was what she did for a living. “I am an escort” she told me. At that time, I had no idea what that was, and there was no WIFI on the train for me to search it up on google.
“what’s that?” I asked with a confused look on my face. “It’s when you get paid to spend time with someone at a social event.” she replied. I was surprised I never heard about people giving money to spend time with them. For a moment, I thought about quitting my retail job and becoming an escort myself. “That’s so cool! how much do you make, if you don’t mind me asking?” I know it was a personal question I don’t usually ask people, but this was the first time I learned such a job exists. “around $400-$700 per hour.” I was extremely shocked. After almost breaking every bone in my body and putting my mental health at risk, that was the amount I made in a one-week paycheck. I have made many friends and spent time with them, but the most I had gotten was a Starbucks coffee.
Before I could start asking her more questions, she cut me off by telling me that being an escort is somewhat like prostitution. At times escorts are paid to have sex with the person they are accompanying. She looked a little embarrassed and continued by saying, “I don’t tell people because they are likely to judge.” I understood what she was trying to say, and it was true. I asked her why she told me a “hijabi woman” wasn’t she afraid I might say something or judge her?
” Yeah. But you seem nice,” she responded. I thanked her and changed the topic before it could get more awkward. We started talking about college courses, and she informed me she had a degree in graphic design. I didn’t understand and had to question her why she worked as an escort after having a degree. She said it was a quick way to give her brother financial help, who was fighting cancer. Her brother was the only family she had. Her mother passed away when she was a teenager, and her father abandoned their family right after her brother was born. She did work as a graphic designer for a year or so. Unfortunately, most of her salary went into paying rent and bills. She made more money as an escort in NYC than two proper jobs and overtime.
She told me many of her childhood friends were Muslim. They would bring her Indian sweets during the month of Ramadan. Some of them she was still friends with and had them on Facebook. “you are a strong woman, and your brother is lucky to have a sister like you.” I assured her. After volunteering at a senior center with many cancer patients last summer, I wanted to help her. I wrote a list of organizations that give cancer individuals financial assistance and ways to get it. She was thankful and relieved that someone was willing to help and not pass judgment. Her stop came, and we said our goodbyes. That was the last time I saw her. When she left, I kept thinking about the struggles and offensive comments this woman must have been facing.
At times we are so quick to judge others we ignore to ask what’s the reason and how they are coping with that problem. Even though sex work is shunned and many reasons why that is. We are all human beings who require emotional support and respect. Someone’s life choices shouldn’t be the reason why they don’t deserve that. That day was the first time I had a conversation with a sex worker. Talking to her made me realize that society looks down on prostitution but not the people paying for it. What about the males who exploit and abuse these women? Shouldn’t they be held accountable?.
Sex work has been practiced since the beginning of time and is illegal in many countries. After society and religion came into existence, governing systems were designed. Whatever disturbs this system, such as prostitution, is criticized. The community believes that prostitutes sell their moral value for money and don’t hold dignity. After many decades, men have never been responsible for their sexual behavior, but women still are. In many cultures, a woman’s body is referred to as a temple and is supposed to guard it and prevent male sexual behavior.
Prostitution may be forced or a choice, but it is our responsibility as decent human beings to not judge and try to understand why and how they are in that profession. Try providing help and not ridicule them. If you feel someone is sex trafficked, don’t overlook it and reach out to authorities.
Written By- Mubina C
On Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, a white male in his early 20’s Robert Aaron Long, was arrested and charged with murder and assault after shooting at three Atlanta-area Asian spas. Out of the eight people killed, six of the victims were Asian women. Georgia Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Jay Baker stated at the briefing that the crime was not racially motivated but due to the suspect’s sexual addiction and “having a bad day.” As disgusted as I was listening to that statement, I wasn’t surprised. This was not the first time a white man committing a heinous crime was brushed aside as mentally ill.
The hate crimes in America on Asians have risen since the Covid-19 outbreak. The spokesman also allegedly posted a photo of a shirt on his social media with a racist and anti-Asian message about Covid-19 a few months ago. His social media was immediately deactivated, and he has been removed from the spa shooting case. While Asians are still experiencing hate crimes, people from other ethnicities are now coming together to support the Asian community.
What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is caused by bias against a race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. A hate crime is different than a bias or hate incident, which are acts of prejudice that are not crimes and do not involve violence, threats, or property damage. Sociologists have confirmed there are four known causes why hate crimes are committed. One of the main reasons is offenders feel its thrill-seeking, and hate crime brings them rage. The second is “defense” offenders assume they or their community was/is under threat and therefore committed the crime. The last two are known as retaliation and mission. Retaliation is culprits acting in response to a real or perceived hate crime. Lastly, mission hate crimes are committed when offenders feel hate is the only way to get their way, and their attacks are premeditated.
History of hate crimes on WOC
Women are 2x more likely to experience hate crime than men because they are believed to be an easy target. When a hate crime is committed, judges intensify sentencing power and extend the punishment. Women rights advocates have suggested adding sex and gender to the list, debating misogyny as one of the main causes of violence against women, especially of color.
The most hate crimes in the US took place after the civil rights movement in the 1950s-1960s. The civil rights movement was a decade-long battle by African Americans to end institutional racial discrimination. During that time, African Americans were under constant threat, and many lives were lost. Black women were being targeted and brutally killed before the civil rights movement began. They had also been sexually assaulted by white males to terrorize and dominate the Black community, beginning slavery. However, the rapes of Black women and their psychological torture during the era have limited or no mention in history. Even today, they are racially profiled and attacked because of the color of their skin.
After 9/11, many Muslim and South Asian women were subjected to retaliation hate crimes and feared for their lives. Women who wear the hijab and niqab are a visible representation of Islam and are more likely to face Islamophobic attacks. Muslim women in hijab are still more vulnerable to discrimination and attacks in everyday spaces. My own sister, post 9/11, was picked up and dropped off to college daily by my brother due to the fear of being targeted because of her hijab. Ex-president Donald Trumps Muslim ban policy in 2017 also raised anti-Muslim hate crimes.
Hate crimes against Latinos have too increased after Trump’s 2015 hate speech connecting Mexicans and crime rates. On August 3rd, 2019, a massacre in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people. Many of the victims were Latinos. The gunman had planned to target Hispanics for days and lead the premeditated attack. Last year in 2020, A Hispanic mother and her daughter were beaten by two white women for speaking Spanish and not English. 2015 wasn’t the only time Trump gave a hate speech to provoke violence against minorities. Soon after the Covid outbreak, Trump delivered a speech and tweets blaming China for the virus and lives lost. Raising hate crimes and speeches against Asian Americans at an frightening level.
What can we do?
Hate crime is a felony in America and hate crime laws allows state and federal prosecutors to charge a defendant with a harsher sentence. Its time we hold individuals accountable for the hate crime they commit regardless of their race and power. As well as political figures who use hate speech as an excuse that its still free speech to incite violence. People who commit hate crimes do not suffer from mental illnesses that make them do the crime (schizophrenia) but show high level of aggression and antisocial behavior which needs to be treated. Educate others and help create safe inclusive communities. We need to put our differences aside and unite against bias crimes.
Hate crime Statistics
In 2019 hate crime data, there were 7,314 hate crime incidents involving 8,559 offenses. In the 2019 bias motivation categories of victims of a single-bias incident, 57.6% was because of race/ethnicity, 20.1% religion, 16.7% was sexual orientation, 2.7% was gender identity, 2.0% was disability, and 0.9% was gender. Of the 6,406 offenders, 52.5% were white, 23.9% were black, and 14.6 Race unknown. 85% of offenders were males above age 18.