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  • Writer's pictureLida Sherafatmand

Sara Ezabe’s Nomination, the Taboo of Identity, and Award For Fighting Hate-speech on Western Women

Ms Sara Ezabe Malliue, 21 years old, a Maltese law student, has been acknowledged in the third annual '30 Under 30' Europe list (January 2018), among Forbes 'under 30' Europeans fighting inequity, corruption and the status quo.

I congratulate Ms Ezabe Malliue for her anti-hate speech activism fighting discrimination, after she faced discrimination for wearing a headscarf, and threats from the side of some local xenophobes. While congratulating Ms Sara Ezab’s nomination and achievement, I would like to bring her attention and all other individuals who contently practice Islam in Europe, to remember the situation of people living under Islamic regimes of government. I encourage young leaders like Ms Ezabe Malliue to contribute with their leadership skills and love for humanity, to enter Islamic societies and address xenophobia towards the West too.

Discrimination towards women who do not wear a hijab and hate-speech towards the West is sadly very common by a number of Islamic clergy even during holy masses held at Mosques on Fridays. Fighting hate-speech and xenophobia towards the West needs to be addressed also from the side of Islamic clergy and Muslim societies, and not only in a secular West. Practicing Islam while being under secular governments in the West is very different than practicing Islam while under an Islamic regime of government.

I personally heard numerous hate-speeches and xenophobic propagation towards the West by a number of Islamic clergy leaders during Friday ceremonies in Iran when I was a child living there. The expression ‘a Western woman’ is referred to  at times almost as a synonym for a ‘prostitute’ by the common mentality; that is sadly the extreme level of discrimination and xenophobia towards the West.  Individuals educated in the West, like Ms Sara Ezabe carry a huge responsibility to alleviate the heavy level of xenophobia which exists in a number of Muslim countries towards the West.

I strongly encourage Muslim individuals in Europe who feel confident in their understanding of Islam and how it should be practiced, and who peacefully declare themselves as Muslims, to contribute with their understanding and knowledge of Islam to Muslim societies where the living conditions of the people is not like theirs in Europe. Fighting against xenophobia in Europe has landed Ms Sara Ezabe an award nomination. Will she be awarded also by an organization under Islamic state for fighting their xenophobia towards the Westerners and women without headscarf?

Wearing a hijab (headscarf) chosen freely by a woman, is fully respectable.  There is no judgment involved in the free choice of a person who follows her or his soul and heart. However what about the girls whose hair starts to fall due to lack of enough air and too much heat under temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius; when these girls take off their hijab for their health to prevent their hair loss, they will be lashed under the Islamic laws in which they live- example I refer to Iran the country I lived in. The individuals speaking on behalf of Islam in Europe and challenging the laws of Europe against hate-speech and xenophobia, are morally fully obliged to reach out also to the laws in Muslim countries which lash women for not wearing hijab, and amputate hands for stealing and which execute individuals who change their religion from Islam to another.  Challenging the laws under which such impositions are practiced is the task of any person who is happy practicing Islam in Europe.  There is a huge difference between choosing a religion out of free will, and being forced to practice it out of fear of being lashed or executed.

Dr Hauwa Ibrahim, a Muslim lawyer, a person whom I highly admire and learn from, indeed faces directly the Muslim communities in their practices , she speaks directly and respectfully to the Sharia Court judges about their orders of amputations, stoning, or executions. A young leader declaring himself or herself a Muslim has almost a natural duty to contribute to Muslim societies, and not only to Europe where they are free in their practice. It is the moral obligation of such individuals to speak to Islamic leaders in Muslim countries about their understanding of Islam. Choosing to speak for Islam only in Europe and not in Muslim societies may be choosing a too easy way out from the reality of Islamic regimes where the religion is state law, an easy way out from possible amputations, stoning for sexual affairs outside marriage, and execution in case one day the individual may find his life path through other religious believes than Islam.

I invite and encourage Ms Sara Ezabe, and other young leaders in Europe to contribute with their leadership skills and courage, also to Muslim countries under Islamic governments. When such young individuals are confident enough about their understanding and knowledge of Islam to be challenging the laws in Europe, then they must be confident enough also to challenge the laws in Islamic countries where the religion they are defending is practiced by institutional law. Hate-speech and xenophobia propagated by Islamic leaders during their ceremonies needs to be addressed by individuals who are against xenophobia and hate-speeches and who can speak about that freely in Europe. I encourage them to offer their youthful synergy to personalities like Dr Hauwa Ibrahim who acts directly in Muslim countries, speaks directly to Sharia judges about her understanding of Islam.

Dear young Muslim leaders in Europe, as a woman who lived in Iran until the age of 14, and has been in Europe now for 26 years, I wish to tell you from my heart, that it is in Muslim countries that your understanding of Islam needs to be heard, much more than it is needed in a secular West, because the rest of your ‘brothers and sisters of Islam’ are living in very different conditions than you in Europe vis-a-vis religious practice. It is in Muslim societies that your fight against xenophobia and hate-speech are needed too, because the West is seen as a synonym of evil by a number Muslim clergy, and Western women without hijab as synonym of prostitutes very sadly. If you have received your education in the West, then help in alleviating the un-grounded fears of the West which exist in some Muslim countries.

I look forward to witnessing your next award nominations for your fight against xenophobia and hate-speech against Western women for not wearing the hijab, from an Islamic country.

The flowering of human relations between women with hijab and women without hijab, happens only when they both defend the dignity of one another.

Make humanity reach each other by breaking the identity taboo. Hatred brings hatred, love brings love. Show the power of your love dear young leaders!

@Lida Sherafatmand

Lida Sherafatmand

N.B. In case of query I am an eclectic person myself and do not feel the need to strictly belong to any particular religion. Therefore my view point is not reflecting any specific religion in this post, but the issue of xenophobia and discrimination equal for all people, as well as the freedom of religious choice.


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