It was 2:30 am and almost was clear that Trump became the new president of United State of America , when Rana Abdelhamid received a text message on her phone from a lady asking when she will organize the next self defence class. In a chat group with her muslim girlfriends there was other conversation about their concerns. If they should leave the house tomorrow or not ? If they should wear the hijab tomorrow or not ?
It was exhausted day for Rana. She spent the morning in New Hampshire working in Hilary ’s campaign and came back at night to Boston where she was studying in Harvard university. She stopped in a friend’s house to join them watching the resulted of the elections. It was a watching party with other 5 friends setting in the couch , chatting , taking naps and watching again but it’s ended up with crying and shocking.
Rana left the space very sad and when she woke up in the next day she released how her life will chance and this is a new phase.. For the next couple months she was very busy to replay the many invitation that she received to teach a self defence classes beside the others she organised by her non-profit organisation Malikah. When the Muslim travel ban announced she was more busy to participate in protests and activities to support her community which was completely targeted.
“You have to look to the Muslims not just as a muslims. We are American citizens. So any policy that Trump imposes that would have impact in our immigration states , economic states , or heath care access. Women in this country who are muslims are experience the same type of negative reaction to all the traumatic stuff that Trump spewing.” Rana said
On December 2017 , Rana have been chosen as one of the top 10 finalist for the lóreal women of worth award. It’s a national award given to women who are doing great non- profit work with in US. Unfortunately when the award put a video about her work on their website, most of the comments was very hateful. “This girl is a terrorist and she needs to leave America. Why you are doing women rights stuff when Islam oppresses women. You should not be a muslim”, as comments mentions.
“My friends advised me to ignore it because it’s just online but It was hard for me to do that. I was very upset.” I was physically too sick and was not able to get out of the bed for two days.” Rana said.
When some one calls me a terrorist , it’s not just online. It’s reflecting the policy implemented. Every time I stopped at the airport for extra security screening because that person who stopping me thinks I could be potential a terrorist. Systems in the world view the people who looks like me as terrorist and this has implications for the way we are treated.
“ When 9/11 happened I was 8 years old in the third grade. I saw the twin towers was no longer standing from my elementary school’s window. I was a kid and I didn’t realised how much of the impact that day would have in the rest of my life. “ Rana said
“As a New Yorker my city was just attacked from a place of hate and violence. My community also faced the criminalising police of it’s your community’s fault. we couldn’t grieve like regular New Yorkers because very quickly we had to be in a defensive and very quickly you saw people being detained, deported and surveilled. That for me disrupted my childhood.
When she decided to organize the first self defence class it was a year and half after she have been attacked in the street. She went to different mosques and community centers in her neighbourhood in Queens to ask if she can use their space but they refused. Finally the muslim american society in Brooklyn accepted to give her the space. The day before the course some girls told her they can’t make it anymore and she was fracking out because she worked hard for this event. Her father drove her to the centre and told her, she can make it . She remember that hot evening in the crowded street in NY when this guy grabbed her headscarf. He was quick and and his eyes were full of hatred. She don’t want that happen again to any other woman.