Why it disappointed me to watch Trump’s victory as a Muslim woman in America

Why it disappointed me to watch Trump’s victory as a Muslim woman in America

Breaking the melting pot — In the wake of Trump’s victory, we’re reaching out to artists, activists and countercultural figures - the people Huck was born to celebrate - for their original and thought-provoking takes on what it means for America, for them and for all of us. Eman Mohammed fought misogyny to become Gaza’s first female photojournalist. Now a US resident, she’s worried Trump’s language is destroying what makes America great: its diversity, equality and unity.

Eman Mohammed is no stranger to hearing men belittle women and tell them what they can’t do. But she’s never let that stop her. The Palestinian photojournalist had to navigate sexism, disapproval and bullying, as well as bombs and bullets, to report on two Israel-Gaza conflicts from the front lines.

Now a US citizen, Eman has watched the rise and rise of Trump with a growing sense of disappointment – about what his rhetoric means for Muslims, women and America in general.

Like millions who live in the US today, she finds herself among one of the many ‘Others’ Trump attacked during his campaign and are expected to feel the fire under a Trump presidency: The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other, for example.

With Trump on his way to the White House, how does she feel about her future in America, as a woman, as a Muslim and as an immigrant?

“I identify as a Muslim, but I’m a photojournalist before everything else,” Eman says.

“Sadly, as Muslims, we’ve had to get used to seeing Islamophobia around the world, the predictable reactions to terrorist attacks and just trying to hold our heads up high. Strangely, when he began to make attacks against women and other minorities, it all became more worrying for us.

“It has been hard enough to fit in while living in the United States. But despite our sometimes vast differences, I’ve felt more common ground and seen the strongest connections develop with women. I don’t feel we are the ones who are creating these divisions.

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“Trump’s campaign, his mentality, his agenda is about division, whether that’s with Muslims, women, Hispanics, African-Americans or anybody else.

“I feel that him being in power with such an ignorant agenda could break the nation in half, or become even more splintered – and sink the boat for all of us.

“We’re all in the same boat: Muslims, non-Muslims, American Muslims, American women, American Muslim Women. Immigrants have come from all over the world, had children with each other and become Americans.

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“America is a nation of refugees. History confirms that, whatever Trump might make up. He’s reality TV star, but he’s not living in reality at all.
“His supporters can’t see the fact that it is one nation, no matter what he wants to do. His vision of creating this kind of division is ridiculous. I thought it would be defeated, not rewarded with the presidency.

“That nation has spoken together to reject racism, the denial of privileges to certain groups and the restriction of women’s’ rights.

“If he continues with his agenda, he’s going to create catastrophic divisions between the many communities that make up a country which prides itself on its unity. Those differences, the melting pot, has been embraced throughout America’s history, but now Trump would like to profit politically from isolating minorities.

“I’m shocked by the restrictions he would like to be placed on women, when it comes to abortion, how they behave, what they do with their bodies. He’s walking into territory that I thought American women had marked as a forbidden area for any politician, because they should have the freedom to make their own decisions.


“Trump’s defence when he’s held up for offending women is to say something even worse to get himself out of a corner: she’s an ugly woman, she’s nasty, she’s big, grab them…

“As an outsider, I’ve seen dangerous warnings from Trump’s campaign that nobody has taken seriously enough.

“Despite everything he’s said, I’m amazed there are still women who support him. That feeling of unity, of connection with other women, has started to become more shaky. Because you start to see the many layers and that some women are going along with putting obstacles in the way of others. Those tactics are starting to poison the waters.”

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