Amani Al Khatabeh, founder of Muslimgirl.com is a feminist dedicated to empowering Muslim women and girls in the United States. Her activism aims to encourage Muslim women to speak up and participate in social dialogue.
She was recently interviewed on a talk show where she discussed Muslim feminism.
In that talk show interview, she called Islam the first feminist movement.
Yes. Take that in. Islam was the first feminist movement.
To this, a few of my peers on Youtube replied with responses. My personal favorite responses are these two.
These two videos were in collaboration. They created an animation of Amani and went into detailed refutation of her claims using Islamic scripture. The videos are satirical and drew Prophet Muhammad interacting with Amani making her feminist claims of Islam. The first video, by ThePharoah plays the original interview and addresses her claims. The Pharoah goes on to debunk Amani’s claims of Islam being friendly to religious minorities and the first feminist movement with scripture and real texts. It then shows the animation of Muhammad (this is where SyeTenAtheist comes in) speaking about the Hadith and his stance on religious minorities and feminism based on the Hadith.
I’m telling you, you need to watch the entire thing. It’s a hilarious and brilliant collaboration. In my opinion, this is The Pharoah’s best video.
The second video was by SyeTenAtheist and it continues with the same animation of Amani. It shows Amani pursuing the same logic as she did in the first video and plays with her logic in a highly sarcastic manner. It acts as a cherry on top effect for the first video and continues that debunk.
Overall, I think the videos were hilarious. If someone makes ridiculous claims like “Islam was the first feminist movement” they need to be held intellectually accountable. However, I do think that their toying with Amani’s physical appearance may be problematic. It may distract from the main purpose of the videos. Critics may focus on the personal insults more than the ideas they were trying to present.
But still: “We’ll FUCKING KILL YOU!” If you don’t get the reference, GO WATCH THE VIDEOS IN FULL!
Amani responds to these videos in the beginning of the video below.
Amani cleverly intertwines her airport detainment with the videos responding to her. She says:
“Not very surprisingly, the video happened to get a very strong reaction online because of the very simple concept I was discussing which was Muslim feminism. As you’ll see, in this footage I got detained on my way to Hannah. The entire experience really begs the question: what is it about our voices, our existence, or even our presence in these spaces that creates such a negative reaction out of people?”
Amani lumped the Youtube debunks and her airport detainment together. She called the concept she was discussing “Muslim feminism” and not “Islamic.” Why is this important? The term Muslim implies people who adhere to Islam. The term Islamic would be based around the tenets of Islam. Using the term Muslim feminism frames her critics as those who aim to negate Muslims’ participation in feminism. The videos never negated the idea that Muslims can be feminists but that Islam was a feminist movement.
As expected, Amani attempts to turn it into a narrative-oriented argument by playing victim. “What is it about our voices, our existence, or even our presence in these spaces that creates such a negative reaction out of people?” With that sentence, for a viewer who hasn’t seen the prior Youtube reactions to her, they would automatically assume that the videos were bigoted and hateful. The Pharoah and Sye Ten Atheist are then framed as people who seek to deny Muslims’ rights to be feminists.
On the contrary they were satirically aiming at the idea that Islam was the first feminist religion. See the difference?
If Amani is thinking “haters gon hate. these hateful people don’t deserve my attention. I should just move on,” then she really is avoiding answering the questions and claims of her critics. Why won’t she discuss scriptures unless it fits her feminist agenda? Is she in denial about the sexism found in Islamic scriptures? Why does she aim to gain popularity through “hip charisma” and not by intelligently refuting her critics?
These are questions worth asking. How does a Muslim feminist respond to charges of misogyny in the Quran and Hadith? Do they just call them “fabricated and out of context?” Do they just name call their critics “Islamophobes” to change the course of the discussion with the “victimhood” narrative? Do they say “the scriptures are feminist, but were interpreted by misogynistic male sheikhs”?
I’m not saying that Muslims can’t be feminists. Nobody has the right to say that. My peers and I are just saying that Islam was not the first feminist movement. Islam was not a feminist movement at all. And if you call our research and facts biased, then you are undermining the legitimacy of the Quran, Hadith, and earliest biography of the Prophet in the discussion on Islam.
Respond to your critics intelligently. Don’t play victim. Challenge their ideas.
Here’s IntrovertedSmiles reaction to the video:
Here’s two of my own articles on Islamic misogyny
Try this link too:
What do you think? Feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to follow me at: