In the days after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump mocked the mother of a fallen Muslim U.S. solider for not speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Muslim women have rallied around the hashtag #CanYouHearUsNow on social media.
But first, a quick recap of how the feud started.
Khizr Khan, joined by his wife Ghazala, gave a moving tribute July 28 to his son, Humayun Khan, a war hero who was killed in Iraq in 2004. In a speech that electrified the crowd, Khan directly addressed Donald Trump, calling into question numerous controversial comments made by the GOP candidate.
“Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?” Khan asked, pulling a copy of the document from his coat pocket and offering to lend it to the candidate.
Ghazala did not take a turn to speak at the convention. And days later, in an ABC News interview, Trump said “probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” The remark sparked a social media firestorm , with Muslim women, in particular, letting Trump know they have plenty to say.
— rabia chaudry (@rabiasquared) August 1, 2016
I am a Muslim woman who speaks truth to power in the US & is met with hate, vitriol and death threats. I still stand. #CanYouHearUsNow
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) August 1, 2016
— Alaa Murabit (@almmura) August 1, 2016
“I’m sick and tired of people speaking for me and people saying I don’t have a voice,” Sehrish Khan-Williamson, a masters student at the University of Arizona says. “I’ve had a voice all along, but people — like Trump — have refused to listen to it. This is why I decided to take part in the hashtag going viral.”
Khan-Williamson says she finds it ironic that Trump attacked Ghazala for standing silently while her husband spoke considering it’s ” a trend for presidential candidates to have their wives stand silently by their sides during speech after speech.”
And Yasmin Saikia, a professor of history at Arizona State University, says Ghazala’s silence on the stage actually spoke volumes.
“Silence is a voice, a powerful voice,” Saikia says. “The underdog, the disenfranchised, the disempowered woman speaks with silence — very, very clearly. It is the voice of the suffering that hasn’t been heard because people only hear the noise. They don’t hear the heart. In her silence, she said much more than Trump could ever say.”
Hannah Alkadi, a Louisiana State University senior, says Trump’s response about Ghazala’s silence inspired her to participate in the hashtag campaign.
— Lady Hannah Alkadi (@hannahalkadi) August 1, 2016
“I had a lot of fear about posting it because I knew that Muslim’s get so much hate on Twitter,” Alkadi said. “The point that the hashtag was trying to make was that we’ve been talking, we’ve been expressing our opinion, the problem is that people aren’t listening.”