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“Muslim women reclaim safe space at Shaw Library” Saturday 2pm

by Prince Of Petworth March 25, 2016 at 1:25 pm 9 Comments


From Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum (MAWPF):

“Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum (MAWPF) invite you to join us at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library on Saturday, March 26th at 2pm for Women Wearing Headscarves, an event to reclaim safe public spaces for everyone, especially Muslim communities experiencing Islamophobia in the District.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23rd, CASS Executive Director Jessica Raven witnessed a horrifying act of discrimination and abuse of power by a DC Public Library officer. The officer harassed a woman who was quietly reading in the Shaw Library and intimidated the woman with handcuffs for refusing to remove her hijab. He told the woman to remove the hijab or leave the library.

Our collective organizations have released this public statement calling on the DC Public Library and other public institutions to address Islamophobia through a public information campaign and improved staff training. We are also calling on DC Council to convene a listening session that invites Muslim communities, which includes all various ethnicities and racial groups, to discuss their experiences with discrimination, bias, racism, and Islamophobia in the District.

We are disappointed that the DC Public Library has minimized this problem as “an isolated incident,” disregarding the context of growing Islamophobia nationwide. We urge the DC Public Library and other public institutions to adopt proactive solutions to prevent future incidents of harassment and discrimination.

RSVP to attend Women Wearing Headscarves: Muslim Women Reclaim Safe Spaces.

  • jneoh

    I’ll be there!! Here’s hoping DCPL develops that public info campaign and staff training.

  • neighbor

    I dunno. None of my muslim friends ever have much trouble around DC. It sounds like this was, in fact, an isolated incident.
    I totally support confronting islamophobia, but don’t make enemies out of allies here dudes.

    • Huma Imtiaz

      Thanks neighbor. Any other groups you want to speak on the behalf of?

      • Kingman Park

        Pretty sure neighbor was speaking on behalf of his/her friends and not all Muslims. Not everyone has read your handbook on what exactly to say when stating one’s opinion.

        • Huma

          Let’s ask neighbor to explain what they meant – because to me it comes across as dismissive of this woman’s experience and Muslims in general who go through this crap. Should one write off incidents of racism and bigotry because no one we know in similar situations (or of similar backgrounds) has faced it? I was raised Muslim too, and live in DC. Should I pooh paah this woman’s case because I haven’t faced “much trouble”?

          Also, curious to know who the allies being referred to are.

        • anon

          anyone who needs a handbook to know not to generalize from the supposed experiences of 1 person’s friends who are part of a particular group (i.e. not even from the people themselves), to everyone in that group, is the one with the problem. thanks but no thanks for explaining that to us thou…

    • mtp

      I dunno. I’m Muslim. I’ve experienced discrimination in DC. Many of my Muslim friends have, as well. Glad your set of experiences makes this seem like an isolated incident. The same isn’t true for me.

  • victoria

    Need a lot more info/verification to get up in arms here.

  • Amy

    Wishing this announcement would have been posted sooner! I am a college professor and many of my students are Muslim women. I would have loved to have passed this information onto them.


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