Why is #‎CanYouHearUsNow‬ such an important movement for Muslim women?

Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN Sustainable Development Goals Global Advocate and UN high level commissioner, speaks to young Muslim women in Toronto.
Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN Sustainable Development Goals Global Advocate and UN high level commissioner, speaks to young Muslim women in Toronto. Alaa Murabit

Muslim women across the country have taken to social media to ask the world #‎CanYouHearUsNow?

The social media campaign was launched by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to not only pinpoint strong Muslim women around the globe, but to also tell the world that they are not oppressed.

“Everyone attempts to exploit Muslim women. We’re tired of everyone’s opinions, saying we are oppressed when convenient, violent when convenient,” said Dr. Alaa Murabit, one of only 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals Global Advocate appointed by the UN Secretary General and a UN high level commissioner.

READ MORE: Trump’s comments about Muslim soldier’s mother prompts #CanYouHearUs campaign

The campaign launched as a response to Donald Trump‘s comments that Ghazala Khan, mother of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was forced to stand in silence on stage next to her husband, Khizr Khan, at the Democratic National Convention last week in Philadelphia.

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Murabit, who was raised in Saskatoon, Sask. and Zawiya, Libya, said Trump’s comments were a wake-up call for her.

The 26-year-old said she needs people to know Muslim women are taking leadership roles in their communities, whether it be on a small or large scale.

“If you look at the facts, Muslim women are global dynamites, Nobel Prize winners, award-winning journalists, academics, professors, entrepreneurs,” Murabit told Global News.

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“They’re really dominating a lot of the political conversations that are happening. We are at the forefront of all these movements.”

This is the first time Murabit, who admits she isn’t the most technologically savvy person, has taken part in a social media campaign.

When CAIR asked her to be a part of the conversation, she said she couldn’t refuse.

“We are so often asked to be part of other people’s conversations and we are so often hoping to just be invited to the table. People only give us a platform when we’re defending something,” she explained.

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“This time, we created our own space.”

Murabit, who works in global security – a field she admits is particularly void of Muslim women – insists there needs to be a shift of conversation so the word “Muslim” isn’t only spoken in association to the word “terrorism.”

Murabit said she’s blessed to also be a citizen of Canada, a country that believes in human rights.

“We have, as a country, created a space where discourse is respectful,” she said.

READ MORE: Muslim Women’s Institute delivers hampers to newcomers

She insists the negative messages encourage her to work harder.

READ MORE: Sold out Muslim women’s dinner raises money for Syrian refugees

One of her main motivations? To create a better world for her two younger sisters, aged 12 and 14.

“We’re saying: ‘here we are. We’re doing phenomenal things and more young women will continue to do this,'” she told Global News.

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“I can see the frustration and the anger that a lot of people have and I honestly think approaches where we can leverage very negative conversations and turn them into positive messages of learning is wonderful.”

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