There’s something I need to get out of my system.
Ever since I got married, I regularly get messages on social media from trolls who don’t agree with my partner choice. Even though their opinions don’t matter to me, there are certain people that cross the line. They do not only insult me, but sometimes also my husband and there are some that even bring up my parents during their rant.
Their ‘problem’ is the fact that I am a Moroccan-Muslim woman who is married to a white, native Belgian indigenous man. I also hear these kind of stories or sometimes worse from other women with Moroccan roots who are in a mixed marriage.
Surprisingly, Moroccan men don’t get that much criticism for doing the same thing. We sometimes see them get praised for it, as if their wife is some kind of achievement. It’s not those men’s fault. It’s because of the same sickening mechanism playing their roles in all of this. It’s the consequence of deep-rooted racism, sexism and patriotism that has gotten out of control. It’s our responsibility to fight this kind of injustice whenever we hear or see it and to stop this, starting within our own families and circle of friends. The worst kind of people are those that use Islam to legitimize their racism, while this goes against everything we believe in.
I also want to add to this that the current Islamophobic and racist environment is the reason it took me over three years and many messages to speak up about this subject. It’s hard to openly tackle internal problems when you know that your personal experiences might be misused by those whose agenda is filled with Islamophobia and racism.
Both the first and last group don’t realize that they are two peas in a pot. The reason I could stay silent about the first group is because they had no ability to limit my basic human rights or place in this society. They couldn’t really drag it any further than their insults. The responsibility and impact of the last group therefore remains a lot bigger.
Yet I wanted to share this because, after posting some screenshots on Snapchat, I realized that a lot of people are not aware of this problem and how bad and common it has gotten. And what you don’t know, you can’t fight. So let’s unite in this struggle and teach the next generation to do better.
This op-ed was written bij Sarah El Massaoudi Verryt. She’s a 26-year-old social worker and human rights activist who lives in Antwerp, Belgium.