Last week hijabi model Amena Khan resigned the latest UK L’Oreal campaign. The reason: her tweets from 2014 were criticized by media, in which she made strong statements about the violence against Palestinian children under the forces of Israel. Now, her dropping has created a huge controversy about whether her decision was correct or not.
To start, Khan is a public figure who has been standing out for Muslim women in Western nations fighting to be included, where xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism are increasing. Therefore, is comprehensive she is highly under scrutiny by groups who see her as a threat to their interests.
Just an opinion or a fact?
The model expressed her opinion by some tweets about the extreme abuse to children and that Israel’s government is a murderer. But here is the thing, she is not the first neither the only one who has express an irrefutable fact about this unbeatable truth! Just in 2014, UNESCO reported that 500 children were killed, 3,3374 were injured, 1500 remained orphaned and more than a thousand with severe trauma sequels, and this is just the children in that particular year.
So, was she saying something incorrect or manufactured? No. Did she mention something negative against a specific religious community or offended someone in particular? No. She was criticizing government actions, which their list of the abuses against the Palestinians are endless, recorded by many organizations and of the public knowledge, we can see it with this year’s case of Ahed Tamimi. And not to forget, she was exercising her freedom of speech, after all, there are statements of politicians in social media far more offensive and we do not see them offering their resignation or an apology.
On Amena’s social accounts, she expressed: “My choice of words in the 2014 tweets could have been worded better”, what could be worded better than well-known realities? As well, she offered an apology reaffirming “I’m not a political figure and will remain this way”. She might not be a politician but with a powerful campaign that could start bringing awareness about changes for western Muslim women in terms of social and political affairs is a big lost opportunity.
What we can learn…
She has received so much support from her followers and friends as modest fashion model Dina Tokio who questioned that Khan is very much entitled to have and express her opinions, and even others have called for a boycott against L’Oreal.
Instead of judging her decision just as bad or good, we have to highlight that she preferred not to harm anyone (despite the fact she did not) and she stayed true to her beliefs of “stand for peace and unity, and the empowerment of women”. It must have been a difficult and courageous decision for Amena, hopefully her fight is not in vain to more brands include Muslim models into their campaigns and leaving us with a reflection: having a funded opinion in the XXI century can have a very high cost however is not reason to keep fighting!
Official Instagram Account: @amenaofficial
This article is written by Ared Garcia