As a baby of the 1970’s, DC Comic’s Wonder Woman character is quite familiar and when I discovered the featured print on artist Hannah Habibi’s website I had to save it. Wonder Woman is iconic. And in many ways niqabis are iconic too, so to see this image of a Muslimah with the bulletproof wristbands and crown . . . it had to be saved and shared.
Wonder Woman is a warrior princess with powers of invincibility and not only Muslim women could use some of that positive reinforcement when it comes to self-perception. During 2014 approximately 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations and 80% of the of the more than 42 million of people displaced are women, children and young people. The fact that there are large numbers of women from various countries and of different ethnic backgrounds struggling to protect themselves and their families from violence or injustice in undeniable, but the inherent strength of women is also evidenced by the numbers of survivors who are able to persevere, find safety and resume their lives.
This picture also reminds me to remain steadfast in faith while building on the good that exists in the world. Muslim women are often portrayed as victims of Islam and its necessary to counter such portrayals with powerful, positive images and examples so that more people will see the truth. In addition, its important for Muslim women to be unafraid of standing firm in their faith in the face of rising Islamophobia. We have to speak for ourselves and share our understanding of Islam with others if we’re to build bridges within our communities, especially during times such as these when Muslims are under the media’s microscope.
There are undoubtedly Muslim women who are indeed victimized by individuals or governments, or who have been radicalized by misguided interpretations of Islam, but such could be said about Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist women as well. One of the reasons why I think this print is so powerful is because all women need to embrace their strength, Muslim and non-Muslim, and the symbols in this picture illustrate that message with its imagery.
Mindworks has its own Hannah Habibi in the children’s book Hannah Habibi Learns About Modesty and I’d like to imagine that our Hannah will grow up to become a Muslimah who recognizes her own inherent strengths while adhering to the prescriptions of Islamic teachings and if not saving, changing the world for the better.