Islamophobes know how to use the anonymity of social media to spread misinformation about Muslims and their faith. And Muslim women who try to speak up and create spaces for themselves online often find that they become targets of this cyber harassment.
Farha, a 19-year-old Canadian college student, told The Huffington Post that she’s used to receiving these kinds of ridiculous (and utterly ignorant) messages about her faith. The student, who asked to withhold her last name for her safety, said she usually ignores these messages. But a few months back, when some anonymous trolls tried playing games with her, she decided to get creative ― and serve them a smooth, chilled glass of their own haterade.
Farha said she received an anonymous question on her Tumblr account, the bootydiaries, about six months ago. The user asked, “why can’t muslims tell other muslims to stop killing people? [SIC]” Farha said she kept thinking about the message and “chuckling at how illogical it was.”
So this time, she decided to give the troll a long, satirical answer, mocking the idea that the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are a well-organized monolith.
When she received a response that seemed to be defending the first questioner, Farha kept dishing it out.
Farha told The Huffington Post that she’s often been on the receiving end of hateful Islamophobic and racist messages.
She said decided to share these conversations on Twitter last week because of President Donald Trump’s actions against Muslims, and after hearing about the attack on a mosque in Quebec. Farha said she feels like it’s “getting more and more socially acceptable to hate Muslims.”
The Twitter post has gone viral, with more than 19,000 retweets.
“There are like 1.6 billion of us yet we’re held responsible for something caused by few, asked why we don’t condemn them when we do, asked why we don’t ‘stop ISIS’ when we’re the ones they target,” she wrote in an email.
Farha said that being a Muslim online right now means “being careful with your words and having thick skin.” She’s found a way to deal with those pressures by using humor to address hate.
“I use sarcasm because I’m tired of constantly having to smile as I answer ignorant hateful comments from fear that they’ll label me as an evil and mean Muslim. Wearing a hijab suddenly means representing every Muslim on Earth, and if you answer hate with hate then you get a nice meal of ‘wowwww’ with a side of ‘all muslims are hateful!!!’,” she said. “But I’m on a diet.”
“Sarcasm is a fun route, but more importantly, it’s a safe route. I want to make people laugh but also make a point.”