A military policy paper issued by US Air Force Research Laboratory that puts forth the idea that Muslim women who wear the headscarf (hijab) contribute to “passive terrorism” has stirred outrage on social media.
The report titled “Counter Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods and Strategies” claimed that hijabi women could be seen as a threat to free societies as it defined the headcovering of Muslim women as “propagation of Salafi jihadist ideology.”
Muslims and non-muslims immediately reacted to the report labelling the hijab as a “catalyst for Islamism” on social media saying that it was “prejudiced” and “islamophobic”.
Director of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) National Security Project Hina Shamsi wrote on Twitter that the publication of the US Air Force was “junk”.
Another Twitter user described the US report as “horrifying guff” while another user on Twitter reacted to the report saying that it was the “Islamophobia of the day”.
A hijabi Twitter user joked over the report’s claim as she posted a photo of her headscarves with the comment of “Here’s a stack of my IED (Improvised explosive device) devices.”
— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) February 23, 2016
The essay targeting Muslim women wearing hijab was written by Tawfik Hamid, an author known for his stance against traditional Islam.
In 2006, in a radio interview on the “Orla Barry Radio Show” he expressed his belief that “the vast majority of Muslims were against any peaceful understanding” and that they were passive terrorists.
Reiterating his previous statements in the essay for Air Force Lab which was first published in 2011 and had its revised version republished in early January by the research website Public Intelligence, Tawfik wrote he “observed” that “over the last few decades, terrorism was preceded by an increase in the prevalence of the hijab.”
A journalist working for the Intercept, an online publication, said the report was sub-pseudoscientific, describing the statements made as scientific in order to further prove its claim.
— Andrew Fishman (@AndrewDFish) February 24, 2016