Muslim Vlogger Counters Harassment with Smile

IRVING, Texas – An American Muslim vlogger who shares thoughts on fashion, recipes, books and religions on her YouTube channel has fallen victim to Islamophobic rhetoric, as Muslim women face increasing hate crimes in the US.

“I don’t get emotional for myself. It’s when I think about other people that wouldn’t be able to get through comments with people telling them to kill themselves,” Nye Armstrong told WFAA on Thursday, June 1.

Armstrong regularly posts to her video blog and often discusses her Muslim religion.

She says her Youtube channel is about self-expression and bridging the divide between people of different backgrounds.

“I’m normal some, just talking is normalizing what and who I am,” Armstrong said.

Last week, one of her posts made it to an “alt-right” site and she was inundated with hateful messages.

“Go throw yourself in an oven,” Armstrong quoted, “That hurt the most.”

Being a white Caucasian woman, dozens of comments focused on the claimed “betrayal” of her race by converting to Islam.

“I think it was even more upsetting for them that I’m a white woman,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong is not the only Muslim woman who has been complaining from rising hate in the US after the election of President Trump.

Zeena Alkurdi is a graphic designer and mother of two in the Dallas area. She wears a hijab and says verbal harassment and stares have become a part of daily life.

“There are all kinds of people in downtown Dallas and you hear a lot of stuff. There has been more since we elected Donald Trump,” Alkurdi said.

Both Alkurdi and Armstrong say the harassment will not force them to stop wearing the religious head coverings, although Alkurdi’s family had encouraged her to consider it after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“I was young and they said, ‘Just think about stopping for a while.’ I thought, ‘I don’t want to change because of other people,'” Zakurdi said.

For both women, wearing hijab is a decision they call empowering, a right to express their identity and their religion they way they see fit.

“I consider myself a feminist and for me, this is about choice,” Zakurdi said.