There’s tone-deaf, and then there’s far-Left Boston City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson. Women are putting their lives on the line for the freedom not to wear hijab in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Fernandes Anderson has come up with a novel way to honor them. She has proposed that Boston observe the birthday of Mahsa Amini, who was killed by Iranian security forces for not wearing her hijab properly, as Hijab Day. Yes, really.
According to a Sunday report in The Jerusalem Post, Fernandes Anderson, who is a hijab-wearing Sunni Muslim herself, “put forward a resolution … late last week, suggesting that Mahsa Amini’s birthday, September 23, should be recognized as Boston’s official Hijab Day, according to the official City of Boston.” Not surprisingly, Anderson’s proposal “has sparked considerable outrage.”
But Fernandes Anderson explains that it’s all about — what else? — “her worries regarding the rise of Islamophobia that surrounds hijab-wearing women in the US.” On Thursday, she explained before Boston’s City Council that she was actually in favor of the protestors: “For the past few weeks, people of good conscience a month or so from around the world have joined in the protest, the thousands across Iran demanding justice for Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who died after three days in custody of Iran’s notorious morality police after being accused of not properly covering her hair.” Yet despite admitting this, Anderson decided that the best way to honor these “people of conscience” was to celebrate the very symbol of their oppression that they’re rebelling against.
“These protests in the heart of Iran,” Fernandes Anderson continued, “have featured brave women burning their scarves and cutting their hair in the face of arrest, abuse, and in some cases, even death to show their solidarity with Amini’s family and their will for freedoms and access to a joyful life absence of suppression from an oppressive state.” That’s where Anderson came to her central point. It’s all about fighting against suppression from an oppressive state, you see. Apparently, she would have us believe that women who wear hijab in the United States are just as persecuted and oppressed as women who don’t wear hijab in Iran, and so the best way to honor Mahsa Amini is to celebrate what she died trying to get away from.
Fernandes Anderson emphasized that what she had in common with Mahsa Amini was that both were exercising their free choice: “I, an African woman, wear my scarf and put it in a bun. It’s simple. Mahsa Amini said, ‘I’ll just wrap it around. It’s not a big deal, it’s just a scarf.’ You see, whether I wear it or I don’t, it’s my choice.”
Yeah, no. Mahsa Amini did not actually have a choice. Iran’s morality police arrested her, and tortured and killed her, precisely because she had no choice. To claim to honor her by celebrating what led to her death is monstrous. Many on Twitter didn’t hesitate to tell Fernandes Anderson just what they thought of her proposal. One wrote, “Dear Tania, Do you realise Amini was killed for wearing Hijab improperly? What next..Declare a day as ‘Gun day’ to honour the VICTIMS of Gun violence?” Good idea. And as my PJ Media colleague Matt Margolis suggested, we could have a “Dahmer Day” to honor the victims of serial killers. Another Twitter user wrote bluntly to Anderson, “You better apologize to all Iranian people! Tania Fernandes Anderson is a shame for humanity!” A petition began circulating calling upon her to resign.
While the anger at Tania Fernandes Anderson is understandable, her bizarre proposal is also completely understandable. The protests in the Islamic Republic are a direct rebuke to the Left’s continual claims that women who wear hijab are doing so because they choose to do so, and that in wearing it, they’re threatened by racist MAGA-hat-wearing redneck yahoos who are anxious to demonstrate their “Islamophobia” by tearing the hijab off their heads. Such people don’t exist outside of the Left’s paranoid fantasies, and the Iranian protests show that the real oppressed people are not women who wear hijab in Western countries, but women who dare not to wear hijab in Sharia states. So Tania Fernandes Anderson tried to restore the Left’s damaged credibility by appropriating the protests in Iran and conflating them with the fictional oppression of hijabis in the United States. Give her points for imagination and audacity, if not for genuine compassion for the women who are facing prison and death to be free of the oppression she has freely chosen.