Target: The activist organization Anonymous
Goal: Abandon plans to wear religious garb to conceal identities
Protesters affiliated with the activist group Anonymous are planning to wear traditional Islamic veils during forthcoming protests against the G20 in Brisbane, Australia. This plan is disrespectful to Muslim communities and puts Muslim women who choose to wear the veil in danger. Demand that Anonymous abandon plans to appropriate religious clothing for their protests.
The G20 economic summit that will take place in Brisbane, Australia on November 15-16, 2014 has attracted the attention of Anonymous activists, who plan on protesting in the city over the course of the event. Brisbane has enacted a policy that bans face coverings over the course of the summit, which has presented a problem for the protestors, who usually don the now-ubiquitous Guy Fawkes mask. To get around this mask ban, the protestors plan to wear traditional Muslim veils such as the burqa and the niqab, religious garb that is explicitly exempt from the ban. Local Muslim leaders are concerned about the negative impact this could have on their communities, including contributing to Islamophobia and putting Muslim women who do wear veils in danger.
Radical communities have a responsibility to be more just than the power structures they oppose, and to actively dismantle oppression, not perpetuate it. Sign the petition below to urge protesters to make the right decision and find another way to conceal their identities that doesn’t disrespect Muslim communities and put Muslim women in danger.
I am writing you today because of the plans you recently published on your Facebook page to “burqa up” for the G20 summit protests in Brisbane. While I respect your desire to keep your identities hidden, this is not an appropriate way of doing that.
Leaders of the Muslim community in Brisbane have expressed concern that your plans will contribute to the climate of Islamophobia that is currently taking Australia by storm. Additionally, they are worried that if you do follow through with your plans, you will put Muslim women who choose to wear the veil for religious reasons in danger. The Brisbane police have stated that they will not hesitate to ask people wearing the veil to reveal their identities if circumstances demand it, so their concerns seem to be justified. Not to mention that the blatant appropriation of explicitly religious clothing belonging to a religious minority is extremely problematic in its own right.
As an activist community at odds with many of the problems represented by the G20, you have a responsibility to support communities that are oppressed, not contribute to that oppression yourselves. Please abandon your plans to wear burqas and niqabs, and find another way to conceal your identities.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Yann via Wikimedia Commons