Update: Rep. Johnson-Harrell was charged with perjury, theft and other charges on Dec. 4, 2019. We are aware of the charges being filed against her and that many things can hold true at the same time. Someone can be a victim of racism and Islamophobia and also be accused for theft just as someone can be a victim of sexual violence and perpetrate violence against others. As a movement, regardless of actions of a person, we still need to stand and call out racism when it happens because it is vital to dismantling oppression and ultimately ending sexual harassment, abuse and assault.
Movita Johnson-Harrell was sworn into office as the first Black Muslim woman elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on March 25. Unfortunately, a time for celebration of inclusion and achieving milestones, was impacted by Islamophobic behavior as a PA legislator offered a prayer filled with political and Christian imagery before swearing in Johnson-Harrell.
As we have seen, what happens among our lawmakers is reflective of what happens in our everyday lives and communities. In the anti-sexual violence movement we should and are working to focus our resources to ensure all people have comprehensive and culturally responsive prevention and intervention services. We know that ending all forms of sexual violence requires the eradication of all forms of oppression. (View our full racial justice statement to learn more about the values PCAR holds.) Calling out and dismantling Islamophobia in our community is part of the work needed to improve our communities.
Here are some articles which focus on how Islamophobia affects our advocacy work and the anti-sexual violence movement as well as the experience of being Black and Muslim in the United States. I hope this serves as a chance for us all to learn how to more effectively serve and support Muslim people who are affected by sexual violence.
- Unlearning Islamophobia in Anti-Violence Against Women Work
- HEART Women & Girls sexual health education and sexual violence prevention publications for the Muslim Community
- Islamophobia is wrong, and so is sexual violence: response to Tariq Ramadan’s sexual assault cases
- Islamophobia, Feminism and the Politics of Critique
- It’s Time to Support Survivors of Islamophobically-Motivated Sexual Assault
- The Complicated Experience of Being Black and Muslim in the US