The Hadids and Islam

Jana Ismail

Senior Staff Writer

Bella Hadid proclaimed loud and clear that she’s proud to be Muslim in Porter Magazine’s Summer 2017 issue. Her statement was met with a lot of conflicting sentiments.

Some praised her for her outspoken support of Muslims, while others doubted the sincerity of her claim.

Hadid talked about how Trump’s travel ban targeting 6 Muslim-majority countries hit close to home because her father moved to the United States at the age of 14 as a refugee. She also revealed how her religious father used to pray with them.

This was the first time Hadid publicly discussed her Muslim roots, which is why it caused some controversy within the Arab and Muslim communities. How can she be so proud of being a Muslim if she’s never even discussed her religious beliefs before?

This is similar to the controversies that plagued her older sister, Gigi. The older Hadid was criticized for “appropriating” the henna, a traditional Arab non-permanent tattoo. She hit back by highlighting her Palestinian roots.

Recently, Gigi found herself in the middle of another storm after she was featured on the cover of the first issue of Vogue Arabia. Gigi was shown with a hijab on, which ruffled the feathers of some Muslim women.

They argued that hijabis are constantly the target of ridicule by the West, and here is Gigi Hadid skimming over the whole issue by wearing a hijab. Hadid again defended herself by mentioning her Palestinian-Muslim heritage.

The context of the Hadid sisters’ discussion of their religious roots is the main reason behind controversial backlash. Gigi Hadid only brings it up as a means to defend herself against critics and the only time Bella talked about the issue is when commenting on the travel ban. Are they only Muslims when it’s convenient for them? That’s the real question.

Considering they’re so proud of their roots, why do they seldom ever speak up against all the horrible acts committed against Palestinians? Why do they never speak up against the injustices Muslim-Americans are facing now more than ever in the United States? Those are questions that come to mind when looking at the selective and limited association of Bella and Gigi Hadid with Islam.

But, can we really attack how and when they choose to reveal their religious association? It might not be the way some people believe is right, but, it doesn’t matter.

Everyone chooses to deal with religion the way that they see is best for them. Is it an obligation for them as public figures to divulge all personal details in their lives? Are their personal beliefs now subject to the control of the public?

Because really, what does it really mean to be a proud Muslim? Does it mean being religious? Does it mean constantly bragging about one’s religion? Or does it mean to not be ashamed of one’s religion?

Bella and Gigi Hadid are the product of an inter-religious family. Their mom is Christian Dutch and their dad is Palestinian-American Muslim. They don’t have to be practicing Muslims to be proud of one half of their roots. They can be proud of both of the religions they grew up with. They don’t have to fill social media with posts regarding their faith for them to be considered proud.

With the rise of interactive social media, fans have become increasingly attached to celebrities and have felt increasingly entitled to controlling their lives. But, with something as personal as religion, the public can’t decide what’s right and what’s wrong.

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