Hate crimes against Muslims are currently at their highest level since 9/11 in the US.
This is why one Muslim woman is teaching self-defence classes on social media to women who wear hijabs.
Zaineb ‘Zee’ Abdulla, 24, is the vice president of Deaf Planet Soul (DPS) – a not-for-profit organisation based in Chicago which seeks to empower the deaf and hard of hearing.
Part of her role there is to teach self-defence to women who have hearing and/or physical disabilities but is open to all women.
And now she’s teaching those skills to headscarf-wearing Muslim women to protect themselves after being approached by a number of them after the election result.
‘Immediately following the election, I began getting calls from women who knew that I did this sort of thing and wanted to know if I had any defenses against attacks against Muslim women – what we later dubbed “hijab grabs”,’ Zee tells Metro.co.uk.
Zee herself was first attacked when she was spat at, aged eight.
‘I’ve experienced hate crimes in the past,’ she says.
‘And like many Muslim women, I’ve been at the receiving end of a lot of anger.
‘I have been yelled at, spat at and insulted many, many times.’
That experience and the rise in hate crimes in post election America prompted her to start looking around for self-defense classes.
‘I searched around online and found nothing so I began texting my fighter friends, who I knew from years of martial arts training,’ she says.
Eventually, she managed to recruit trainer Misho Ceko from Chicago Mixed Martial Arts and, the Saturday following the election, they met up at his gym and started recording the videos.
The next day, the DPS hosted their first Hate Crime Survival seminar.
‘Since posting the videos, we’ve gotten millions of views and thousands of comments and messages,’ Zee says.
‘We’re trying to keep the focus on the organisation and the services we provide.
‘We’ve had over 75 class requests from places as far away as Nigeria, Morocco and the UK.’
Zee and Misho are now working to schedule more seminars.
‘One of my organisation’s goals amidst this post election craziness is working to ensure that all women feel safe and confident – no matter what their race, sexual orientation or religious identity,’ she says.
‘While the specific classes may not work for all women in all situations, they’re a start and a short-term solution as we work on long-term change.’