Fatima Hamed Hossein is the Ceuta deputy who planted a hijab (Islamic veil) in a feminist forum. A woman who on the day of the Other Policies event on November 13 had to attend a debate about her style when she tried to make her arguments shine first.
“The impression is that any subject of distraction is good for those who prefer to monopolize politics, for those same people who do not understand or will not understand politics as a tool to address social gaps and ensure that everyone has basic needs covered”, ditch Hamed, surprise from the team of protagonists of Other Policies in which the Vice President of the Government Yolanda Díaz participated; the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau; the spokesperson in the opposition for Más Madrid in the Community of Madrid, Mónica García; and the convener, the vice president of the Valencian Generalitat, Mónica Oltra. The forum promised to be the prelude to Díaz’s new project, a platform that transcends acronyms and sets out a new way of doing politics from the left and from feminism. But nothing has aroused so much controversy (and reopened so many wounds) as Hamed’s veil, an evidence of otherness: in Valencia, his nationality is irrefutable beyond surnames and clothing, an exercise of religious freedom; In Ceuta – where the identity debate is exacerbated – the hijab, omnipresent in the streets, is invisible, but its Spanishness is questioned. In June, Hamed tweeted: “What if we declare person not grateful to Santiago Abascal? ”. The deputy of Vox in Ceuta, Carlos Verdejo, answered: “What if we deport you to Morocco?”
Hamed was born in 1978 to originally Moroccan parents in the border city of Ceuta, whose recent history is marked by the movement for the civil rights of Spanish Muslims who, as in Melilla, did not acquire citizenship until 1987. He has been fighting for half his life since then. neighborhood that saw her grow up, Los Rosales, where the old jail that inspired her to become a lawyer used to operate. Localism is his other passion. “As a politician and a comrade, she is combative,” says Mohamed Ali, a former deputy who until this year shared the opposition bench in the municipal plenary session, and former leader of the left-wing Caballas coalition. He lived with Hamed his entry into politics in the ranks of the Democratic Union of Ceuta, of which he was secretary general and which constituted the seed of Caballas. In 2014, Hamed decided to break with the coalition to form the Movement for Dignity and Citizenship, with which a year later she became the first Muslim leader of a formation in the Ceuta Assembly. I wanted a space of my own, Ali points out.
As a lawyer (she combines plenary sessions with guards in the courts and law classes at UNED), she has taken the political debate to court. In January 2020, together with the Prosecutor’s Office, he denounced the local Vox board of directors for incitement to hatred after messages from party members were made public in which they called for war, first ideological and, if necessary, armed, against the “ Moors ”. In plenary sessions, she has become one of the favorite targets of Vox spokesperson Carlos Verdejo, who qualifies her as “pro-Moroccan”, “Islamist” or “jihadist.” Despite her indelible smile and her patience to stop to chat with the dozens of people who stop her on the street, she recognizes combative and uncomfortable, especially for those of Abascal, against whom she promoted the declaration of person not grateful in Ceuta in July. On the left, his image (or what he represents) is also not welcome in some sectors, who criticize complacency with a feminism lame in environments where women cannot decide on a garment imposed from childhood. “Before the western reactionaries invented the ‘feminazi’, we already had theologians like Tariq Ramadan labeling any criticism of the hijab as Islamophobic, thus supplanting and hiding the fight for equality,” wrote the Riff-born writer Najat in a column. Hachmi, born in Nador, a province bordering Melilla. Zoubida Boughaba (Al Hoceima), who shares a birth, profession and activism, was seconded in the networks and experienced harassment and demolition in networks after being invited by the Government of Melilla to give a talk. Once again, the veil was used as a throwing weapon. The Coalition for Melilla, the first force in an unstable tripartite, supported the accusations of “Islamophobia” by the Islamic Commission of Melilla, for some extracts in which it spoke of the hijab as a symbol of the oppression of Muslim women, whom it referred to as “submissive without decision-making capacity ”in a decontextualized comment. “Hijab means curtain and a curtain serves to cover, in this case, women from men”, Boughaba responds, “that this object has a presence in the political framework only legitimizes and normalizes its use; It is sad that in the act Other Politicians have not realized that they are reducing the strength of those of us who fight against this clothing that has hurt many women throughout history ”. Attire, Hamed believes, should not be the center of debate in any area: “Those who fill their mouths with the word freedom are precisely those who question the rest.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.