Yesterday was National Muslim Women’s day, and all over social media, people were championing the cause of greater rights and freedoms for Muslim women, while also spreading stories about oppression to shed light on the atrocities these women face. Last night, Alicia Keys followed suit, posting the above photo on Instagram and Twitter. The photo — taken by the artist, Ali Al Sharji — is of a woman clad from head-to-toe in a black traditional muslim dress, except her bare leg sticking out wearing a ballet slipper.
In the caption Keys wrote: “Our strength is in our differences. Our power is in our diversity. We are so beautiful. All of us. When we see each other. We see ourselves…”
It’s unclear whether Keys herself has converted fully to the Muslim faith — she hasn’t made any formal announcement declaring as such — but she has immersed herself in some of the religion’s teaching after marrying her husband, the producer Swizz Beatz, who identifies as Muslim. That fact didn’t stop a whole host of people going in on Keys for what they believe is either her ignorance or insensitivity to the very real world challenges that Muslim women face.
Others took it to mean that she somehow supported some of the more extreme social policies enacted by majority Muslim countries in the Middle East.
That didn’t mean that Keys didn’t have supporters clamoring to get her back, while championing her message.
So far Keys hasn’t followed up on the pic, but the artist himself seems to be thrilled that a major figure like Keys shared his work. He retweeted her post and has been sharing other celebratory posts: