In response to news footage of CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward's coverage of the events unfolding in Afghanistan, in which she wore a hijab and abaya, Black News Tonight host Marc Lamont Hill stated his belief that the hijab is a "political tool" used to "demonize Islam."
"Correspondent Clarissa Ward has been on the ground reporting from the frontlines in Afghanistan. As some have applauded her bravery," Hill said, "there's also been talk about her attire. One day after the Taliban's takeover, Ward wore a hijab and full body covering, an abaya, to report from Kabul. But previously, Ward has not worn a hijab while reporting in Afghanistan."
"People on Twitter are disputing the wardrobe change. They're wondering if it's because of Taliban control or for dramatization?" Hill continued. "Well, to be clear, Clarissa Ward later tweeted that some of the memes were unfair, that she had no hijab on the day before because she was inside of a compound. But she was out on the streets in front of the Taliban and therefore had to wear this, and that she's always done that."
Ward clarified one of those memes on Twitter, saying that "This meme is inaccurate. The top photo is inside a private compound. The bottom is on the streets of Taliban held Kabul. I always wore a head scarf on the street in Kabul previously, though not w/ hair fully covered and abbaya. So there is a difference but not quite this stark."
Ward has been reporting on the Taliban taking over Kabul. The Taliban has said that it would not enforce burqa and niqab wearing, which are coverings that mask the face, but would have women wear hijabs instead. Last week, a woman was fatally shot for refusing to wear a burqa.
Highlighting the dangerous situation she and her team are reporting from, Ward told CNN about a "frightening" situation they experienced.
Her producer was taking video with his phone when "two Taliban fighters just came up with their pistols and they were ready to pistol whip him." Ward said that they had to intervene in the situation, with one other Taliban fighter telling the two "don't do that. They're journalists."
Hill goes on to talk about the hijab, and how it's used as a "political tool" to "demonize Islam" and to "justify American imperialism."
"But this isn't about Clarissa Ward," he said. "This is about the way in which the hijab is being used as a political tool, first to demonize Islam, to make Islam look more oppressive and repressive than any other religion or culture in the world," said Hill. "It's also being used as a tool to justify American imperialism."
"There has been a consistent narrative from the west, particularly the United States since 9/11, to suggest that the reason we're invading countries the reason we're plundering, the reason we're bombing, the reason we're exploiting is to save the women," said Hill. "'Look at what they have to wear on their heads. They have no agency, they have no freedom. And we're going to fix that right now.'"
Hill continued by saying it's "dishonest and disingenuous."
"Because there are women in Saudi Arabia who are being exploited. There are women in Saudi Arabia who have been denied human rights and we say nothing," said Hill. "Why? Because we want oil and weapons. But somehow when it comes to Afghanistan, we suddenly get outraged. We suddenly have morals and ethics."
"America doesn't have feelings. It has interests. And right now it has an interest in making you believe that their imperial theft and plunder is part of an attempt of white men to save brown women from brown men."
Hill concluded by saying, "it's all a complete lie," warning watchers not to "buy into the theatrics of hijab and burqas. No, this is about good old fashioned colonialism."