Muslim L’Oreal model steps down over anti-Israel tweets

Amena Khan apologizes for the ‘upset and hurt’ caused by her posts calling the Jewish state ‘illegal’ and ‘sinister’

Amena Khan (Screen capture: Twitter)
Amena Khan (Screen capture: Twitter)

A Muslim model who recently starred in ad campaign for L’Oreal announced on Monday she would step down, after the emergence of critical remarks she made about Israel during the 2014 Gaza war.

“I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologize for the upset and hurt they have caused,” Amena Khan said in a statement on her Twitter account.

“I recently took part in a campaign, which excited me because it celebrated inclusivity. With deep regret, I’ve decided to step down from this campaign because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver.”

Prior to her announcement, Khan had received adulation for being the first hijab wearing women to appear in a haircare ad.

Among the tweets that have since been deleted, Khan wrote: “Israel = Pharoah. Both are child murders. Insha’Allah, defeat also awaits the former; it’s only a matter of time.”

In other tweets, photos of which appeared in the Daily Mail, Khan called Israel a “sinister” and “illegal state.”

A spokesperson for L’Oreal told the BBC that it welcomes Khan’s apology “for the content of these tweets and the offense they have caused.”

“L’Oreal Paris is committed to tolerance and respect towards all people. We agree with her decision to step down from the campaign,” the spokesperson said.

Khan’s decision to step down comes days after a popular Muslim social media star rejected an award from Revlon, after Israeli actress Gal Gadot was declared the frontwoman for the cosmetics giant’s latest advertising campaign

In her rejection of the Changemaker Award, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh — known among her fans and followers as MuslimGirl — accused the “Wonder Woman” star of backing “the oppression of women and girls” in supporting the Israel Defense Forces.

The Muslim blogger was to be honored for challenging stereotypes of Muslim women and for her writing on politics and various other subjects.

Last week, the iconic makeup company said Gadot is to become the “Global Brand Ambassador” for its new “Live Boldly” campaign, which it says is designed to “inspire women to express themselves with passion, optimism, strength and style.”

“As much as this means to me and I would love to be there to celebrate with you, I cannot accept this award from Revlon with Gal Gadot as the ambassador,” wrote the American-born blogger, who is of Palestinian and Jordanian origin. “Her vocal support of the Israel Defense Forces’ actions in Palestine goes against’s morals and values.”

The blogger and author is a vocal supporter of the Palestinians and frequent critic of Israel. In December, after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, she posted an image of a man wearing a scarf with the colors of the Palestinian flag with Jerusalem in the background and added: “Jerusalem belongs to Palestine. End of argument.”

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