I am sitting on a train on my way home from a panel talk on Feminism & Islamophobia, on how the two collude to undermine Muslim women, and how Muslim women are erased and reduced to “the veil”. I am exhausted and bewildered. The panel consisted of five (four panellists and one chair) hijab-wearing women of colour. In a University setting this is a rarity. … Continue reading Reflections on a panel talk: the violence of white fragility and the erasure of its victims
Today I was interviewed for a Radio 4 documentary that will most probably come out in a way that doesn’t reflect my full feelings. It is being made by Sayeeda Warsi whose politics and complicity in structural violence as a Conservative party member, former Cabinet minister and House of Lords peer, I ardently oppose. She asked me questions about myself and my views and I … Continue reading What does it mean to be a Muslim woman?
This post is a response to a question I got asked during my Instagram takeover of amaliah.com’s story (@thebrownhijabi). I mentioned my fascination with “the way liberal feminism colludes with islamophobia” and was then asked to elaborate – which I did, but which I want to do more now. How do liberal feminism and Islamophobia work together? First off, we need to define what I … Continue reading When Feminism & Islamophobia are Two Sides of the Same Coin
Since 2013, February 1st has been marked as an annual “World Hijab Day”. The intention behind this labelling was that women (Muslim and non-Muslim) globally would be invited to experience wearing a head-covering for one day in hopes of fostering “religious tolerance and understanding”. I get where this comes from, I do – but I do not support the endeavor. In suggesting that one must actually … Continue reading This World Hijab Day put your money where your mouth is
I fully fully back the importance of representation. I get it. I get that it matters who we see because that impacts what we can imagine. It hurts to be unimaginable. It hurts to never be an image equated with beauty. It matters that more and different body types and shapes and colours with different features and hair textures and skin tones get visibility and … Continue reading Becoming Market Niche isn’t the same as Becoming Free
A few days ago I woke up to the sensational headline that 13 potential terrorist attacks have been prevented in the UK since June 2013. Minutes later I heard news that the government just launched a new counter-terrorism campaign: Action Counters Terrorism (ACT), and every day since I’ve been putting up with interruptions on Spotify urging me to report suspicious and potential terrorist activity when just … Continue reading ‘Trust Your Instinct’ means ‘Don’t Trust Muslims’
EDIT: disclaimer that this is from my perspective in Britain and primarily about rhetoric here and in other Western European/North American contexts. The hijab, burqa, burkini, FGM, ‘honour killings’ and ‘forced marriages’ are familiar tropes when it comes to thinking about migration and Islam in ‘the West’. Their prevalence represents the slippage between ‘women’s rights’ and questions of national borders and religion, reflecting the way … Continue reading Why are we obsessed with Muslim women?
This time last year I wrote a summary post titled, ‘An A-Z on being Muslim in Britain in 2015’. Looking back, as 2016 ends, I have no idea how. No idea how I could list it like that; explain it like that. Since then it feels like everything has changed and nothing has. Brexit happened, Trump is happening, refugees are innumerable, existence is criminalised, but … Continue reading Muslims Like Me
CW: discussion of racism, islamophobia, presidential election, fear. This is not a clever political analysis and this is not an attempt at explanation. This post is purely feelings. It is feelings because feelings are deemed irrelevant in political discourse and devalued as feminine traits more widely. I’d like to think its transgressive to write only from the perspective of feelings then. But more than that, … Continue reading On Fear
This week marks the beginning of my year of studying (Postcolonial Studies) at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London. Though practically unheard of by many, SOAS has a reputation for being a very political space and an institution with appreciation for critical and sometimes radical analysis and thought. To my mind, entering this space would be jumping from one extreme experience of … Continue reading SOAS vs Cambridge