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?
It has been exactly one Gregorian-calendar-month since I left Granada, Spain, where I attended the Critical Muslim Studies two-week summer school. I had intended to write up some notes or musings as soon as I got back because there was so much to reflect on from what I enjoyed, to what frustrated me, and unresolved questions. But upon returning to the UK a certain heaviness … Continue reading What if Neo had taken both pills? | A Reflection on a Summer School and Feelings of Madness
The 8 pm train from London Kings Cross to Leeds is pretty quiet. I see a few exhausted people like myself, who I presume – from the bedraggled placards they still clutch – have also spent the day protesting Donald Trump’s visit to the UK. I sit down heavily and sink lower into my seat when I notice two men with ‘Make America Great Again’ … Continue reading Everyone “Loves” a Muslim on a March, but Who Loves Us on the Train Home?
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
This month is Islamophobia Awareness Month. I didn’t actually know that was a thing until last year, and then I forgot again, until this year. I suppose like all groups who face structural violence and hatred, Muslims have now been granted a month in which public bodies and liberals should affirm their sense that they care for marginalised people. I am certain that many confronted … Continue reading Islamophobia is not a “phobia”, it’s a way of governing
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?
I’ve been putting off writing this post. I was hoping I wouldn’t need to, hoping I wouldn’t bother. Hoping that I’d see outrage fill people’s timelines and all the usual feminist social media spaces so I wouldn’t feel forced to write something, anything, explaining my outrage. But here I am. Here I am writing about feminism and Muslim women again and namely responding to the … Continue reading Being Forced To Undress Is Not Exactly The Liberation I Have Longed For
Content notes: Islamaphobia, colonialism, imperialism, misogyny, orientalism, racism. Yesterday David Cameron announced that a £20 million fund to teach Muslim women in the UK to ‘speak English’ will tackle segregation and help prevent ‘radicalisation’ – though he also said there was no causal connection between radicalisation and English language… Now, my initial reaction, beyond an eye-roll, was to wonder how and why this policy was … Continue reading Is it time for the British government to stop Saving Muslim Women yet?
Seeing all the new faces around Cambridge this past week has made me rather sentimental. Memories of fresher’s week and the whole fear-ridden first term come flooding back. I search amongst those new faces especially for brown and black faces. I search for them because I wish somebody had searched for me. Everytime I see a woman in a hijab I feel overwhelmed with excitement, … Continue reading Cambridge: the benevolent aggressor