I’m really excited to contribute to Cut From The Same Cloth, an edited collection that centres the voices of British Muslim women and speaks of our hopes, fears, angers and joys.
Recently, Channel 4 made the (unsurprising) decision to run a programme called My Week As a Muslim, where they took an ‘ordinary’ white woman (cos lord knows Muslim women can’t be ordinary), put her in brown make-up, yellow teeth, a nose prosthetic, a headscarf, and poof! Her transformation into a Muslim woman was apparently complete. Why speak to actual Muslim women about their experiences when you can play dress up for a week and get the same answers, right?
Beyond the oh so obvious insult, it also reflects a wider issue: Muslim women aren’t heard from unless we’re convincing non-Muslims that our lives are non-threatening to their own. Muslim women are shoved into a single category as the hypervisible hijabi/niqabi, but any discussions about our experiences beyond this are either ignored or vehemently denied. We are constantly measured in relation to how ‘normal’ we can appear to those that refuse to see the gendered harassment that Muslim women experience on the street, or the structural discrimination that so many of us face in housing, education and employment.
This is part of the reason why I am proud to work with 14 awesome Muslim women to write our stories in Cut From The Same Cloth.
Edited by Sabeena Akhtar, Cut From the Same Cloth offers 15 groundbreaking essays that does the necessary work of exploring a wide-range of our experiences as Muslim women in Britain. This is a collection that refuses to lock Muslim women into a single stereotype of being: we refuse to be defined by a society that prefers us silent about racial and gendered oppression and un”veiled” (in line with dominant Western ideas of femininity). We demand to be seen and heard on our own terms.
If you believe in the importance of this collection, pledge to make this book happen here! All supporters will get their names printed in every edition of this book.