TO READ: “It’s Not About The Burqa” – As told by an Ingenious Collective of Muslim Women

18.03.2019 | Blog , Literature | BY:

During a time where Islamophobia and Xenophobia are still currently on the rise,  “It’s Not About The Burqa” conceived and edited by writer and activist Mariam Khan is an essential hardcover offering insightful unique perspectives from inside the Muslim community. Published by Pan Macmillan earlier this year, the book features an anthology of 17 informative essays from 17 of Britain’s Muslim female youth brought together by Khan as they reflect on their stories of oppression, the lazy stereotyping, misogyny and islamophobia. 

Mariam’s concept for the book was triggered when she first came across a report about a leaked conversation had by British Prime Minister David Cameron and one of his officials where he expressed his views of the “traditional submissiveness” of Muslim women being a key problem in the fight against Islamic extremism. Mariam soon grew tired of conversations like this being had about the definitions and needs of Muslim women by parties that were neither female or muslim. 

From this, the idea was conceived to unite the voices of these women with different stories ranging from funny , to warm, to sad and angry, as they discuss freely the hijab, the wavering faith, love and divorce, feminism, queer identity, sex etc.  “I wanted a book that let Muslim women speak on their own terms, without being spoken over, about whatever they wanted and for that not to have to go through a white filter. We had to have a platform of all sorts of voices, and represent the vast experiences. I couldn’t edit the book thinking, ‘I don’t agree with that,”said Khan.

The book counteracts the media’s distorted definition of a Muslim woman being “all about the burqa” and gives insight to what it’s truly like. Mariam’s chapter titled “Feminism Needs To Die” discusses her experience as a feminist as she came to the realization that mainstream “white” feminism did not have room or wasn’t interested in accommodating the choices she makes in regards to her faith. Each essay, with titles like The First Feminist (Sufiya Ahmed) , Immodesty is the Best Policy (Coco Khan) , Hijabi [R]evolution (Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi) and Not Just A Black Muslim (Raifa Rafiq), presents a unique testimony from a few of the only voices we should be listening to about the journey of what it’s like to be a Muslim woman in 2019. To get your copy visit INATB.

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