Tuesday, 9 July 2019

It’s Not About the Burqa (ed. Mariam Khan)

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought Of It:

“Being among peers asks us [...] to delve into the granularity of our experiences as Muslim women beyond the obvious.”

This quote from ‘Life Was Easier Before I Was Woke’ by Yassmin Midhat Abdel-Magied sums up why this collection of essays, put together by Mariam Khan, makes it possible to present a rarely seen complex and nuanced picture of Muslim women in Britain today.

There are women here who wear the hijab, the veil or other forms of Islamic dress, and others who reject it entirely. There are women whose families came originally to Britain from all parts of Africa and Asia, as well as those with complex combinations of heritage. They include journalists, poets, novelists, publishers, lawyers, an engineer, a comedian ...

In the course of these essays they take on the fashion industry, toxic masculinity, White Feminism, mental health, sexuality and women’s legal rights (to name just a few).

Some of the stories show how savage the backlash can be from society when Muslim women step outside the bounds of what is defined as a Good Immigrant and dare to speak up for themselves. And yet they continue to do so.

As Afsham D’souza-Lodhi says in 'Hijabi (R)evolution': “I’m done engaging in conversation with people who don’t understand that human beings are complex. That I can wear a hijab and a dress. That I can be queer and Muslim. That I can exist.”

A book that smashes into smithereens every stereotype of Muslim women so assiduously pursued by our mainstream media. Read it!

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: The Good Immigrant (ed. Nikesh Shukla), The Things I Would Tell You (ed. Sabrian Mahfouz)

Avoid If You Dislike: Seeing your preconceptions torn to shreds

Perfect Accompaniment: An open mind and a listening ear

Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays

Available on Amazon

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