Blurb (as on Goodreads):
When was the last time you heard a Muslim woman speak for herself without a filter?
In 2016, Mariam Khan read that David Cameron had linked the radicalization of Muslim men to the ‘traditional submissiveness’ of Muslim women. Mariam felt pretty sure she didn’t know a single Muslim woman who would describe herself that way. Why was she hearing about Muslim women from people who were neither Muslim, nor female?
Years later the state of the national discourse has deteriorated even further, and Muslim women’s voices are still pushed to the fringes – the figures leading the discussion are white and male.
Taking one of the most politicized and misused words associated with Muslim women and Islamophobia, It’s Not About the Burqa is poised to change all that. Here are voices you won’t see represented in the national news headlines: seventeen Muslim women speaking frankly about the hijab and wavering faith, about love and divorce, about feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country. Funny, warm, sometimes sad, and often angry, each of these essays is a passionate declaration, and each essay is calling time on the oppression, the lazy stereotyping, the misogyny and the Islamophobia.
What does it mean, exactly, to be a Muslim woman in the West today? According to the media, it’s all about the burqa.
Here’s what it’s really about.
A series of essays by British Muslim women to the ‘white’ men who like to set the tome of the narrative and see Islamic traditions as either a way to make money or make controversy, ‘It’s Not About the Burqa’ is a way of getting the world acquainted to what Islam actually stands for.
These essays cover multiple topics such as women’s right to divorce, what it means to be a ‘Black’ Muslim, the impact of stories from the Quran, the misconceptions rooted deep in the society about mental health, sexuality, feminism, and the mindset that Burqa is deeply linked to one’s belief in Islam and without it, one’s religious beliefs can be put under scrutiny.
‘Burqa’ has been used by the world for a number of reasons. Fashion Industry has turned it into a style statement and non-muslim women walking on the ramp wearing designer burqas is being used to signify diversity and representation. Social talks about Islam and Burqa has mostly been from the ‘White’ perspective and the NEED for more participation from the women of the Islamic community is imperative.
These essays are unfiltered and hit right where it hurts. These essays are a by-product of all that these authors have experienced throughout their life as ‘British Muslims’ who have been constantly dominated by people with half-baked knowledge of Islam and what it truly stands for.
My favorite essays include: Feminism Needs to Die, On the Representation of Women, A Gender Denied and Daughter Of Stories.
‘It’s All About the Burqa’ is a wake-up call to the world because it’s about time the world stops controlling the narrative and listens to what their incredible women have to say. It is also a way to encourage other Muslim women to come forward with their stories and not give in to this blatant racism and misogyny.
*Thank you Pan Macmillan India for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own*