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 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 news headlines: 17 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. With a mix of British and international women writers, from activist Mona Eltahawy's definition of a revolution to journalist and broadcaster Saima Mir telling the story of her experience of arranged marriage, from author Sufiya Ahmed on her Islamic feminist icon to playwright Afshan D'souza-Lodhi's moving piece about her relationship with her hijab, these essays are funny, warm, sometimes sad, and often angry, and each of them is a passionate declaration 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.
About the Author
Mariam Khan is a British writer and activist.
Contributors: Mona Eltahaway (based in New York City) Coco Khan Sufiya Ahmed Nafisa Bakkar Afia Ahmed Yassmin Midhat Abdel-Magied Jamilla Hekmoun Mariam Khan Afshan D’souza-Lodhi Salma Haidrani Amna Saleem (based part of the time in Los Angeles) Saima Mir Salma El-Wardany Aina Khan Raifa Rafiq Malia Bouattia Nadine Aisha Jassat
"Engrossing. . . . The writers cover a panoply of subjects, including immigration, mental health, terrorism, divorce and feminism, as well as veils. . . . This is a vital book for non-Muslims and those seeking to understand Muslim feminism in the West. . . . While these essays take a courageous and panoramic view of Muslims and Islamic attire, most of the writers agree that acceptance is best achieved by promoting diversity. This may provide a lesson to politicians and opinion writers." —Guardian
"Provides a collection of diverse experiences and opinions, a refreshing change from the staid representation in the mainstream media of the Muslim community as a monolith. . . . In a world where controversial leaders are at the helm in many countries and minorities are under attack, this is an essential and engaging read." —The Hindu
"A valuable book, fulfilling its aim of giving Muslim women a space of their own." —The New Arab
"These testimonies and tales from behind the burqa will challenge many prevailing notions of Muslim women." —Sydney Morning Herald
"This bold and authentic collection powerfully counters the stereotypes by which Muslim women in the West are judged." — Publishers Weekly Online
"This stupendous volume presents ringing testimony to how Muslim women and their unique stories are so often silenced or falsified.”—Booklist