Monday, 25 July 2011

in the waikato times

so as i was saying yesterday, i'm expecting a couple of pieces in the media, and this is the first one to be published:

the angle is that muslim women are subject to abuse, and we deserve better. which is true. but the frustrating thing is that i'm tired of portrayals of muslim women as victims. either we're victims of male oppression or we're victims of an intolerant society. so when do we get to be human beings with talent, skills, agency, or even just human beings?

we gave the reporter a lot of information about the positive and active work that is being done in hamilton, especially for and by young muslim women. and to his credit, he has included some of that in the story. and because the story grew out of the incidents of burqa-wearing women being denied the right to use public transport, that framing was always going to be paramount.

still, it's a story. a story where we get to speak about our experiences and where we are talking about ourselves and our experiences rather than having others speak about us. this is good, and i want to give due credit to the times for giving us the opportunity.

the young women featured in the photograph are champions. four of them are part of the leadership group that aliya danziesen has been working hard to develop. all of them shared some wonderful stuff with the reporter, though only one of them has been quoted. i have to say, looking at and listening to this group of bright young women, the future seems very bright. i wish the public could have heard more from them, because (and yes, i know i'm so very repetitive on this point) we need many more positive stories about our young people. they are a treasure, and some day we will be relying on them.

it really should have been aliya in the photograph rather than me, but she wasn't able to be there. she is the one with the vision and the organisational skills to bring together these young people, nurture them and broaden their horizons. me, i just tag along and help out in what little way i can, which is not much at all really. so it feels a little fraudulent to be sitting up in front, when i have so much of a background role.


Deborah said...

It's a really good story, anjum. And I am so pleased that one of the local papers is creating space for Muslim women to speak for themselves. I know it has taken a lot of hard work on your part, and the part of other Muslim women. Work that has paid off! As one of my Adelaide friends says, "Go you!"

stargazer said...

thanx deborah :)