I am stepping away from the world of fiction with my second review today as I share with you a collection of essays written by Muslim women about life in Britain. Many thanks to all the ladies involved, and to Unbound for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.
- Perceived as the visual representation of Islam, hijab-wearing Muslim women are often harangued at work, at home and in public life yet are rarely afforded a platform to speak on their own terms.
- From modern pop culture to anti-Blackness, faith and family, politics, education, creativity and working life; Cut From the Same Cloth? is an anthology which gives visibly Muslim women creatives a space to speak to the matters that mean most to them.
Do you wear that at home? Where are you really from? Does he make you wear that? Do you support acts of terror? Do you believe in “British values”? Can I see your hair? Do you have equality? Are you hot in that? Can you be a feminist? Why don’t you just take it off? Do you wear that in the shower? Are you oppressed?
Whether it’s awkward questions, radical commentators sensationalising their existence, non-Muslims and non-hijabis making assumptions, men speaking on their behalf, or tired stereotypes being perpetuated by the same old faces: hijabis are tired. Cut From the Same Cloth? seeks to tip the balance back in their favour, with the space to offer honest insight into the issues that really affect their lives.
Here, twenty-one middle and working class contributors of all ages and races look beyond the tired tropes, exploring the breadth of their experiences and spirituality. It’s time we, as a society, stopped the hijab-splaining and listened to the people who know.
It’s time for change.
More years ago than I care to count, I studied Islam as part of my Religious Studies GCSE, and have been lucky enough to visit one of Islam’s holiest sites in Israel. However, to my shame, I have never given any real thought as to how women in the Muslim faith live their lives or are treated by others. Coming from a white, middle-class background, I have grown up in the privileged position of never having to consider the issues that others deal with on a daily basis. I want to improve my understanding, and this book has been a great help in this. Reading this book, I quickly realised that although my education taught me enough to know that the media’s depiction of Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, is wildly inaccurate, it taught my nothing about their day to day experiences.
Cut From The Same Cloth? is not a book that can be read in one sitting. Each essay and each of the amazing women involved in the project deserve the time to fully absorb what they are saying and it would be a disservice to them to simply read their words and instantly move on to the next. The essays range from heart-breaking to uplifting and just about every emotion in-between, and cover a broad range of subjects and experiences. They are all deeply personal accounts of life as a Muslim woman in Britain, and some served as serious eye-openers for me.
Cut From The Same Cloth? feels like an extremely important book that I would urge everyone to read, and it has been a real privilege to “meet” these women and be involved in the blog tour.
ABOUT THE EDITOR:
Sabeena is a writer, editor and the Festival Coordinator of Bare Lit, the UK’s principal festival celebrating remarkable writers in the diaspora. She is also the co-founder of the Primadonna Festival which spotlights the work of women writers, and of Bare Lit Kids. She will be available for events around publication and can be found tweeting at @pocobookreader