The first time I heard Islamophobic comments was in the wake of 9/11 when I was in primary school and ever since then, I have always intimately felt like the ‘other’. But it’s only when I grew up that I realised that most of my school friends didn’t think I was actually Muslim.
Probably because I wore the same clothes as them, or because my mum is blond, I constantly had to defend my religion. “You’re not really Muslim, right?” became a question I grew tired of having to answer. Now as an adult, I realise the distinct lack of representation for Muslim women in media.
London-based collective Muslim Sisterhood—comprised of photographer Lamisa Khan and fine art artists Sara Gulami and Zeinab Saleh—want to change the narrative.
By posting pictures on their Instagram account of diverse young London Muslim women (all coming from different geographical and cultural backgrounds), Muslim Sisterhood aims to reveal the heterogeneous nature of Muslim women in London, while also challenging the current tokenism.
In the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks, the number of hate crimes has been growing in the UK. The think tank that catapulted the term “Islamophobia” in 1997 confirmed that the phenomenon was on the rise and that its manifestations have become more violent. And according to the hate monitoring group Tell MAMA women are more targeted than men – in 2016, more than half of the victims were females and 70% of perpetuators were white men.
Founded by Muslim women for Muslim women, the IG account finally fills a gap by genuinely demonstrating the multi-faceted reality of the community and by empowering all of those who feel abused in silence.