Islamophobia has risen significantly within the last few years; many Muslim women are being abused because they choose to wear a head scarf.
In Greater Manchester alone, attacks targeting the Muslim community have gone up by 96 per cent in the last 12 months.
To help tackle this problem a group of young girls, in collaboration with Odd Arts, have produced a short film talking about their experiences.
The Hideaway Youth Project in Moss Side recently held a launch evening for the film. It explores Islamophobia from a Muslim girl’s perspective, and challenges the stereotypes attached to women.
When discussing the discrimination they have faced, one girl said, “That I choose to hide certain parts of me, it provokes people. It shouldn’t”.
Their choice to wear modest clothing is a key point that is raised in the film. They talk about the different view their culture has on covering up, “I think freedom is covering yourself up and treating yourself with respect”.
The girls largely blame the national media for the discrimination they face. “The media is the most powerful tool in the world. People are constantly reading the word ‘Muslim’ being always associated with something negative”.
Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said, “The recent news and ongoing tensions have inevitably caused fear and confusion within Greater Manchester and beyond, so it is more important than ever that we come together and send a strong, unified message that any attempt to create disharmony is futile”.
Another problem identified is the grouping of all Muslims into one definition or box. They point out that although they are all Muslim, they do not come from the same culture background.
In the Q&A session after the screening, the girls articulately expressed their views about how they feel after producing the film. One said, “I’m worth more than what people say around me”, whilst another said, “This is who I am and I’m proud of who I am”.
A young Muslim man asked the girls what everyone can do to help them feel safer. They suggested stepping in to defend them, teach others the differences between them.
Another resolutely said, “Don’t tell your daughters to change themselves to fit into western society, to keep your head down; we shouldn’t have to do that. Wear your hijab, be proud, encourage your sisters”.
TNT News Tiffany Cook