A local Scottish paper, the Paisley Daily Express, reports on the ‘I Speak for Myself’ campaign which aims to challenge negative stereotypes about Muslim women by featuring them carrying placards with descriptive, personal, aspirational and humorous messages about themselves. The campaign has the backing the MSP for Renfrewshire South, Hugh Henry.
From the local paper:
“A campaigning politician is backing a Muslim women’s group in their bid to change damaging perceptions of who they are.
“Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry is getting behind the ‘I Speak for Myself’ project, being run by the Muslim women’s organisation Amina, in an attempt to challenge stereotypes through personal messages from the women.
“Their project – which features an exhibition of 300 Muslim women, from various ethnic backgrounds, displaying their messages – was launched after members of the group visited schools in Renfrewshire and across Scotland, and were shocked to find that some children associated words such as ‘terrorist,’ ‘oppressed’ and ‘uneducated’ to describe Muslim women.
“Far from projecting themselves as submissive and sedate, the messages talk about careers, motherhood, movies, high heels, lipstick and love.
“The exhibition has now been launched at the Scottish Parliament, where Mr Henry pledged his support to the women by signing a declaration aspiring for a Scotland where all people can flourish and be themselves.”
Samina Ansari from Amina, herself a victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime, said, “This was about Muslim women sharing their messages with fellow Scots. The messages talk about all the things that women talk about, regardless of their race and religion.”
The organisation behind the campaign, Amina, produced a documentary last year to educate people about the practice of veiling adopted by many Muslim women.
The ‘I Speak for Myself’ initiative comes at a critical time for the Muslim community in Scotland, the UK and Europe more widely, given the rising level of Islamophobia which pervades the public discourse and the way in which Muslim women in particular face hostility and prejudice.
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