Given the choice how would you like to be described? A progressive, open-minded and independent or traditional, close-minded, and submissive. So who is defining a Muslim woman’s identity? Listen to the Podcast here
Living in the 21st Century we are givev labels to choose from. How you define yourself has a big effect on how you act. The life choices you make. In this episode, I want to outline three examples of how the British government is trying to influence our Muslim identities.
This is Woke
A social media network for young people, launched around the term “woke”, is actually a covert British government program, security officials have admitted. The content for the Facebook page and Instagram feed was created for the OSCT by Breakthrough Media, a London-based communications company, several people with knowledge of the project have confirmed to Middle East Eye.
Supersisters mag was also a content company that was set up as a Home Office project through its parent company JGO. Supersisters describes itself as “a global media platform for young Muslimahs in East London and beyond to share and create inspiring and empowering content with positivity at its core.”
Ex-employee, Sabah Ismail, who stepped down and released a statement also expressed her surprise that there were no Muslim women in the creative team at the time of joining and, “despite [JGO] running a project for Muslim women, how far removed from the principles of Islam most of the team were, some even disagreeing out-rightly with our beliefs”.
An ex-employee, alleging that one point there was only one Muslim woman working in the organisation where middle-aged non-Muslim men were writing content impersonating Muslim women under the guise of creating empowering content for Muslim women. The team also included contractors from JGO including non-Muslim videographer Charlotte Bibby who had previously tweeted, “I can handle religion if you’re not involving me in it and its not causing world wars, terrorist attacks or homocides. Oh wait…”
Who is defining a Muslim woman’s identity?:Union Jack hijab
After Alan Henning, a British aid worker, was murdered by Islamic State in October 2014, the Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU) – a controversial propaganda unit that is part of the Office of Security and Counterterrorism at the UK Home Office – turned to a striking image that had already been developed by one of its private sector contractors.
The image, designed by Breakthrough Media, a London-based communications company, showed a woman wearing a Union Jack hijab.
It had been developed, according to an internal Breakthrough document seen by MEE, because “the UK authorities wanted to challenge ultraconservative and misogynistic interpretations of Islam – particularly those around women – in order to promote the true face of Islam among vulnerable UK communities”.
The document explains that RICU’s objective was to “establish a platform for British Muslim women to set out an alternative interpretation of Islam and to take a lead in countering extremism in their communities”.
The result, the document continues, was Making A Stand, “a new British Muslim women’s campaigning organisation and network active within British Muslim communities and with an increasingly high-profile in the national media”.
A few days after the murder of Henning, Making A Stand approached The Sun, a tabloid newspaper, which agreed to dedicate all its front page to the Union Jack hijab photograph. Read the full article here
Listen to the related podcast episode The Politics of Hijab