MUSLIM WOMEN: SPEAK OUT!
The impact of islamophobia on Muslim women is tremendous: on top of the day-to-day aggressions and limitations that they face, Muslim women must also contend with the narratives woven around them, turning them into one-dimensional stereotypes. The double standards imposed upon them compound into a specific, intersectional kind of discrimination that reinforces both islamophobia and misogyny in society. Gendered islamophobia not only jeopardizes Muslim women’s safety but also hinders their professional and academic prospects in an attempt to conform to norms and values that marginalize the Muslim faith in its entirety.
KARAMAH EU’s “Muslim Women: Speak Out!” project aims to tackle the pervasive presence and insidious effects of gendered islamophobia on Muslim women in Belgium, as well as showcase their multifaceted experiences. Discourses and stereotypes conveyed through media coverage as well as discriminatory practices – such as the headscarf ban in the education and employment sectors – tremendously hinder Muslim women’s potential to actively participate in society. This project exists thanks to the support of the MAGIC consortium – Muslim women and communities Against Gendered Islamophobia in society. This project is led by the European Institute for the Mediterranean, Media & Diversity Institute Global, Fundación Al Fanar, and the Collectif pour l’Inclusion et contre l’Islamophobie en Belgique.
With this project, we want to encourage Muslim women to take an active part in relaying their own stories and to raise their voices in order to challenge gendered islamophobia in a way that reinforces their diverse identities. We also want to encourage non-Muslims to understand the effects of gendered islamophobia and to support Muslim women’s efforts to eradicate these forms of oppression.
The project is articulated around three axes
A series of podcast episodes was developed to present the challenges that Muslim women face in their day-to-day lives, as well as the biased media coverage that supports (willingly or not) gendered islamophobia in society. Each episode features an expert / activist on a topic pertaining to gendered islamophobia, but also to the way in which Muslim women are taking matters into hand to challenge harmful stereotypes and discourses.
This awareness campaign targets the harmful double standards and islamophobic discursive strategies deploy to make Muslim women appear as less than they actually are. Muslim women are told everyday what they should or should not be and who they should aspire to be rather than being encouraged to fully explore their identity, their ambitions and their dreams.
To fully enable Muslim women to seize back narratives and talk for themselves, we set in place a day of media training focused on public speaking and podcast production. This way, we are encouraging active engagement with media production in order to go against negative mainstream discourses. Participants were encouraged not only to develop their own project but also to be free with the themes so as to showcase the multifaceted nature of Muslim women.