Double Bind features predominantly female writers from a Muslim background who understand what it’s like to face oppression based on gender within our communities, and discrimination based on faith or skin colour outside of it.
We have taken full ownership of the fact that misogyny and extremism exist within our communities. All too often we have seen how these issues permeate the fabric of family and social life, and some of our members have even been consumed by this kind of thinking themselves in the past. Many of us have raised our voices time and again about grave injustice and abuse often perpetrated by those closest to us, as well as by key figures in the community. We’ve shared our observations of a culture that often excuses and justifies a hatred of democracy, secular values and basic human rights.
But our concerns have for the most part been dismissed by all except those who use our stories to fuel racism and xenophobia; who call for refugees escaping from torture and risk of death to be left to die in the water, or others who care little for women but will become vocal about sexual abuse when perpetrated within minority communities. Ironically, an unacceptable number of activists and campaigners intent on combatting the tide of right-wing hatred towards minorities has only served to exacerbate it further by dismissing and denying the experiences of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.
No culture is perfect, and criminals exist of all faiths and backgrounds. To pretend otherwise is both disingenuous and dangerous, and it is incumbent upon each of us to challenge human rights abuses wherever they arise. We reject any form of marginalisation relating to gender, faith or sexuality, and we will no longer have our voices usurped by others. Here, we speak for ourselves.
Shaheen Hashmat is the founder and editor of Double Bind.