The suffering of Muslim women in finding work at UK

With the remarkable development in various fields of science and technology, and through my research on the subject of work in Britain I noticed that there is a lack of interest in the British labour market, especially work for Muslim women where through my research I found a gap in finding the right job and suffering in getting a job.

In recent years, Muslim women in Britain have begun to go to education in order to get a suitable job and stand by men and reduce the male power in the exclusivity in the field of work. In an article in the Guardian newspaper, I found that there was a challenge for Muslim women to get a job and that suffering has increased in recent years with the sharpening tone of some politicians and likening Muslim women to black boxes, these statements encouraged the concept of Islamophobia, which made a negative impact on work Muslim women in British society.

On the other hand, a report issued by the Institute of Politics and Research IPPR noted that Muslim women, especially Pakistani and Bangladeshi after the completion of the university face difficulties in the labour market, in addition to cultural constraints and lack of support for employment, while the report acknowledged that some organizations that train Muslim women such as Shantona which is women centre in Leeds while this centre are equipping them with skills for the labour market, but these organizations have failed due to lack of financial and authoritarian support. In this sense, society should seek to realize the aspiration of Muslim women and give them an active role in building an equal society in the labour market.

In another article in The Independent newspaper, this article highlights the disparity in employment for Muslim women as there are differences in employment. In a study by Dr. Nabil Khattab, a lecturer at the University of Bristol, and at the annual sociology conference in Glasgow, the study showed that 70 percent of Muslim women in Britain are looking for work without utility. The study concluded that the unemployment rate was 18 per cent among women Muslim, while the rate was as low as 9 per cent for Hindu women and 4 per cent for white women. These varying percentages are due to poor English and may be due to employer discrimination. The article added, however, that religious background and headscarves could be a major cause of discrimination against Muslim women in the labour market.

In a similar article in INCE website, the government explained in a 2016 report on employment opportunities for Muslim women in Britain where the goal was to investigate barriers and the report noted that unemployment is very high compared to other segments of society despite Muslim women receiving the same education and qualifications. The report pointed out that there are factors that helped to portray Muslim women as not suitable for work, where the factor of cold weather and the inability to travel because of family and children, while this factor does not exist in white women, in the end the report indicates that employers should provide a suitable environment for Muslim women and give educational courses to employees, On the other hand this is a positive step by the government where it will eliminate discrimination and create the principle of equality.

Finally, I can say that as Muslim women grow, there must be organizations that help prepare Muslim women to work, in addition to setting standards of equality for employment away from racism and discrimination.

 

 

Myanmar Rohingya: When will the killing and displacement stop?


Myanmar Rohingya: When will the killing and displacement stop?

The Rohingya are people in Myanmar lived at Rakhine state on the west coast and are considered an ethnic minority in the country, With the coming to power of the army, the authorities began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Muslims in the country.

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar suffer persecution and murder by the authorities, and in a detailed report by Al Jazeera that hundreds of families were killed, and bodies burned, in addition to the houses were completely burned. A spokesman for the human rights organisation said the army had destroyed several villages and there were many wounded without help, adding that there were many reports of escalating violence.

Meanwhile, the army-backed authorities are conducting an ethnic cleansing operation in Rakhine state through massive displacement of the population as hundreds of thousands have fled to Bangladesh near the border. The BBC reports that migrants arrive every day at Kutupalong camp, the largest camp in Bangladesh, where living conditions are poor. The Human Rights Commission announced that migrants arrive at the camp without any property and have difficulty finding safe drinking water or any shelter. In this context, satellite images taken in 2017 show sabotage and the destruction of villages completely, however we see that there is a clearance of ethnic orientation of Muslims despite widespread condemnations.

Despite the authorities’ refusal to regard Rohingya Muslims as illegal citizens of the country, in 2017 we saw the world silent and failing, especially the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, how the president of the country Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I can say that this award is a great honour and encourage the authorities to kill and displace. On the other hand, Aung San Suu Kyi stated that she did not know who was responsible for the Rohingya crisis and that she would try to investigate to find out who was responsible, where she was defending her prize. Although many human rights organizations have called for the withdrawal of the Nobel Prize, these attempts have been rejected and the committee is considered a prize give to Aung San Suu Kyi for spreading democracy in the past. So, I believe that peace in the future will be through tyrants and murderers.

In the end I believe that Muslims have become the weak side of this world, and with more than one million Rohingya Muslims I have never seen any real reaction from the silent world. Today we see that the Rohingya Muslims are not considered citizens of Myanmar. Muslims are deprived of civil and social rights and are further deprived of education and restricted in the movement.

 

Christchurch Mosque terrorist shootings: The tabloids react

Al-Noor Mosque

On 15th March 2019 a white terrorist attacked the Al Noor Mosque, followed by the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. He inhumanely livestreamed as he took the lives of approximately 51 innocent Muslims, due to his hatred towards Islam.

Giving the white terrorist a platform:

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained how the terrorist should not be given any media attention;

‘He sought many things from his act of terror, but one is notoriety. And that is why you will never hear me mention his name. He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless. And to others, I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them’

As a political figure she rightly utilises her power, by addressing the white man as a terrorist and spreads a positive message to show solidarity with the victims.

The tabloids:

Both The Daily Mail and The Sun, when covering the news of this tragedy, centred their stories around the attacker, which provided a platform for his beliefs to be spread. By using the phrase, ‘he was inspired by’ in their headline, Daily Mail immediately places the article’s focus on explaining what encouraged the attacker’s crime. He is given universal fame, which is what he wanted.

Further including hate speech from him, in which he pays homage to Candance Owens, a Trump supporter who, being a black woman herself, criticises the movement of Black Lives Matter, may encourage others to share his discriminative opinions. The terrorist is overall given a voice by mainstream media when instead the focus should be on bringing the victims and their families to justice.

The Daily Mail irresponsibly uploaded a PDF copy of the killer’s ‘manifesto’, in which he mentions his plans. Allowing access to read his hate speech serves to give the killer an identity, and allows him to get his word out to the world. After the backlash they received, the copy was taken down. The Sun also posted the full livestream video, in which the heart-breaking content shows the white man maliciously killing many Muslims. This is again problematic as it creates a platform for extremist content. As he enters the mosque, he is greeted by a Muslim man with the loving words of ‘hello brother’, to which the killer replies with a gunshot, killing him instantly. How can Islam be portrayed as a religion of hatred, when a Muslim man, out of good intentions, greeted his murderer, not noticing the gun, and simply welcomed him into his place of worship? Terrorism has no religion.

The articles are loaded with information on the terrorist’s life, as he describes himself as an; ‘ordinary white man’ . This allows him to create an identity for himself and conveys the articles failure of calling him a terrorist, and honing onto the impact his actions made on innocent lives. Instead they move on to inform readers about his past life in which his father; ‘died of cancer in 2010 aged just 49’. This moves the focus away from the fact that he is a murderer, and towards him being someone who faced hardships in life, as an attempt to feel sorry for him. Instead the lives of the victims, who are left unnamed and described as; ‘a man’, should be shared.

Whilst the image of him in handcuffs as a criminal is blurred, protecting his identity and face, The Sun includes images of the terrorist posing happily with his family, representing him as a family man. By then interviewing people who knew him, and described him as someone who; ‘threw himself into his personal training… he was very good’, creates an overall representation of him as being a, normally, friendly person. Why is the media digging into the terrorist’s life, and bringing forward evidence that paints him in a good light, instead of showing the world that he is as equal of a terrorist as ISIS?

White shooter vs Muslim shooter:

The media is constantly stereotyping Muslims as the face of terrorism, and what a terrorist looks like. Films like 4 Lions play with this stereotype by portraying ordinary Muslim men as living double lives as terrorists. This then exaggerates on the racist view that a terrorist could be any Muslim, who seems to be living a regular life.

As shown in the image above, if the shooter was a Muslim he would’ve been instantly labelled as a terrorist, as though violence is rooted into him. However, the white man is represented as being ‘good’, and someone who wasn’t always like this, with the focus being on his life story, like it was with the Christchurch mosque shooter. Instead of being labelled as terrorist, his actions are excused by his mental instability, by labelling him as a; ‘twisted maniac’, or a ‘working class madman’.

When this division of representations is created, it widens the gap between the West and the East and promotes hatred for one specific religion, in this case, Islam. Whilst the powerful white man is left untainted.

Christchurch victims

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Muslim’s in the media: T.V. dramas and representation post 9/11.

 

British Muslim minorities have been at the centre of increasing tensions following the terrible terror attacks of 9/11 and 7/7. The urgent debates surrounding multiculturalism alongside political discussions of immigrants and British values in the current unsteadiness of Brexit have placed Muslims and Eastern immigrants in the spotlight.

The media’s attempts to engage with Muslims in Britain are often limited and one-sided. Producing a dialogue that appears to explore relationships between Britishness but only reinforces prejudices that circulate in public imagination. Following 9/11, stereotypes like the bearded fanatic, the oppressed veiled woman and “the duplicitous terrorist who lives among ‘us’ have lingered through our television screens to implement a narrative of difference for the white British viewer. These depictions serve to support dominant power hierarchies in which security is placed as the most important measure. Yet, this production of a one-sided dialogue where Eastern identities are scrutinised provides an ideological message for the viewer by which the literal framing of Muslims on the screen ensnares and traps their identity in a way that they cannot escape the simplification and implicit assumptions of their identity.

Almost 19 years on, terrorism has been commodified by the media to continually cement  stereotypes for the benefit of politics. The recent BBC TV thriller The BodyGuard is a prime example of this. The series follows war veteran and police sergeant David Budd working as a police sergeant in his bid to protect the home secretary as she plans to introduce invasive new surveillance systems for security forces.

Afraid Nadia confronted by Budd on a train – Episode 1.

Budd continuously finds himself at odds with the secretary’s policies alongside dealing with his psychological scars from his time serving in Afghanistan. In his bid to find the perpetrator of a series of terrorist attacks he finds his beliefs and duty torn. The series begins with him

Empowered Nadia being questioned by the police – Episode 6.

talking down the terrified and trembling suicide bomber Nadia into giving herself up. However, over six episodes of trials and tribulations it was Nadia who had been a willing participant in the whole incident.

We might consider how Nadia seeks to defy common perceptions of Muslim women as submissive and oppressed. Her willingness to engage in terrorism defies prejudices but not exactly in the most positive way. Portraying her as a bomb-maker is not exactly the irradiation of negative stereotypes. But this is not an unfamiliar narrative – we have been here before! American T.V series Homeland and 24 operate on a similar basis; by reinforcing negative perceptions of Muslims in the pursuit for social security. Therefore, reinforcing difference and producing prejudice.

But surely, our representations shouldn’t be limited by binary oppositions or productions that limit Muslim identities with fundamentalism. We should have a deeper focus on real lives of minorities, but where can we find them?

In a society by which T.V., online streaming and social media rule our lives, where can we look for alternative perspectives? I could suggest Film 4’s award winning 2004 drama Yasmin  to illuminate working class Muslim perspectives but would only be undermining your judgements with the films underlying narratives of fundamentalism that may reproduce dominate prejudices of young Muslim men. Alternatively, I could put forward a more recent offering, Netflix’s critically acclaimed new series Top Boy. This drama takes viewers into the housing estates of East London, depicting the tensions between drug gangs that operate openly, and those who strive to live honest lives against the odds in the crime-riddled area. This subtly social realist drama explores the interlocking stories of drug dealers, teenagers and culture clashes that arise in the mission to climb the socio-economic ladder.

However, despite the underpinning genre of violence and gang-culture I hope to draw attention towards the series’ episode ‘Bonfire Night’. The episode centres around the economic deprivation in Ramsgate, a sea-side town which protagonist ‘Sully’ meets with an old friend to discuss business. Due to the shady nature of their dealings the matter takes place in a dilapidated street house where two immigrants live with their baby. Violent racist crimes against them like writing on their home, bricks through windows, ultimately lead to their house being burnt down by local, white male, residents.

Despite the disturbing images which create much sympathy for the characters, one scene depicting the young immigrant mother stealing baby supplies from a corner shop is eye opening.

The scene shows the shopkeeper catching her stealing and expects the police to arrest her, however, in a unusual turn of events the policeman pays the shopkeeper what he is owe. This comforting attempt to provide the viewer with a considerate approach to immigrant identities draws closer attention to the socio-economic factors that are associated with immigrants supposed inability to mingle with society. The xenophobic attitudes that she endures highlights the unsteady climates we see ourselves in today and seeks to illuminate our perspectives. Yet, despite Top Boy’s focus on suffering, it is not to be a gospel depiction of immigrant lives in Britain. However, perhaps, it offers a deeper understanding of immigrant lives in Britain and further illuminate how the failure of Multiculturalism, as put forward in Framing Muslims, is not related to Muslims or  immigrants failure to integrate into society.

I find myself searching for a narrative that places minorities at the forefront of our attentions with no ulterior motive to produce a stereotype or negative representation but I wonder that in a world were binary oppositions are placed at the very front of our creations of identity whether this to ever be truly possible.

Is Tory Islamophobia shaping modern ‘multicultural’ Britain?

 

 

Modern Britain is widely seen as a multicultural country because of the diversity of its inhabitants’. But has the ’light touch’ policy of multiculturalism that promotes inclusivity in the UK multifaceted? Since WW2 Britain has seen an influx in immigration that has radically altered its dynamic and added to the multicultural society we live in today. However, to define Britain as truly multicultural would be difficult. Multiculturalism seems almost tainted; symbolising a “clash of civilisations” that live side by side not together.  

But can we trace the reason for the deterioration of Multiculturalism? Is Tory Islamophobia shaping  modern ‘multicultural Britain’? 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been the forefront of media news this year. Amid Brexit debates and EU negotiations, it’s not a surprise the former foreign secretary has had much to say regarding Britain’s future and specifically the role of minority communities in the UK. 

 A recent article in The Guardian unearthing an essay, he made in 2007 has strongly criticised Boris Johnson’s claims that the Muslim world is “literally centuries behind” the West. His derogatory views of the Muslim community identify the issues at the centre of failing ‘multicultural Britain’. By highlighting our current Prime Minister and former foreign secretary as a man whose powerful voice speaks on a global capacity, his position regarding Muslim’s in Britain is complicated and potential fuel for negative post 9/11 perceptions of Islam. Here, I situate his Islamophobic tendencies and ask: is Boris Johnson cementing Islamophobic rhetoric?  

His representation of the East links to Edward Said’s theories in which the East is binarily opposed to Western cultural values and therefore a presence that must be used to difference in order to reinforce dominant power relations. Johnson’s portrayal of Muslim culture as backward and lacking in contemporaneity plays into the construction of crude stereotypes that circulate in public representations. Although, this essay was made six years after the dreadful 9/11 attacks we can see the immense effect it had on the Islam’s representation. Additionally, the essay was wrote one year after the 7/7 bombings cements a further layer of unsteadiness that has worked to “reduced the diversity and complexity of the Muslim world”. 

 

Yet, this is not the first time Johnson has been at the forefront of Islamophobia claims. The recent resurface of articles he wrote for The Telegraph (2002 and 2008) during his term as foreign secretary have received much backlash for their dog whistle Islamophobia. Johnson wrote that schools and universities should have the authority to force students to remove a veil if they “turn up … looking like a bank robber” highlights the complexity of intolerance and xenophobia. The use of simile provides a lighthearted representation that simplifies general stereotypes and homogenises the complexity of Islam in mainstream media discourse. In September 2019, a Labour MP demanded an apology from the PM for his column which compared veiled women to “letterboxes”; an incident that has led to huge surges in anti-Muslim attacks as well as building negative perceptions of Islam in the uneasy climate of Brexit-Britain.  

Following this, Johnson publicly spoke about these allegations of racism, defending his comparison of Muslim women in Burka’s to “letterboxes” as an attempt “to defend the rights of women to wear Burkhas”.

His complicated defence and complete ignorance to Islamophobia highlights his inability to recognise the negative effect he’s had on the  Muslim community in Britain. Similarly, an independent panel thought his comments  were “respectful and tolerant” and the  use of “satire” is permitted without criticism. This clear escape from accountability alludes to  The Satanic Verses incident by which Salman Rushdie was issued a fatwa for the depiction of Islam he put forward but was never condemned. Does the mask of satire, hyperbole and provocation simply undermine accountability? Surely Johnson should take some responsibility?

 Yet, regardless of media coverage the mediated access to cultural reality that Johnson depicts appears to be having a lasting impact. The ability to use an active political voice with agency that will never be held accountable is detrimental to the structure of multiculturalism. A society which appears inclusive yet uses racial and religious discrimination for political advance ultimately operates in a contradictory and hypocritical manner. We can see how Tory Islamophobia challenges the lived experience of Muslim’s and how the slippage of multiculturalism as a semi-official policy has led to a lived experience that is steeped in prejudice because of the creation of caricatures which politicise Islam. As Morey and Yaqin the decline of the nation state has led to the gradual deterioration of multiculturalism and the current period of cultural hypersensitivity that we now live in. It has resulted in stereotypes that circulate in the media through the voices of politicians and appear to legitimise culture for political advance and seek to alienate through “distorted abstractions” of a mediated reality.  

Perhaps, it is important to take some time and effort to understand different cultures and religions in order to create our own perceptions of other people. We must create our own realities by which our truths are constructed through our own ideas and not the thoughts of dominant ideologies. 

Stop the abuse on Uyghur Muslims.

Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration camp in the 1940s, made to torture millions of Jewish prisoners. Today, Hitler’s barbaric acts are being mimicked within China’s horrific concentration camps used to torture trapped Uyghur Muslims.

At first the world of news and journalism was silent. China’s tight control and censorship over their media, allowed them to undertake their violent acts in hiding. However, social media became a voice against the inhumane acts, which slowly led to news stories being posted.

A recent article in The Guardian discusses how China’s desperate attempt to rid itself of the Uyghur culture, began with it forcing Muslim women to move away from their personal choice of wearing the niqab or hijab. This was just the first step to change their religious identity, as today multiple women are being raped and forced to marry Han Chinese men to get rid of the next generation of Uyghur Muslims. Yet, this persecution has been occurring for decades, since the presence of Islam in China;

‘Islam was introduced to China by envoys from the Middle East who travelled to meet Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty in the seventh century’.

The oppression began during the 18th century rule of the Qing Dynasty, when the state tried to assert control over parts of China, where majority of Muslims resided. The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 which divided citizens into 56 ethnic groups, 10 of which were Muslim minorities, including the Uyghur Muslims. These man-made divisions led to chaos in the Cultural Revolution, between 1966-1969, where; mosques were vandalised, Muslims were stopped from attending the holy pilgrimage of Hajj, Qurans were destroyed, and people were disallowed to freely express their religious beliefs.

We live in the 21st Century yet around 3 million Muslims are being abused and tortured in these camps because of their religious identity. Innocent children are separated from their families and placed into orphanages, where they are taught to hate their religion, and forced to adhere to the Chinese culture. Yet the Vice-Governor of this region, Erkin Tuniyaz, defended these camps at a UN Human Rights Forum as a supposed aim to; ‘educate those influenced by religious extremism’, and to prevent them from being ‘victims of terrorism’. This builds on the ongoing stereotype in the media, towards Muslims as being terrorists. Once again the attack on innocent Muslims is being veiled and justified by an apparent attempt to rid the world of terrorism. As it did post 9/11, when the USA’s bombing on Afghanistan, for their manhunt on ‘terrorism’, led to Muslim civilians being killed.

Does destroying mosques help clear the world of ‘terrorists’?

Several Mosques are being destroyed by China, to rid itself of Islam. The before and after images below, show a once standing Kargilik mosque, which has now disappeared;

Before
After

Suppressing Muslims from practicing their faith can affect them negatively as discussed by Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin in; Framing Muslims; Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11, who touch on how; ‘our identity is partly shaped by recognition or its absence, often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or group of people can suffer real damage […] if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.’ Hence, if the ‘others’, in this case the Chinese regime, are dehumanising Muslims and painting them as wrongdoers, it can cause personal damage to them and the way they view themselves which works to control their minds.

The Guardian view on Xinjiang, China, also discusses the USA’s announcement of visa restrictions on Chinese officials believed to be responsible for the ill-treatment on Muslims. However, this will not stop the real extremists from continuing their barbaric torture in these murderous camps, that are being passed off as places of re-education for extremism. The world’s governments are still silent about the organs being harvested from the Muslims trapped inside these camps. Human lives are being destroyed for business purposes, and sold for financial gain, for the piece of paper which we call money.

So much more needs to be done by those in power, both from the West and the East, who can use their authority to put a stop to the ethnic cleansing occurring in China as we speak.

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