Earlier this month, Tell MAMA, the organisation which measures anti-Muslim attacks in the UK, released its latest annual report for 2016, highlighting “the gendered nature of anti-Muslim prejudice at a street level”. It noted a 47% rise in street-based incidents and of these, 56% of the victims were female.
The fact that black Muslim women sit at the particular intersection of anti-racism, misogyny and Islamophobia is something that has, in recent times, been voiced and the report itself acknowledges a “need to fully understand the intersectional nature of anti-Muslim hatred where race, gender and anti-Muslim prejudice intersect”. The greatest impact is reportedly felt by “visible Muslim women” — those wearing Islamic clothing such as the hijab (headscarf), niqab (face veil) and the abaya (loose over-robe). When combined with specifically anti-black racism, where then does this leave black Muslim women?
Black and Muslim in Britain, an online project which launched during Black History Month this year, collates experiences of influential black Muslims in the UK, giving a platform to stories and experiences that are often sidelined or erased completely. On episode five of the series, in response to the question ‘what does it feel like to be black and Muslim in the UK?’, Halimat Shode, writer and founder of The Black Muslim Times UK, explains: “To me, it’s to be erased from many conversations and discussions around identity.