Friday, 6 June 2008

Women in Black 5 - Holland

Thursday saw the last episode of Women in Black aired on BBC 2, which you can watch here if you're in the UK.

What did you think of this episode, and the series general? Did you feel that it really did help to get rid of misconceptions, or did it create more?

I also found this article in the Guardian, for more behind the scenes info:

I'm the wrong kind of Muslim for the TV

Huma Qureshi
The Observer, Sunday April 27 2008

Something's been missing in my television viewing pleasure and it's not just Ugly Betty or The OC. What could it be? Oh, it's been a while since we had our latest round of 'Let's look at Muslims' documentaries; there's been no Make me a Muslim or Divorce Sharia-style for ages.

Perhaps it's because Alan Sugar is doing such a wonderful job of filling the scary-old-man-with-beard quota on The Apprentice - who knows? But if anyone has been missing their near-weekly dose of jilbabs and jihadis, fret not - the good old BBC is bringing Muslims back again. Woohoo!

A new five-part series on Muslim women called Women in Black starts next week. The series boldly goes where no undercover Dispatches investigative journalist has ever been before. Yes, you guessed it, under the burka. Ever wondered what lies beneath? Jack Straw did.

Last summer, I was asked to take part in the programme. The makers said they wanted to shatter stereotypes and show the empowered, modern, young, cool Muslim woman (presumably because we haven't gone off the rails like the modern, young, British, uncool Muslim man). Would I take part? 'Of course,' I said. Am I not empowered and modern and Muslim and cool? Hell, yes.

Read the rest here.


Anonymous said...

I dont agree with the way the Morrocan bride was dressed at the end of the show.. wearing the western dress, yet showing her bare flesh. This is wrong islamically. What is the point of trying to be covered up, yet expose flesh infront of men present. I don't understand that? I have Morrocan friends, and seen some of their family wedding pictures..pretty similar.

Anonymous said...

there was nothing islamic in this programme at all, a complete waste of opportunity, me and my mates could have done a better job doin the programme,

Anonymous said...

I think the show has really set a confusion of what a Muslim identity is all about...i understand that culture is important to us but it has almost let go of the significance of Islam and the core values it teaches its followers. 'Women in Black' should have really concentrated on this..the show could not even diffrentiate between Islam and Cultue...anything which was cultural and seen wrong (which has no relevance in Islam) was known as 'conservative' Islam!


julaybeeba said...

i thought it was beautifully done. Islam comes in different shapes and sizes. yes it is a reality that we have muslim sisters who choose not to wear hijab....are we supposed to outcast them for it...i dont think so. there are muslims who are gay, some who don't pray, some who date, and some who drink alcohol. i am not one to judge. judgement belongs to Allah ALONE. but at the same time, i am not one to call them non-muslims. if someone acknowledges the fact that they are muslim no matter what it is they do....i acknowledge their testimony even though i may not agree with their decisions or actions because not every muslim is going to agree with mine either

Anonymous said...

I think that we muslims come from such a wide range of cultures that it was hard to cover them all. Like the show in the UK was based primarily on Pakistani muslims. Im Pakistani and I did not agree with the comments made about "us" and also think that the UK is soooo multicultural that people from other backgrounds could be covered also. Saying that each programme was only half an hour long so how much and how well could the different cultures be coverd in that time? Like in the programme about Egypt alot of topics were touched upon (eg female getital mutilation. plastic surgery etc)but none of the topics could be explored in any great depth.

I also believe the programme wasnt made to educate people about Islam but was made to show people that there is more to muslim women than just what they see in the media. Wether they achieved this objective is another matter...


P.s...exuse my bad spelling and tired lol

Fatima & Ali said...

First of all I think Id just like to commend Hayah for doing such an amazing job on keeping all us sisters up to date with the daily going-ons concerning us Muslim women. Now about ‘Women in black’… where do I begin?
I definitely do have an opinion on this programme, as I have spent my last few weeks eagerly waiting for each episode, hoping that the next one will be better than the last...
I found out about this programme through this very blog a few weeks ago, when hayah did the post on the first episode and straight away, my very first thoughts were, ‘ohh yay, a programme about us Muslim women by ‘A Muslima Woman’. That ought to be good’. So I religiously spent the next five weeks eagerly waiting for each episode, reading posts and comments on it, on this blog and trying hard to stop myself from commenting and telling myself to wait till the end, just in case I would find something good to say about it after all.
Having grown up in Holland till the age of 15 and now living in the UK for the last 8 years I feel like I should have been able to relate to at least two of the episodes (4 and 5). But I simply couldn’t. Why? Because I was deluded into thinking that the purpose of this programme was to depict the essence of being a Muslim woman in contemporary society, and to show how skilfully some of us are able to carry this beautiful deen of Islam in today’s world, and make this into an example for the audience. To educate the non-Muslims how we are able to still hold on to our family values, taught to us by the Prophet (P.B.U.H), in a world that is becoming more and more individualistic by the day. To show how those who practice this deen are able to shed the vain baggage this materialistic world lugs on our shoulders and learn to be happy with what our creator bestowed us with. Instead we get to find out what Muslim women wear under their abayas, how important waxing is in the lives of veiled women and that most of us can not even distinguish between our faith and culture. Now I know that some may think that everything presented in this programme was real and those things do happen in the Muslim world and we should be open minded enough to accept reality. But in my opinion that is just delusional talk. The core belief of our Deen is to speak out against actions which contradict with islam. This hadith is pure example of that “If someone
from you sees something forbidden by the Shari’ah,
change it by your hand, and if you cannot make it by
your hand, stop the sin by your tongue, and if you
cannot – then at least by your heart, and this will be
the weakest demonstration of belief

Now I am not saying that I am perfect Muslim but what I am saying is that the desire to be good is rooted deep within us all and if it isn’t, it should be. I am a Muslim woman who wear a hijab, but not the abaya or the but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think wearing an abaya is not better than what I am doing, in fact I am able to admit that because of my own short comings I am unable to take the next step. the respect for people who wear an abaya or a niqab is there in my heart and the desire to the same someday is ever present.

So when the program talks about liberated Muslim women and covering up being a personal choice and presents this kind of attitude depicted right from our very own to the rest of the world, it really ticks me off. Because in my humblest opinion wearing the hijab isn’t a personal choice, its one of the rules we promised to keep when we willfully entered the contract of being a muslim and a believer in Allah swt. Either the programme should have clearified that its aim was to show different cultures of mulsim countries or kept to its promise and showed how real practicing Muslim women live their lives.
(i am so sorry for the out burst Hayah, hope you wont mind too much) :D

Hayah said...

Anon, I don't think she was trying to 'cover up'...

Fatima, no worries, thanks for articulating that! I pretty much agree with you about the show. I mean what do they want us to do when they say 'hey, look at Muslims committing haram'. Am I supposed to applaud and say well done, look how progressive we are?

Throughout the show they had the attitude that in order for Muslim women to 'find a balance' between being Muslim and living the West, they somehow had to give up their religion. Amani kept talking about how difficult it is for us, as we're constantly conflicted blah blah, but to be honest, I'm not. The most difficult decisions I have to make are whether to eat baklawa for dessert or vanilla ice cream (tough, I know).

But I think that hijab IS a choice, just as we may choose not to pray or fast, no one can force us, but we will be held accountable for it.

Anonymous said...

hayah, the bride mentioned that she couldn't wear one of the dresses, because its too revealing, showing too much flesh at the back....however she goes ahead and wears one on her wedding day, showing more flesh! Anyway, im in no place to judge, only god.


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