‘What we need is sisterhood’ – Salma Yaqoob on feminist opponents of the veil

Salma addressing rally“Veiled Muslim women are caricatured as oppressed victims who need rescuing from their controlling men, while at the same time accused of being threatening creatures who really should stop intimidating the (overly tolerant) majority. What is distinctly lacking is any sense of genuine empathy for British Muslim women and how this ‘debate’ may be impacting on them….

“White feminists who feel they are doing their Muslim sisters a favour should think again. The Muslim community in general, and Muslim women in particular, are on the receiving end of some pretty ugly racism. I don’t ask you to like the choices we make. I simply ask that you respect our rights to make our own choices, and join with us to defend our rights to exercise choices that are freely made. Right now what Muslim women need from non-Muslim women is a little sisterhood.”

Salma Yaqoob at the Guardian’s Comment is Free, 13 October 2006