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Accepted Paper:

Faith-inspired and ethically driven political activism by British Muslim women: Examples of political activism.  
Shahanara Begum (Birmingham City University)

Paper short abstract:

British Muslim women are politically active in their local communities, politics and social media platforms. Using qualitative interviews, this paper demonstrates the political action and activities of British Muslim women who are inspired by their faith and ethics to carry out political activism.

Paper long abstract:

There is a plethora of research on Muslim women based on stereotypes and popular discourses where Muslim women are ‘simultaneously and paradoxically both in need of saving and increasingly symbolic of threat’ with their political participation in the West rarely considered (Easat-Daas 2020:1). But recent studies show Muslim women as increasingly politicized and politically visible post 9/11 and 7/11 (Joly and Wadia 2017; Lewicki and O’Toole 2017; Massoumi 2015; Rashid 2014), thus challenging prevalent stereotypes and providing an alternative framing of Muslim women. This paper explores the political activism of British Muslim women using qualitative interview data to demonstrate the increased salience of Muslim women activists in local communities and social media. But why do Muslim women participate in political activism? What are their motivations and how do they do political activism? In their words, British Muslim women hope to ‘create a fairer society’ by participating in different types of political activism from grass-roots campaigns, online social media, creative activities to setting up networks and organisations. They are motivated by their ‘religion’ and seeking ‘justice for people’ and ‘fairness and equality’: they participate in a variety of political activities. Overall, I argue that if researchers want to study Muslim women, they must move beyond the binary frameworks of ‘oppressed’ versus ‘threat’ and recognise Muslim women’s activist role and contribution to British society as informed, interested and empowered Muslim women. This paper concludes that British Muslim women participate in many political actions and activities.

Panel P137b
Religion, Political Participation, and Civic Engagement
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -