Zaiba Malik

This article is from 2010.

Zaiba Malik

Attempting to dispel a few myths about Islam

Zaiba Malik’s experience of her Muslim faith has been one of humility, humour, exploration, and horror. It has taken her from the comedy and anxieties of a childhood in Bradford to imprisonment in Bangladesh for ‘anti-state activities’, while filming a documentary. Having grown up with a father who, though he was ‘a very devout man, never taught his wife or daughters that they had to hide their face in public or even cover their hair’, she decided to spend one day wearing the niqab, along the way drawing responses from curiosity to abuse. ‘I feel that more often than not, it is used as a political statement, to identify a woman as a Muslim in a global climate where Muslims feel that they are under attack.’

So how does she believe this should be addressed, both for Muslims and non-Muslims? ‘I’m all for different ways to support and promote a non-radical version of Islam whether that be through film, fashion, books, comedy etc. Islam has been misrepresented for many years and we need to find creative ways to reclaim our faith.’ This was the reason Malik put some humour into her book, We’re a Muslim, Please. ‘I didn’t want it to be an academic script or alien to the readers. A minority of people have managed to give a very warped version of my faith; many of the concepts which extremists talk about are as alien to me as they are to non-Muslims and it’s vital that the majority become more vocal and active in countering this view.’

22 Aug, 4.30pm, £7 (£5).

Zaiba Malik

Growing up in Bradford in the 1970s, Zaiba Malik lived just round the corner from Shehzad Tanweer, a man who went on to detonate a bomb on a London train in 2005. Both were torn between two identities: ‘British’ and ‘Muslim’. Published on the 5th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, this award-winning journalist’s…

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