Earlier this month I wrote about a documentary which explored the motives and experiences of female converts to Islam in the UK. I’ve recently come across a rather different treatment of this topic, which focuses on two women from Bristol who converted in 2005. Sukina Abdul Noor and Muneera Rashida, born in Bristol to Jamaican parents, formed Hip Hop Hijabis after finding that they had to battle the views both of those opposed to Islam and those who insisted on the most conservative interpretations of their religion. The belief that music, the female singing voice, was unislamic posed a particular problem for them.
Danish film-maker Mette Reitzel has been working on a documentary about the two friends, and their experiences. She aims to let them speak for themselves, and explore issues – in particular the sometimes fraught relationship between religion and feminism – without providing all the answers. Now, the collision of the words ‘feminism’ and ‘hijab’ make this spring irresistibly to mind - one of the most profoundly irritating things I’ve ever watched:
“The beauty of woman – there is a sign of transcendence. Even the most dead-hearted atheist is inspired by that.”
But – as a welcome counterbalance – here is the fantastic Raquel Saraswati who certainly doesn’t seem impeded in her feminism (or anything else) by hijab. Returning to the Hip Hop Hijabis – you can see an interview with them here, and follow them on twitter here.