Khan is able to collect the stories of various female Muslim writers who cover a variety of topics; from race, to sexuality, to fashion and the media, the common thread which runs through all of them is the perception-or lack of-of Muslim women in modern Britain. Frequently marginalised, perpetually fetishized, forever seen via the narrow prism of their burqa, alternatively used as the stick with which to beat Muslim men for their perceived innate misogyny or for their lack of integration, we are forever hearing stories about Muslim women, but never hearing from Muslim women themselves and even when we do, their stories are so sanitised that they are rendered completely artificial.
A number of key themes are explored within the various articles in the book. One of the central ones is the commodification of the burqa in the fashion industry, one where the promotion of Muslim women in fashion outlets is driven by making money rather than from a sincere desire to diversify the representation of non-white women in fashion. The other key theme is around the expectations set around Muslim in the media. They are either expected to have some sort of ‘Muslim agenda’ or are expected so bland or neutral in their political leanings or opinions that any deviation from this leads to their immediate castigation; they are allowed to have an opinion so long as they don’t upset the apple cart, any sympathy or views they express, however nuanced, outside of the immediately leads to their demonisation, to their association with Islamic terrorism or of being anti-Western.
As one of the writers states, Muslim women experience the triple barrier of being a woman, being an ethnic minority and being Muslim-a fourth one could be added of-for those who wear one-the burqa and all of the stereotypes and negative connotations it brings. So book such as this, which allow Muslim women to express themselves and give them a voice, which allow them to break free from the stereotypes which constrain them, are vital in allowing others to understand the issues and concerns they experience and for them to regain their sense of humanity.