This event was part of Everybody’s Reading Festival and took place on Sunday 1st October in Phoenix Arts Centre. The room was packed, almost all women, which makes sense in a way, as this event was a discussion about what it means to be female, Muslim and feminist, but I thought it was a shame that not many men turned up. We ought to know more about the lives of women.
In the first part, Rabiha Hannan of New Horizons told us the story of Islam, focusing on the position of women throughout Islam’s history. She told the story like a fairytale, she took us back to the beginning of Islam, and I thought it was nice to learn these things. I wished I would have been taught about different religions as a boy, not in a preachy way, but in a sweet storytelling way, the way Rabiha talked. I learnt about the hijab, honour, polygamy, segregation, full face veil, the Prophet and, amongst many other Muslim women, about Khadijah, who was a very successful and wealthy merchant, and Mohammed’s first wife, with whom the Prophet was monogamously married for 25 years. It helps to learn about other religions, you understand more of what you see happening around you, and religions might divide people, but they can also bring us closer.
As promised in the Festival’s booklet, this was a lively event. In the second part, there was interaction from the audience, and Rabiha was asked so many questions that we stayed well over the one and a half hour the event was supposed to last.
About the reviewer
Alexandros Plasatis is an immigrant ethnographer who writes fiction in English, his second language. His work has appeared in UK and American anthologies and magazines. He is a volunteer at Leicester City of Sanctuary, where he helps find and develop new creative talent within the refugee and asylum seeker community. He lives in Leicester.