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Being Muslim in Today’s Britain

Image by Tobias Faisst

The title of Autograph ABP current photography exhibition reads You Get Me? as to give voice to the frustration that the twenty four Muslim British young men – portrayed in the images by photographer Mahtab Hussain – expressed when asked about what it means to be being a Muslim man in today’s Britain. It’s not hard to see why those three words have been chosen to encapsulate their feelings: not everyone seems to get them.

Between the hysterical anti-Muslim campaigns run by the ELD (English Defence League), the trail of Islamophobia sparked by the recent terrorist attacks that shook Britain, and the socio-cultural segregation that occurs in certain suburban areas, growing up as a working class Muslim man in England is far from being a painless experience.

Aimed at framing the complex intersection that lies behind masculinity, religion, and politics, Hussain’s photographs offer an intimate insight into the life of young British Muslims. Struggling with issues of misrepresentation, the dangerous perpetuation of stereotypes, and the demonisation of an entire culture, it comes with no surprise that young generations of British Asian men often feel alienated and misunderstood.

What about the women belonging to that same community? Where do Muslim women position themselves within British society? And how does society and even their own community see them?

In response to the You Get Me exhibition, the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective will be leading a discussion surrounding gender, religion, and representation in relation to being British and Muslim in today’s Britain. In a moment where acts of violence and populist rhetoric have been used to trigger hatred and racism across the country, to let members of the Muslim community speak up about their feeling has never been so crucial, and it could prevent further divisions to root even deeper in our society’s fragile fabric.

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