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In Review: Stories, Journeys and Belonging “A Journey of Love crystallises the human and aspirational traits ofImam Husayn.� As Arbaeen approaches it is hoped that a continuous state of introspection from Muharram onwards would spark an internal revolution that quashes all Yazidi traits and enlivens our Husayni qualities to achieve victory. This annual reminder of our obligatory greater jihad is reflected in a series of art pieces currently on display by Intifada Street, an art company founded by artist and activist

Sharing Our Stories At the end of September I was privileged to see the Hijabi Monologues come to London. Based on a secular feminist monologue first shown in the US in 1996, the HM is now an international project that tells of the real life experiences of Muslim women. Using the original uncensored and unfiltered model, it seeks to tell the stories of hijabis that convey a spiritual journey mired by earthly sufferings. Did it succeed? For the most part, yes. The monologues were honest, candid and refreshing. It was heartening to listening to stories unfold that could so easily have been my own. They expressed an experience of isolation, tension and


November 2017

Muhammad Hamza which gives voice to the untold story of the oppressed. Journey of Love is an exhibition framed by the 7th century journey of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad(s) to Karbala. It emphasises the Husayni qualities of truth, love, beauty and freedom from oppression. Exploring similar themes and a deeply personal reflection of the inspirational story of Imam Husayn (a), this labour of love also reflects a contemporary struggle. Journey of Love is on at the Islamic Human Rights Commission until early December.

confusion that was often an internalisation of feelings of another's fear. The performances were convincing and engaging causing me to shudder, laugh and almost cry. A pre-performance conversation with an advisor of the organisation that funded the London play made it apparent that she had questioned the legitimacy of this project being accepted for funding. Her concern was that it did not promote a positive image of Islamic arts and culture which was one of the prerequisites for funding. By the end of the performance she was as convinced, as I was certain, that it was a worthwhile collection of stories that needed to be told. Where I became

disheartened was in the fact that many of the stories were taken from the first US performance in 2006 penned by the original writer and licence holder Sahar Ullah. The callout earlier this year, and the title, had given the impression that current stories from the UK would be used. In essence, the stories would be relatable but instead narrations from other places were re-contextualised to fit in with our understanding. A story centred on American football was edited with soccer references to suit its new location. For me this was disappointing as was the fact that the retelling of our stories in this format is now under licence.

The Hijabi Monologues are available to view on YouTube

Islam Today issue 53 November 2017  

A monthly magazine on faith, belief, community, interfaith, health and more...