BBC wants white female Muslims (again)

Wanted: Single White Female (Muslims) |

The BBC issued an advert asking for “Caucasian” white Muslim women to contribute to a programme about their lives since 9/11. They say:

The BBC World Service, Heart and Soul series, is making a programme on Caucasian Female Muslim converts to Islam over the last 10 years since 9/11. We are looking for Muslim sisters happy to share their own personal experiences of converting into a faith which has been on the political agenda over the past decade. The basis of this programme is to mark 9/11 by celebrating these personal, spiritual journeys. The programme will be broadcast on radio internationally.

I’m not going to publish the contact details, because I am sick of media features on converts to Islam overwhelmingly concentrating on white women. There have been so many such features and so often they come with the subtext of “why would a white, middle-class woman want to be a Muslim?”. It’s as if we did not live in a multicultural society and converts to Islam do not come from all of the various ethnic backgrounds and both sexes — why do they not want to hear from black women converts, for example? There are a huge number of them, particularly in London. When I first converted, I heard the story of a man of Hindu background who converted to Islam and was thrown out of the family home by his father when this was discovered. Why are these stories not worth telling?

The bit about being broadcast “internationally” is a clue — perhaps they think foreign audiences want to hear about “real British people” rather than those of foreign backgrounds (needless to say, it doesn’t matter if you are of a white foreign background). White Muslims are not new; they have existed in Turkey, Syria, Bosnia and many other places for centuries. Although at least one of the two contacts is a Muslim, the same might not be true of the others involved in the programme and so the sneering judgementalism found in other documentaries of this type might be just as obvious in this, so if the open racial bias does not put you off, I would advise extreme caution.

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