When was the last time you heard a Muslim woman speak for herself without a filter? 

Shortlisted for Foyles Non-Fiction Book of the Year. 
‘Engrossing . . . fascinating . . . courageous’ – Observer.

In 2016, Mariam Khan read that David Cameron had linked the radicalization of Muslim men to the ‘traditional submissiveness’ of Muslim women. Mariam felt pretty sure she didn’t know a single Muslim woman who would describe herself that way. Why was she hearing about Muslim women from people who were neither Muslim, nor female?

Years later the state of the national discourse has deteriorated even further, and Muslim women’s voices are still pushed to the fringes – the figures leading the discussion are white and male.

Taking one of the most politicized and misused words associated with Muslim women and Islamophobia, It’s Not About the Burqa is poised to change all that. Here are voices you won’t see represented in the national news headlines: seventeen Muslim women speaking frankly about the hijab and wavering faith, about love and divorce, about feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country. With a mix of British and international women writers, from activist Mona Eltahawy’s definition of a revolution to journalist and broadcaster Saima Mir telling the story of her experience of arranged marriage, from author Sufiya Ahmed on her Islamic feminist icon to playwright Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s moving piece about her relationship with her hijab, these essays are funny, warm, sometimes sad, and often angry, and each of them is a passionate declaration calling time on the oppression, the lazy stereotyping, the misogyny and the Islamophobia.

What does it mean, exactly, to be a Muslim woman in the West today? According to the media, it’s all about the burqa.

Here’s what it’s really about.


An incredibly important collection of essays that explores the pressures of being a Muslim woman today. These essays are passionate, angry, self-effacing, nuanced and utterly compelling in every single way — Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant

Wide-ranging . . . engrossing . . . fascinating . . . these essays take a courageous and panoramic view of Muslims, Observer

landmark anthology . . . frank and engaging essays on sex and religion, mental health in the Muslim community and queer identity from an impressive selection of writers and activistsCosmopolitan

Essential reading for our times. These essays are funny, angry, hopeful, sorrowful and inspired – and will leave you feeling much the same — Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink and Stars

An intelligent and much needed book, Red Magazine

It’s about pushing past the stereotype placed on Muslim women and hearing the individuals themselves; it’s required readingStylist

Refreshing, insightful and occasionally rawIt’s Not About the Burqa is a phenomenal collection of essays by a very diverse range of Muslim womenAn absolute must read for anyone wanting to better understand the lives and experiences of Muslim Women in the West. — Akeela Ahmed

The result is It’s Not About the Burqa, 17 brilliantly wide-ranging essays covering everything from the rise of the sexualised Islamic influencer, to the Quran’s take on bisexuality – and of course insidious, ugly Islamophobia, i News

Forget the ravings of politicians and pundits, hear from voices who have real, lived experiences across religion, feminism, sex, love and identity, and turn to this nuanced and wide-ranging collection, Emerald Street

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