Society is so busy speaking for Muslim women, they never get a chance to speak for themselves, writes documentary filmmaker Mehreen Baig
Some people will say you can’t be a strong woman because Islam is oppressive, others say you can,” the former English teacher tells Newsbeat.
In a new BBC programme called Islam, Women And Me, the 28-year-old hears from women who claim Islam is a feminist religion and others who believe it’s inherently sexist.
As a British Pakistani Muslim woman, I spend half of my time being told by the world that I am being held back by my religion, or that I am not religious enough.
“In a world where often Muslim women are spoken for and spoken about, it’s good to speak to women first-hand,” she says.
Mehreen says that growing up her family were not practising Muslims but they were strict – and before she raises kids she wants to know whether that was because of religion.
“I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things my friends were doing, things like going on school trips or sleepovers or wearing my school skirt.
“I never questioned if it was my religion or culture or just my parents, but as you get older you start to question things,” she says.
“It may even be worse for girls growing up now, they hear so many things in the news about being a Muslim woman and being a British woman, almost like the two can’t go hand-in-hand.”
Mehreen, who appeared in the Bafta award winning Muslims Like Us, feels her religion “empowers me as a woman”, but during the programme meets a woman who has left the faith.
“I found that conversation to be quite challenging – but it raised all the relevant questions, which set me off on my journey to find answers too.”
Who missed Mehreen Baig on The One Show last week? Catch up now on BBC iPlayer https://t.co/bP5xGGzZcS@thequeenmehreen @BBCTheOneShow @bbciplayer #TheOneShow #BBC #MehreenBaig pic.twitter.com/pq8bXo8yDb
— KBJ Management (@kbjmanagement) January 24, 2018