Shared Heritage of Daughters of Eve
Headcoverings - Reflections from women of faith
The hijab, as a part of the Muslim faith, has been heavily politicised over recent years, not only in the UK, but across Europe. Questions around whether the wearing of religious symbols in public should be allowed and the banning of hijab in certain places led us at the Muslim Women’s Council to think about how we could reclaim the narrative from the media and the politicians.
Head coverings are perceived as belonging solely to the Islamic faith: the reality is that the majority of faiths promote female head coverings. It was important to us that this perception was challenged and the shared heritage of head coverings was celebrated in order to help people understand and question their attitudes towards it. To achieve this we brought together women from the Judaic, Christian and Muslim faith backgrounds to celebrate their shared heritage. The book that you hold is a culmination of their stories and conversations.
Shared Heritage of Daughters of Eve Book Launch
A year-long interfaith project on head coverings resulted in the launch of a book at the National Media Museum in Bradford on Tuesday 29th November. Over 200 people, including the project participants, invited dignitaries including the Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Mrs Kate Moreton-Deakin and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Geoff Reid and guests from the Abrahamic faiths, attended the event.
The Muslim Women’s Council led the project and involved women from Christian, Judaic and Muslim faiths, who met frequently over the course of 12 months to share their experiences, stories and journeys through their respective faiths and how head coverings have played a part in their lives. Dinner was provided by MyLahore and Kosher Food was provided by Celia Clyne Banqueting. The National Media Museum also supported the event by providing the Pictureville Theatre for the book launch.
Important speeches were made by the Rt Revd Bishop Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi for Reform Judaism and Dr Shuruq Naguib, Lecturer at Lancaster University. Reflections were also provided by three of the participants: Gillian Holding, Revd Jenny Ramsden and Sofia Rehman.
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner says ‘It was a complete privilege to be involved in this creative and impactful project. This book has the potential both to transform how people see women with head coverings and also women’s lives and relationships with each other’.
Dr Shuruq Naguib says ‘By looking at the Abrahamic heritage of head coverings, the book represents Islam as belonging to a broader historical and cultural experience that has shaped many societies, including in Europe. Transcribed and only minimally edited, the women’s conversations which constitute the bulk of the book are deliberately unmediated by commentary and analysis. This enables their voices to speak directly to us, thus restarting the initial conversation from which the book emerged wherever it may be received and read.’
Bana Gora, CEO of Muslim Women’s Council says ‘The book is a culmination of stories and conversations. We feel that the women not only reclaimed the narrative, but have taken ownership and redefined it.’