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Musings of a Mum: Paucity of justice

19th Mar 2021
Musings of a Mum: Paucity of  justice

Justice is at the mercy of the powerful. In any given relationship the powerful have an easier ability to make things right but only if they choose to recognise the struggle of the weaker among them.

As the daffodils come out, the vaccines are being dispensed and spring is in the air. The first woman Zara Mohammed, heading the Muslim Council of Britain gave me another reason to hope; not that it is anything that I aspire towards, but lays a foundation of thought that ‘our voices’ can be heard and considered, I felt braver, more willing to step out of my bubble, the month –dare I say it – felt hopeful?

Up until the Woman’s hour interview… Zara Mohammed’s interview with Emma Barnett made me cringe like I was punched in the gut when not looking. I expect a certain amount of solidarity with women and that carpet was very swiftly rolled back when it came to this achievement of a woman leading a national Muslim civic organisation. The brutal interview made me feel small and (very) angry at the same time.

I may identify myself as a feminist, but its definition has been hijacked by others – with differing values – who choose and define its perimeters conveniently sidelining those who may not fully agree with them. It felt like the only way that Muslims could be taken seriously in places of public service, is if they criticise their communities showing superiority over their own. It is not that I’m blind, or do not wish to face our shortcomings. I do, but I am not willing to share them on a platform that can be used against them. My community is still a part of me. There seems to be no room for manoeuvre in these conversations.

I have concluded that the only person worth listening to when it comes to improving my communities, my service or advising on my struggles are the ones that have worked that path before or alongside me. Those are the ones that truly count. Those that want to criticise need to first understand the social constructs of a situation before making any attempts to fix it. What the interview showed is the stark power difference, it was obvious to anyone watching that the relentless questioning looked like a stronger person bashing a weaker person in.

The question I find myself asking; is that action justified because the individual has placed themselves forward or do you withhold your strength because of your position of power?

These power differences (in relationships) exist everywhere in our lives, my relationship with the Baby bears,Papa bear and friends. We recently ordered food from a family that has recently settled here. Their food came highly recommended and I was excited to be supporting a refugee family as I haven’t done a lot otherwise. The food was not the best, but I was in awe of the woman who is attempting to make life better for herself. Could I criticise her food publicly? It was within my rights to do so, but, should I have?

A similar power struggle plays out when we are managing children. We have a right to tell them what to do, wear, think and rule over them, however, should we simply because we can? When are we justified to use that power?

I have come to understand that in any position of authority, one needs to be very careful of preserving the dignity of the weak (er). A debasement of human dignity does not strengthen the perpetrator nor the person they are seeking to empower. Our actions have to be underpinned by an understanding or a strong intention to understand the contexts that shape the actions of the people around us.

Aasiya Versi

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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