Charlotte Bibby | Kiku Basu
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Kiku Basu

March 2017

 

Kiku is a trans-woman and political and social activist. You can follow her page at www.facebook.com/TransHijabi

 

Click below to scroll through extracts from our interview.

 

I started wearing the hijab after I went for a march to save elephants and Rhinos, whilst walking along I went past Trafalgar Square and there was a festival all to do with Malaysia on, so I went to it, tried on my very first hijab and thought I would buy one so I did. Initially thinking I will use it to pray as I am more of a born-again Muslim as opposed to a woman who has practiced Islam continuously. When I put it on I liked it, it made me look more feminine although that is not the only reason. I wear the hijab, so that is the more outward visible form of being a Muslim, that others see when I go somewhere, or even open my front door. The hijab plays a greater identity in how I lead my life, it reminds you of who you are, how to be. More modest not just in clothing but also in mind. It is a reminder of why I am on this earth and I choose to wear it. It is part and parcel of my identity as a woman, I don’t think I can take it off.

 

I face more challenges as a Muslim than as a Trans woman, Trans rights are not the best, although I feel times are changing, people are being more accepting of us, as time progresses I see trans people as a normal part of the architecture so to speak. But as a Muslim I feel hostility on a larger basis from the general public. I have experienced more Islamophobia I would say than Transphobia due to the misconceptions people have. I would just like to say Muslim women are not oppressed because of a piece of cloth on our head. In the name of freedom and liberty the people or western nations are oppressing Muslims and they don’t even see what they are doing. Nobody tells a Sikh man take of that turban you will be free, to think a cloth oppresses a person is obscene.

I agreed to take part in this project as I want people to see the intersectionality of Islam, that it is not a backward religion where by its people need to be liberated a set free. We come from all walks of life and backgrounds and all fall under the umbrella of Islam. More representation is needed, we need to have time on the airwaves to give the correct narrative, we as Muslims need for the media to stop lying about us. For us Muslims it feels like we are Jewish people living in Nazi Germany, we can even imagine being killed here because of our faith. The German people did not kill millions of Jewish people overnight, the hatred was sown over the cause of time, that is what is happening in western nations now, this must stop and it must stop now.

 

I want the world to know Islam is a peaceful religion, that what you hear about the faith in the mainstream media is there to help facilitate fear (Islamophobia). Governments like you to live in constant states of fear, we as Muslims are portrayed as terrorists in the western media narrative, but really, we Muslims are more greatly affected by terror than any other faith.

 

I’d like to live in a world free of hate, a world where people don’t kill each other over power and greed, a world where everybody regardless of skin colour or religion has the same opportunities. There’s a lot that stands in the way of that though. In terms of my own personal hopes and dreams, I would like to be a good Muslim and to go to heaven after I pass away, a simple life is my dream, stress free and fun.