Hip In A Hijab

Friday 9 January

11.00am-11.30am

BBC RADIO 4

Writer Shelina Janmohamed explores what it means to be young, female and Muslim today. She meets the Mipsterz – or Muslim Hipsters – and other fashionable, educated, young Muslim women confronting cultural stereotypes and negotiating their futures.

The most recent census figures show that one in 20 children under five in England and Wales is a girl raised a Muslim – but who are they and how do they envisage their futures? The popular press and the mass media might leave the impression that Muslim girls are either all shy, submissive wallflowers or aspiring terrorists. And yet statistics show that young Muslim women growing up in the UK are among the most academically high-achieving of their peer group. Add to this the boom in social media and Instagram which has offered them both the chance for self-expression and a window into a world of like-minded young Muslim women domestically and abroad, and what you've got is the very modern phenomenon of a new tribe of highly-educated, fiercely ambitious, pop culture loving young women intent on claiming what they consider their birth right.

But as more and more gifted young Muslim women assert their identities, what also needs to be acknowledged is that within Islamic communities there is a potentially major culture clash waiting to happen. Will the backlash against secularism in many communities, the pressures of tradition and culture mean that despite the glowing grades and the hijabi swagger, the Mipsterz and their sisters may not achieve their dreams? Shelina investigates.

Presenter/ Shelina Janmohamed, Producer/ Anna McNamee for a Whistledown production

BBC Radio 4 Publicity