Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Hijabi Monologues: Lifting the veil on Irish Muslims

Some of the cast of the Hijabi Monologues with Denise Charlton (bottom right) from the Immigrant Council of Ireland
Some of the cast of the Hijabi Monologues with Denise Charlton (bottom right) from the Immigrant Council of Ireland

Who are we? What do we stand for? Two shows this evening explore identity. What's it like being a Muslim woman in Ireland?

There are now more than 49,000 Muslims living here, and their experiences are being explored this evening when an Irish version of the Hijabi Monologues is staged at Crescent Arts Centre.

The event – free, but you'd better book – combines performances of professional and non-professional actors who perform monologues of real people, among them a refugee, a mother and a Muslim academic in the USA, dramatising their stories.

The show aims to break down stereotypes and assumptions around Muslim women here. Some refuse to see beyond the headscarves or hijabi they choose to wear, sticking labels on them which are very often negative.

But the real-life experiences of many Muslim women are very different. Some choose to wear the hijabi; for others it's a question of faith, culture or tradition.

"The Vagina Monologues was about something very private and putting it in the public sphere," explains one of the performers, Yameema Mitha. "This is the opposite because the hijab is a public statement. So it's about keeping it in the public by trying to get beyond that."

Many generations are depicted here – from young girls to wrinkled grandmothers. Their experiences and emotions are different. All have different stories to tell. What they do have in common is that they – like us – live on the island of Ireland.

We share many hopes and fears. The women whose stories we will hear are not representative of their gender in Ireland. But who is? What they will do is to challenge our views and prejudices.

Someone else who challenged prejudices was poet John Hewitt. And three of Ireland's foremost poets will mark his birthday – in the Belfast pub named after him. Peter Fallon, Paula Meehan and Sinead Morrissey will read from his work in a night promising beautiful words, quiet reflection and a toast to the man himself – even though he didn't drink.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Virgo:

Your intense personal charisma attracts lots of romantic attention. If you're single, you will have your choice of several admirers. Go with the person who recognises and values your creative side. Too often, people write you off as a worker bee. They don't realise what a vivid imagination you have. Are you in a relationship? You and your amour may enjoy a passionate encounter. Satisfy your sensual urges. They are a powerful manifestation of your desire for physical closeness.More