The Executive Editor of Muslimgirl.com, Azmia Magane, met with two of the Muslim Girl Clique’s writers, Munna Hazime and Jummanah Abu Samra, on March 27, to share with Muslims and writers their individual and collective experiences in relation to writing as a means of activism and healing at Muslimgirl.com, along with sharing their insights on how they practice writing.
For Hazime, writing empowers her to write about the very culturally taboo topics that she most probably would “shy away from” in real life conversations.
“Writing is a kind of reclaiming my power with culturally taboo topics,” Hazime said. “It’s just like growing up and thinking ‘okay, I have all these ideals surrounding me and all these expectations regarding how I should act, how I should present myself to people, and what I should wear to be respectable and modest.’ And for me, writing allowed me to kind of reclaim the conversations around those topics.”
Being an overseas writer and a non-native speaker of English, Abu Samra writes to encourage other Muslim women to not repress their voices just because they believe they lack capabilities.
“I see in my community those from my generation, they have this kind of voice within themselves, but they’re too intimidated or too shy of the idea that they’ll just voice themselves in a publication or any other medium that would make them exposed to the world,” Abu Samra said. “No one is talking about what you feel when you want to do this. You get this imposter syndrome and feel like ‘maybe I’m not good enough for this now’.”
Magane talked about how “sacred” writing is for her and how she finds it spiritually healing in ways that brought her closer to her Lord and everyone in the Clique.
“Writing is one of the times I actually felt closest to Allah (SWT) because I’m able to tap into myself in a way I don’t experience myself in my day-to-day life. There’s just something that is so healing and so spiritual about it for me that it becomes a sacred process every time I sit down to write,” Magane said. “Even when I edit the pieces for the writers at Muslimgirl.com, it still brings me this moment where I’m able to kind of connect with you guys — even from such a distance, and even through this pandemic.”
For Magane, Hazime, and Abu Samra, Muslimgirl.com has been the refuge where they’ve found themselves visible and heard. “When I found Muslimgirl.com in 2016, it was just a breath of fresh air. I felt much like what you guys felt. This is my place where I could talk about the things that I wanted to talk about as we weren’t represented in the media the way we are today,” Magane said. “I believe Muslimgirl.com as a media source counteracts those untrue statements out in the media. It has been an all-encompassing source of information that is not regulated,” Hazime added.
Sharing insights and advice to other writers who want to join the Clique or start writing in general, Hazime emphasized the importance of staying true to oneself.
“For me, I’d say ‘practice’ because by practicing, you’ll get this kind of mindset that you are still a ‘work in progress,’ and when you realize that, you’ll be less harsh on yourself,” Abu Samra said. “And quite honestly, we want to hear about what’s important to you — what lights you up, whether it’s with joy or with fire from rage. The stories that we want are your stories — that’s why we’re here,” Magane added.
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