Parveen Ali Launches Photography Exhibition On Islamophobia

‘Get Out Of My Country’: Woman Launches Photography Exhibition On The Day-To-Day Effects Of Islamophobia

Parveen Ali has been called many things near her home. ‘Paki’, ‘Terrorist’ and ‘Raghead’ are just three examples. This summer, it got so bad she thought she might be forced to move out.

Speaking to RightsInfo, Parveen says she “felt like a prisoner in her own home” after far-right supporters started sharing a video of her in April.

At the time, she told HuffPost UK that people would often laugh in her face, spit on the floor as she walked past, or even tap on her window chanting “Tommy, Tommy”, and “who’s country?, our country?”.

Now Parveen, who’s in her thirties, is sharing her experiences through a new photography exhibition to “share with the world how damaging harassment can be”.

‘The Work Is Very Dark Because I Was In A Dark Place’

The photojournalist, who has previously put together exhibitions on Grenfell and mental health, said that picking up her camera helped her deal with the anxiety the harassment caused.

“I feel that in the news, we see a lot about Islamophobic attacks,” she told RightsInfo, referencing statistics from the Home Office that more than half of religiously motivated attacks are directed at Muslims, while religious hate crimes, in general, have rocketed by more than 40 percent.

“But,” she continued, “we don’t actually see how it affects a person, how day to day living becomes a struggle. In my case, being harassed by my neighbours made me feel like a prisoner in my own home.

“I want to share with the world how damaging harassment can be – photographing how I was feeling helped with my anxiety.”

‘Being Able to Wear What I Want Is A Human Right’

“‘Get Out Of My Country’ is a personal project about me, the work is very dark because I was in a dark place,” she adds.

“I photographed my life in my flat, so it has an intimate feel to it. The images I have chosen are compelling and will enable viewers to see the effects Islamophobia has.”

Parveen Ali looking out of a window

Image Credit: Parveen Ali / Supplied

Her exhibition comes just months after independent monitoring group Tell Mama said there has been a 600% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes reported in Britain in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.

It goes without saying that freedom from discrimination and freedom of religion are part of our fundamental human rights, which are protected in law by the Human Rights Act. And, for Parveen, this isn’t just a piece of legislation, but day to day life.

To be harassed because of the way I dress or look is a form of oppression which I feel violates my human rights.

Parveen Ali

“As a woman who wears a hijab, being able to wear what I want without being discriminated against is a human right,” she explains. “To be harassed because of the way I dress or look is a form of oppression which I feel violates my human rights.”

‘Get Out Of My Country’ opens on Friday, June 7 at Thames Wharf, with a short talk from Parveen and other photojournalists. It will also run for the rest of the weekend. You can see more details here.

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About the Author

Jem Collins

Writer
Jem is the Strategic Impact Director for RightsInfo, working on increasing our reach across the UK and measuring our impact. Previously she was the News and Social Media Editor. She is also passionate about helping young people into the media and runs Journo Resources, a start-up which helps young people into the media, as well as serving as a trustee of the Student Publication Association. She is also one of the co-founders of The Second Source, a group to help end harassment in the media. Email Jem View all posts by Jem Collins.
‘Get Out Of My Country’: Woman Launches Photography Exhibition On The Day-To-Day Effects Of Islamophobia
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