Europe’s controversial stance and inflammatory language surrounding the burqa puts Muslim women, veiled or not, in a tight spot. Instead of donning a low profile, some Muslim women are turning to music to speak their minds.
European Muslimahs are defying stereotypes by promoting their art and pushing themselves front and center. Take Diam’s, a French recording artist who shot to fame with her 2006 album Dans Ma Bulle (In My Bubble). Born in Cyprus, Diam’s raps about discrimination, poverty, and social ills in France, where she was raised. She catapulted to stardom when her 2006 album sold more than a million copies, receiving international praise, including an MTV award for Best French Act in 2006.
Her follow-up album took three years to materialize, as Diam’s coped with depression and turned to Islam while travelling in Africa. Many media outlets speculated her motives, claiming she turned to Islam to overcome fear and doubt. Feminists in France criticized her conversion. An article titled, “The Rebel submits to Islam” does a good job of detailing some of the criticism Diams faced after embracing Islam. As Bitch Magazine reports, the French women’s rights group Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Submissives) was straight-up bitchy when interviewed by the French daily Le Parisien regarding Diams’ conversion.
“With this new image, Diams’ represents submission, tradition and isolation,” says Safia Labdi, the organization’s president. “Diams’ has had a hard time. She was lost, and found herself by wearing the veil. This is something that we unfortunately see with a lot of young girls.” (sic)