For this episode, I was joined by Khadija Khan, a journalist, and commentator based in the UK. She writes for different publications focusing on human rights, women’s rights, as well as minorities, and extremism. This was an incredibly hard-hitting interview sharing the authentic experience of a woman growing up in a male-dominated society. You get to hear what it’s like to be sexually assaulted and can do nothing about it. You get to hear about the limited options given to women growing up in Pakistan and Afghanistan. You feel sad that these women never got to know what real freedom feels like.
We started off the conversation by getting a quick introduction to Khadija’s work in Pakistan and how society received her criticisms of Islam and the patriarchal hierarchy particularly when it comes to the treatment of women and other minorities. Khadija then went on to clarify who the minorities are in Pakistan and why their plight needs to be amplified by people with platforms. She powerfully recounts her experiences of living in Pakistan as a working woman and paints the harsh reality of what this means.
The conversations then moved onto the topic of Islamic law and how it is applied to rape victims. We also discussed the societal attitudes towards rape victims and divorcees and how this perpetuates the rape culture while shielding the culprits from facing any consequences for their heinous acts.
We also discussed the move by the Taliban to replace the ministry of women’s affairs with the morality police and what this means for women’s rights in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Khadija then closed off this conversation by recounting her experience being introduced to the hijab at a much younger age.
This was such a great episode, I hope you enjoy listening!