Hey I saw your tips for drawing muslims but do you have any for writing them?
hello hello, thanks for the ask!
WRITING MUSLIM CHARACTERS
stereotypes to avoid
– the “oppressed hijabi” trope
listen, most of us wear hijab because we want to. because we grew up around it. because it’s as natural as wearing a shirt. please stop acting as though we all despise our hijab and our religion
– the “misunderstanding parents” trope
why are all muslim parents emotionally or physically abusive in fiction? i personally have an amazing relationship with my parents. also not all muslim parents are trying to suck the joy out of their children’s lives. they’re just trying to keep their kids safe. also this trope usually gets pretty racist because the reason they don’t understand their child is because they’re “not from here” and “don’t get how things are done” so yknow, avoid that.
– the “abusive dad” trope
listen. i’m fully aware that abusive parents are horrible and something that people should be made aware of, but when every muslim dad in fiction is abusive, that’s just islamophobia. just. give us good relationships with our family!!!
– the “silent mom” trope
how come muslim mothers in fiction have no lines? have no voice? they’re just silent products of a household there to cook and clean. what is that all about?? please. just stop
– the “White Boy Romance” trope
oh, all muslims know where i’m going with this Do. Not. Have. A. Hijabi. Take. Off. Her. Hijab. For. A. White. Boy. please. don’t have her take it off, period. but especially not for romance. actually, if your narrative involves a muslim girl stepping away from her religion and taking off her hijab and realizing she’s happier this way, throw the whole story away. i’m sorry, but if you’re not muslim, this isn’t something for you to write about. this is not your story to write, and writing it will be extremely islamophobic. avoid a typical romance. muslim romances do not occur the way western romances do. either you gotta be okay with that and write it properly, or you should do your best to avoid it altogether.
THINGS TO DO
– let them have friends!! let them have muslim friends!! especially if they live in an area that has a high muslim population.
– let them talk about things that aren’t their religion. listen, my muslim friends and i talk about religion occasionally, but i can assure you, more of our conversation revolves around the hot boy of the week or about whatever shows we’re watching. and in terms of non-muslim friends, religion isn’t a point of tension. we respect and celebrate our differences, and that’s it. we talk about it sometimes, but we don’t argue about it
– make it clear that we’re muslim without just saying it. have us take a step aside to pray. have a character compliment our hijabs. have us fast in ramadan (or make up fasts in the winter). have us eat halal meat. say bismillah before we eat. say alhamdulillah after sneezing or when we’re thankful. subhanallah when we see something beautiful
– we’re not nuns. we find people attractive. we discuss it. it’s not a big deal
– make sure we have a personality that doesn’t revolve around our religion. yes, our religion can be a huge aspect of our identity and life, but no, it’s not the only thing. make them obsessed with a show. give them nervous habits. what do they collect? are they introverted? you tell me!
– avoid intimately close friendships with the opposite gender. casual acquaintances is fine, but this is something i would personally avoid writing if possible
– research what is haram. i’ll give you a basic list:
- meat that isn’t halal
- gelatin (unless it’s plant gelatin or from a halal store)
- missing prayers
- sex before or outside of marriage
- cheating in any way
- abuse towards your family (yes, this may come as a shock to some, but it’s actually prohibited by islam)
do more research, of course, but this is a basic list.
i think that about covers it: don’t stereotype us, make sure it’s noticeable that we’re muslims, give us personalities, and make sure we’re avoiding haram stuff
before anyone comes at me: i’m aware that there are muslims who don’t follow the rules and who do haram things and who don’t like their religion and don’t have stable family relationships etc, etc. BUT when that is our only representation in media, it’s islamophobic. show us good muslims, who like their religion, whose religion is their identity, who don’t feel like their religion is causing them to lose out. because we exist.
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