The miseducation on Islam in western societies is strongly embedded and Malika Seriba Coulibaly, a young Nigerian living in London, has breached those misinterpretations, created on a religion the west seems to not understand.
Outspoken and confident Malika wants to end with the misconceptions on how sad, forced and victimized is the Muslim woman. In her teenage years, she decided to wear the Niqab (full-veil, in opposition to the hijab) and asserts “it is my freedom, it is an expression of my faith, it makes me feel empowered.” Highlighting a choice she made independently from any male influence.
Originally from Niger, she lived in France for four years when she was a little girl. Today, she expresses her wish to not go back there, essentially because of the strong tensions existing between French government and Muslim population. Then her family immigrated to the United States in the Maryland where she started wearing the Niqab. A situation that didn’t make her feel as confident as she is now, in London.
Arrived in the city two years ago, she shares the sense of freedom she got when she arrived: “in London, Muslim community is more visible and strong.” To her experience, wearing the Niqab in London is simpler than in the United States. However, the Muslim community integration is not welcomed by everyone and nasty looks are not rare.
In a time where the reality of islamophobia is greater every day, Malika voices her sensation of unfairness toward the multiple Niqab bans that occurred in many Western and African countries, officially to ensure the territory security toward terrorist threat. She denounces the intolerance of western population toward Muslim religion, arguing that no one was asking the regular western tourists in Niger to wear a veil, despite Islam is the main religion in the country, at a rate of 98%.
On the other side, she also reveals her concerns about going back to the United States where her family is leaving. Even if Niger wasn’t on the list of countries banned by Donald Trump, she doesn’t think she will keep her veil back there.
Passionate and good speaker, Malika has made it clear through the interview, she is free, independent and she makes her own choice. Except for the man she wants to date, or for her future husband. In fact, before goes out with a man, a Muslim woman has to wait for the approval of ‘the guardian”, which can be her dad, her brother or her uncle, it does not really matter as long as it is a male relative. She confesses the difficulty to talk about it: “it is complicated to talk to a west crew as I know you will not understand.”
And she is right. This practice tends to be surprising in our society as it suggests the servitude of the woman regarding the men of her family. She doesn’t have the freedom to choose the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. However, she seems excited about that practice arguing she will avoid to “waist time with the bad ones!”