Muslima Image Project

In 2013 and 2014 Media Literacy Project worked with women studying applied communication at Dubai Women's College. This project began as a collaboration on a counter-ad. Diesel put forth an advertisement that sexualized Muslim women. Students in Dubai took new photographs of women in niqab to replace the Diesel photo in our counter-ad. Conversations began about the ways that niqab is employed to represent Muslim women, but that Muslima identity is much more diverse than niqab shows.

"In our journalism class, our teacher brought our attention to the Diesel ad using a woman wearing niqab and showing parts of her body. After the class discussion, we decided to create a photo for the counter-ad to be used by Media Literacy Project,” Khawla Al Rahma said. “We, however, felt uncomfortable because Muslim women were presented wearing a niqab, and we felt this might contribute to stereotypes about Muslim women especially in the West.”

Thus, the Muslima Image Project was born!  Media Literacy Project invited these students to produce photos that show their experiences as Muslim women. “The Muslima Image Project is a collaboration between MLP and our group to present the variety of looks of Muslim women in different Muslim traditions. The images that are presented in this project use the niqab, shaila and Abaya, Hijab, and a non-covered Muslim woman. The white rose is a symbol of peace, purity, and perfection, which we chose to symbolize Islam,” Al Rahma said.

Credits:  Photo: Khawla Al Rahma and Khulood Al Rahma; Women in the photos: Mthayel Mohammed, Khadija Al Marar, Ameera Arif, Tala Bitar and Khwala Mohamed Nasser Saleh Alrahma

Special thanks to two faculty members at Dubai Women’s College that made this project happen: Rajaa Jabr, Faculty of Journalism and Corporate Communication, and Deran Browne, Faculty of Media Production.