British Asian Muslim Women, Multiple Spatialities and by Fazila Bhimji (auth.)

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By Fazila Bhimji (auth.)

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In addition to this unskilled migration, skilled migrants also arrived in the UK due to the advantage of the English language as the medium of education in India, particularly at the higher, professional and technical levels (Khadria 2006). In the 1990s, there was a growing number of IT professionals in India and a shortage of IT specialists in the UK. Hence, in this period, the number of British work permits issued to immigrants from India increased steadily and work permit rules were relaxed, because, as it was considered, Britain would 28 British Asian Muslim Women become uncompetitive in many businesses if the current shortage of IT skills continued (Khadria 2006).

As the Times reported, ‘As the confusion over her name suggests, Molly/Misbah is the child of two cultures, British and Pakistani. She is too young to understand the perils of trying to belong wholly to one at the expense of the other, which is a guaranteed route to an identity crisis when she is older’ (Times, 30 November 2006). Thus, the underlying message is that British Muslim women need to have an explicit sense of identity, and if that was not the case then they needed state protection. In this manner, young women who may grow up in Britain with varied outlooks and perspectives are considered to be in a state of crisis and their bicultural and bilingual abilities and cosmopolitan perspectives, to say the least, remain unacknowledged.

She eventually escaped from her husband’s house, took refuge in a hostel for South Asian women and appealed to the Home Office to be allowed to stay on in the UK, but was turned down, even though she explained that she faced potential danger in her village since her father-inlaw threatened to have her killed in Pakistan. Furthermore, the media denies the presence of such a hostel for Asian women. In a sense, the media ignores the fact that there are independent groups, charities and built-in mechanisms within the South Asian Muslim community in the UK who look out for one another; and thus, Asian women do not always have to rely on being rescued by the state.

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