Parveen Ali has been called many things near her home. ‘Paki’, ‘Terrorist’ and ‘Raghead’ are just three examples. This summer, it got so bad she thought she might be forced to move out.
Speaking to RightsInfo, Parveen says she “felt like a prisoner in her own home” after far-right supporters started sharing a video of her in April.
At the time, she told HuffPost UK that people would often laugh in her face, spit on the floor as she walked past, or even tap on her window chanting “Tommy, Tommy”, and “who’s country?, our country?”.
Now Parveen, who’s in her thirties, is sharing her experiences through a new photography exhibition to “share with the world how damaging harassment can be”.
‘The Work Is Very Dark Because I Was In A Dark Place’
“I feel that in the news, we see a lot about Islamophobic attacks,” she told RightsInfo, referencing statistics from the Home Office that more than half of religiously motivated attacks are directed at Muslims, while religious hate crimes, in general, have rocketed by more than 40 percent.
Dear Twitter Islamophobia is real. I had a meeting with my landlord today. About being harassed by far right Tommy Robinson supporting neighbours. They are sharing a video of me and I now may have to move home for my safety. @metpoliceuk @DavidLammy @hammersmithandy @NazShahBfd
— Parveen Ali (@HijabiTographer) April 3, 2019
“But,” she continued, “we don’t actually see how it affects a person, how day to day living becomes a struggle. In my case, being harassed by my neighbours made me feel like a prisoner in my own home.
“I want to share with the world how damaging harassment can be – photographing how I was feeling helped with my anxiety.”
‘Being Able to Wear What I Want Is A Human Right’
“‘Get Out Of My Country’ is a personal project about me, the work is very dark because I was in a dark place,” she adds.
“I photographed my life in my flat, so it has an intimate feel to it. The images I have chosen are compelling and will enable viewers to see the effects Islamophobia has.”
Image Credit: Parveen Ali / Supplied
Her exhibition comes just months after independent monitoring group Tell Mama said there has been a 600% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes reported in Britain in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.
It goes without saying that freedom from discrimination and freedom of religion are part of our fundamental human rights, which are protected in law by the Human Rights Act. And, for Parveen, this isn’t just a piece of legislation, but day to day life.
To be harassed because of the way I dress or look is a form of oppression which I feel violates my human rights.
“As a woman who wears a hijab, being able to wear what I want without being discriminated against is a human right,” she explains. “To be harassed because of the way I dress or look is a form of oppression which I feel violates my human rights.”
‘Get Out Of My Country’ opens on Friday, June 7 at Thames Wharf, with a short talk from Parveen and other photojournalists. It will also run for the rest of the weekend. You can see more details here.