The Hijab Files
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collection by a young Western Sydney poet, focussed on the hijab, and exploring the complexities of growing up
Muslim in Australia
Maryam Azam’s poems take the mysteries of the hijab as their object of scrutiny. Though shamed and angered by the prejudice towards Muslims the scarf arouses, Azam is also aware of its sensuality and allure, and the power and protection it offers. In ‘A Brief Guide to Hijab Fashion’, ‘Miss Khan Takes off her Hijab’ and ‘Places I’ve Prayed’, she reflects on the rich possibilities of the scarf, the moral values it embodies, and the commitment required to maintain these values in a secular society. In another section, ‘Wallah Bro’, she examines the tensions young Muslims experience when negotiating the technology of modern dating. Azam’s style is simple and direct, and informed with humour: it frames as it reveals, showing how ritual confers dignity on gestures and objects.