The inconvenient Muslim: An evening to launch Homegrown
“Muslims are only ever the object in an endless national conversation around Islam, rarely invited to define their own narratives. Homegrown probed, pushed back, and hoped to move representations of Muslims beyond simple caricatures and crude Orientalist fantasies. For trying to do that we feel we were censored.”
– Nadia Latif and Omar El-Khairy (artistic team Homegrown)
Art dealing with “the Muslim problem” is branded “urgent”, “brave” and “provocative”. But who’s doing the provoking? Who’s getting provoked? And is such work helping move popular narratives beyond the confining parameters of Good Muslims and Bad Muslims?
These are some of the questions Nadia Latif, Omar El-Khairy and their cast sought to explore with the National Youth Theatre in the summer of 2015. They wanted to ask if programmes like Prevent are stopping people from getting drawn towards violence, or creating an environment which simply puts a whole community on the backfoot?
Their play was deemed inappropriate for public performance. Rehearsals were shut down amidst ambiguous circumstances. And when a publication of the script was proposed, publishers backed out.
Now the artists have decided to go it alone. To celebrate the launch of Homegrown as a self-published play text, Index on Censorship hosts an evening to explore these questions with members of the original cast, creative team and an expert panel. Together they will ask, what needs to change?
- Clara Glynn, TV and Radio Writer/Director (credits including A World Elsewhere)
- Madani Younis, Artistic Director of The Bush Theatre
- Malia Bouattia, NUS President
- Nazish Khan, Artistic Director of Quilliam
- Tom Slater, Deputy editor Spiked
- Hassan Mahamdallie, Director of the Muslim Institute/Playwright (chair)