Report on Missing Muslims report with reference to the much talked about poem by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan.
First published in The Canary on 7 July 2017:
Over a million people have watched a video of young poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan reciting her entry at The Last Word Festival in London. Manzoor-Khan shares her powerful insights into the real problem around integration in society, arguing that Muslims like herself are considered less human than others.
She starts by explaining how she thinks she should relate to her audience:
“Write a humanising poem,
my pen and paper goad me.
Show them how wrong their preconceptions are,
Write something upbeat for a change,
crack a smile.
Tell them how you also cry at the end of Toy Story 3,
and you’re just as capable of bantering about the weather in the post office queue.
Like everyone, you have no idea of how to make the perfect amount of pasta, still.”
But this isn’t the poem Manzoor-Khan wanted to write. She didn’t want to write another “Muslims are like us” poem. And in defiance, she says that she “refuses to be respectable” – urging those listening to accept her and other Muslims regardless. And she touches on a key point.