Amina Taylor is a former staff of the Guardian, Independent On Sunday, ۵ Live, Sky News, Drum Magazine and presented her own radio show on BBC London ۹۴.۹ as well as being a very popular guest presenter on many of the station's other shows.
She is currently a presenter and a producer of the big story which is a flagship on the current affairs. She is also the co-presenter of "Remember the Palestine" program and that is a way of Palestinians in the diaspora.
She attended Press and News Agencies Exhibition in Tehran on behalf of its British office staff and there as a member of the Muslim women journalists, she paid a visit to the headquarter of the World Forum for the Proximity of the Islamic Schools of Thought, we asked her few questions to which she warmly and kindly answered.
Here is her view on the Muslim working women, Islam in Europe and what has to be done to give the real picture of Islam to non-Muslims.
Q: Where are you from and what do you do?
A: I'm Amina Taylor from London, UK's Press TV. There I am a presenter and a producer of the big story. It's a flagship current affairs program. I am also the co-presenter of "Remember the Palestine" program and it's a way of Palestinians in the diaspora and also in the Palestine to remember that the world hasn't forgotten them, that we are still actively trying to get justice, to get people to remember, to get people to act and we collect the news views, entertainment
We(Muslim Women) are strong, we are powerful, we are talented, we are educated and we can see the hypocrisy.
Q: Tell me about your position as a woman, as a journalist and about how it is to work as Muslim woman in a non-Muslim country.
A: I think for any woman the obstacles will be immediately seen. There are still places where you are supposed to be seen and not heard, you are supposed to be told what to do and not be that activist of change, not being that architect to get things moving along the way you see it.
Women in the world need to realize their power and their potential and the fact that if we are united we can do so much more and in terms of working as a minority in the UK, things are improving. I think our voice has been raised to such an extent that is very difficult to ignore us now.
We are strong, we are powerful, we are talented, we are educated and we can see the hypocrisy. We can understand that there is one rule for some and one rule for the other and when our voices are raised above that level we can start to act on it. It is still difficult in terms of the obstacles that would be thrown at you, access is very difficult and everybody knows you can't change hearts and minds. If you are not reaching the decision makers, you can't actually enact real change on this people at the top. We have to do this.
Nobody gets up in the morning and say," You know what I'm going to do? Today I am going to give equality to everyone" because that would undermine your own powerbase so they have to be made to do that, they have to actually be told " You change or else" and I think that message is starting, just starting a little bit to seen through and it's because we knock on the door till they open. Though some of those doors are made of reinforced concrete so you have to knock a little bit harder and you have to be prepared for the rejections and the moment when minister won't speak to you, MPs realize
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the UK and I think that has made a lot of people to stand up and pay attention
the publication you are speaking for and they suddenly cancel the interview.
I think that is a compliment actually you are running scared, you are actually starting to realize you are not against so and so, you are dealing with real power and it's starting to tell.
Q: Let's move a little toward Islam. How is it reacted to? What is the picture?
A: There is no doubt in my mind that in the UK Islam is under attack. I think it is a broader picture crossed the whole of Western Europe in fact. You have the rise of groups like The English Defense Group whose main focus of them is to stop the rise of Islam in the UK. It is the fastest growing religion in the UK and I think that has made a lot of people to stand up and pay attention and not necessarily the kind of attention that the religion wants.
When Islam, when Muslims, whenever the Middle East is mentioned you could almost bet your bottom dollar the story will not be positive. It would be something about terror, something about the subjugation of women, something about the fact that we are not joining in being a part of the society and all of those things are wrong. All of those things, if you look at the bare statistics, if you look at the figures that are supposed to be the basis in facts, it does not back up the argument. There have been more dissident Republican so- called terror attacks by about ۵۰۰ pc more than anything that anybody who by those who did not prove that they are Islamic, they are a bit brown. That's all you need to be, to be the face of terror in that country and it is ridiculous, it is absolutely ridiculous to the point where I think it is becoming laughable now. It is so bad that even those who are supposed to be right wing conservative. It looks funny. You can't keep pushing this misinformation out before people realize in the side that something is wrong here. There is a hypocrisy here that does not
A lot of these individuals who are even if they are not Islamophobic, they are misinformed
stand up and it is up to us to change that. I think we are far too long.
The community has been waiting for the press for the Western medias to do the right thing and then you suddenly say," Hey it's not fair" and then expect that treatment to change. It doesn't work like that. You have to change it; you have to correct the misinformation.
Q: Do you think that, it is something out of the World of Islam or Muslims themselves have somewhere gone wrong?
A: Actually the community is not saying anything and hoping that right is done that the misinformation corrects itself. I don’t think the community has put the information out there. I think maybe we haven’t reacted as fast as we should have to some of this misinformation so it gets more into the public domain but when you react you are seen as radical you are seen as out there, you can't be afraid of those tags, you can't be afraid of those labels because you have to fix that. You have to make that true.
Something that is not just clear, it's not just Ok for your host to know that its wrong.You have to let the neighbors to know and the neighbores after that hope that they spread this on.
The community needs to be more active. I think there needs to be a call for action in terms of people at schools, people at universities, people at workplace to say," Hold on a second. What you have just said is wrong" and it's up to everyone. You cannot sit and wait for the next guy to fix it for you. It is not in their interest it's in ours.
Q: What more proof? Imagine I am one of those other guys. How are you going to prove that to me that I am wrong? In your actions? In you verbs?
A: That is a very good question and it's one that I think right now that is the search. What
we have to start to be a little bit less separatists and say" You will come to the mosque, you will come for prayers, you will come for Iftar"
is the best way of doing this? Is it enough to shout and say it's wrong?
I think tours like this, getting some of those individuals to actually confront the people that they are talking about. It's much easier to talk about someone that you don't know.
A lot of these individuals who are even if they are not Islamophobic, they are misinformed, they have never actually sat down with someone and say," Hey, tell me about this" or " I've heard" or " Could you tell me if that is true or false?
We have to initiate more those meetings, more those face to face because it changes the perceptions.
You know how many people said to me before," You know I never thought that a black person would do x x x until I met you.
If you don’t have contact, you won't change. I think we have to start to be a little bit less separatists and say" You will come to the mosque, you will come for prayers, you will come for Iftar", you know you will be around and you'll see because it changes your mind. It changes your mind completely.
Q: Is there (and actually if there is where is) the point to stop such a thing to happen? There is a time that you fight against an enemy or a microbe or any kind of problem but there is a point that you can prevent even the existence or the birth of that. Do you think that there is a point that you can prevent the birth of for example a child called Islamophobia or any misrepresentation or misinformation about Islam? Is there a point to stop it?
A: I think that point is gone. I think that's not a child that is called Islamophobia. He is now a hard teenager. It's too late to stop to prevent the birth. It's already out there. It's already grown. We are now dealing with something that is so strong and powerful. You can stop it from getting worst but you have to deal with the reality that is now. You have to deal with the coldness and the misinformation and the double standards right now. To try and go back to a time that it wasn't a problem. No it's not possible.