Salsabel AlmanssoriSalsabel Almanssori, a postdoctoral fellow and sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education, guest-edited a journal on the subject of hijabi girls and young women.

Journal special issue addresses experiences of hijabi girlhood

As a graduate student in London, Salsabel Almanssori says, she felt unsafe — and the murderous attack against the Afzaal family in the summer of 2021 proved she had the right to be afraid.

“In the Muslim community, we call the Azfaals ‘our London family’ and understand this terror attack as exemplifying the troubling impact of Islamophobia,” says Dr. Almanssori, an adjunct professor and postdoctoral fellow in the UWindsor Faculty of Education.

Her personal experience informed her decision to guest-edit a special edition of the interdisciplinary journal Girlhood Studies on the subject “Hijabi Girlhood in the Intersections” with Muna Saleh, a professor at Concordia University of Edmonton.

“I was once a girl in hijab,” says Almanssori. “While my research focus is not in Islamophobia but in sexual violence and tech-facilitated violence, this incident brought the issue back to the forefront of my mind.”

In preparing the journal issue, the guest editors sought out submissions exploring the experiences of girls and young women who identify as hijabi.

“They’re always experiencing and resisting these violences — anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism and other forms of oppression that are all inter-connected,” Almanssori says. “Alongside Black and Indigenous girls, the girl in the hijab is often at the forefront of the struggle for justice.

“I was very inspired by some of the works that explored activism as outlets for responding to sexual violence and anti-Muslim racism.”

Besides scholarly articles, the publication includes creative submissions of poetry and prose.

“Putting together the journal special issue was a difficult process, but I was incredibly pleased with the way it turned out in the end,” Almanssori says. “I am hoping it will pave the way for a more complex and nuanced understandings of gendered Islamophobia.”

The December 2023 issue, “Hijabi Girlhood in the Intersections: Violence, Resistance, Reclamation,” is available on the Girlhood Studies website.

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