Rabina is one of the most influential politicians in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, where she serves as a Liberal Democrat councillor. It was in 2015, when she was standing as an independent candidate in the Tower Hamlets mayoral elections, that a male candidate asked her what colour her hair was under her veil. She said it was pink. He smiled, so she smiled back, adding, ‘Not really; it’s green.’ This interaction sparked the writing of an article, which developed into a talk at the University of Cambridge and then grew into her first book.

My Hair Is Pink Under This Veil reveals how a Muslim woman reconciles her faith with British culture to construct a successful political career against a backdrop of blame, bias, ignorance and misogyny – including from her own community. It shows how the hijab has become a symbol of the modern Muslim woman’s personal style and strength.

Khan’s book challenges outdated views about Muslim women and shows that Muslims often identify more strongly with Britain and British values than most other British citizens. It explores misconceptions regarding Islam, inequality, and integration, at a time when Britain faces its own issues with radicalisation, extremism and political divisions.

Chaired by Liv Chapman

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