Fatima Chettati is from Marrakech, Morocco and has lived in London for 10 years with her son and husband. She works as a catering assistant at Oakfield Preparatory School in West Dulwich, London. Before moving to London, Fatima grew up in France from the age of 10. Change the Script sits down with her at the Goodge St forum to talk about her thoughts on changing the narrative on Muslim women.
What do you think about the narrative on Muslim women in Britain?
Because this is the first workshop and forum I have been to, I can learn about different views as my experience is based on where I am from (Morocco and France). European people have bad ideas about what it is to be a Muslim and also Islam in general. Often they think we (the women) are just at home cooking and taking care of the children. It is often the other way, we are doing even more than the men! The narrative we are given is not true, but sadly that is all they think when they see us and somehow that same image represents all of us.
Do you think there are ways that can change that narrative?
I think it is important to carry on with whatever we are doing, they might not see it but we are living day to day just as anyone else would. Having more events like this where a forum is held and introducing non-Muslims to try to engage with them, so they understand the discussions we are having. The mix would be good, for example when I started work in the UK my colleague told me I was the first Muslim woman she knows. Over time she has learnt a lot about me and my personality, we have a good understanding of one another. As a Muslim woman, I want to ensure my son learns how to be a good person and to feel good about his identity too. In order to achieve this, we should always have discussions with non-Muslims and the younger generation so they can carry those lessons on.
Tell me a little about what you like doing in your spare time?
I like to keep active! Swimming and running, I enjoy going out with my son for different activities when he isn’t at school. I also enjoy seeing my friends, but my favourite thing is when I have time, being able to go home to France and visit my family.