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Najat El Hachmi in conversation with Sanaa El Aji

The prison of identity

Segovia 2019, 

Moroccan sociologist and journalist Sanaa El Aji, renowned for her columns advocating a more secular society, and Najat El Hachmi, the Catalan writer born in Morocco, review the concept of ‘Islamic identity’, an everyday reality on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar, which in some forms silences individual liberties, defends patriarchal rule and, above all, imposes certain behaviours and attire on women. El Aji delves into the struggle of moving forward a nation like Morocco, where the most liberal voices are stifled by a resurgence of fundamentalism, while El Hachmi (The Last PatriarchThe Foreign Daughter, Mother of Milk and Honey) reflects on the condition of life for women in ghettos of immigrant groups – where, under the guise of religious fundamentalism, the label of ‘cultural identity’ can become a prison.