A hijab-wearing Muslim academic says she never walks behind her high-profile husband Waleed Aly when they are out together in public.
Dr Susan Carland, an Islamic-convert who is married to The Project host, says she is constantly worried about how she is perceived.
‘When walking along the street with my husband, I know to never dawdle in his wake while window shopping or daydreaming, as falling a step behind is perceived by onlookers not as accidental but an active embodiment of my inferiority to him,’ she wrote on a column for the ABC.
Dr Carland, who converted to Islam when she was 19, is also tired of non-Muslims assuming the hijab is a form of female oppression.
‘Muslim women are aware, particularly if we wear the hijab, that we are never anonymous, and our existences are never benign,’ she said.
‘Every action is interpreted as pregnant with patriarchal meaning.’
The married mother-of-two has also criticised her friends for praising one of her Network Ten spouse’s Gold Logie acceptance speeches.
‘When my husband spoke adoringly of me in an acceptance speech for an award he was given, non-Muslim friends later contacted me saying how great it was to hear a Muslim man speaking respectfully about his wife,’ she said.
‘It was seen as remarkable only because it was not assumed to be the default.’
The Melbourne-based academic at Monash University argues the idea of women being oppression under Islam is a western concept.
Her column on the ABC’s taxpayer-funded Religion and Ethics website doesn’t address the issues of female genital mutilation or how a woman’s word is worth half that of a man in a sharia law court.
‘The idea that Muslim women need rescuing from their woefully sexist predicament is therefore alive and well, if only because there is a complete lack of belief that any woman would be Muslim if given another option,’ she said.
In May, she told a Sydney launch for her book, ‘Fighting Hislam: Women, Faith and Sexism’, that sharia law could be used to promote women’s rights.
‘For those of you that don’t know, if a woman is raped she can be punished for adultery,’ Dr Carland said during a question and answer session.
‘The woman I interviewed said, ‘I could go to them with these human rights justifications for why it’s wrong but I know that if I do that, they will double down on this law because they will feel it’s an insult to their culture and their tradition and their religion’, so she said, ‘Why would I just not use the sharia to make the argument this is wrong?’.’