The young poet fighting for 'less fear' of image of Muslim women

A Welsh-Iraqi poet from the Vale of Glamorgan says there should be 'less fear' surrounding the image of the Muslim women in order to change stereotypes.

Hanan Issa, 26, is the founder of Cardiff's first BAME spoken word night called Where I'm Coming From - that invites people to use poetry to express themselves.

In an interview for International Women's Day, she told ITV News her work is based around 'the unexpected'.

I like to look at a truth or look at the way we typically view something - and then turn it around. Obviously, as a Muslim woman, that's something that's very easy to play with.

Hanan Issa
Hanan runs an open mic night in Cardiff

She uses experiences being Welsh and Iraqi - something she said she struggled with growing up.

You can tell I'm not entirely white - that was becoming a bit of an issue growing up. People would use racial slurs against me that I didn't even realise were racial slurs. In high school, I felt insecure. I felt perhaps the way I was identifying myself or starting to identify myself wasn't necessarily welcomed, celebrated or supported.

Hanan Issa

Speaking on International Women's Day, Hanan said she felt 'proud' at all the women who have spoken up about experiencing abuse and harassment as part of the #MeToo campaign.

I feel like this is where it starts. We can't do anything if we're afraid to talk about things. The first thing we need to do is acknowledge there is a problem and there very much is. That's traversing race. That's traversing religion. There is a problem with the way we construct gender and we really need to address that. The first step of talking about these problems is where we need to go and continue with. > >

Hanan Issa