Say No to Gatekeeping

It’s never been clearer than at the present how systems of domination seek to shut down people who are deemed unimportant or who speak inconvenient truths.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, gatekeeping is “the activity of trying to control who gets particular resources, power, or opportunities, and who does not.”

In the area of book publishing, Muslim authors often struggle to break through the mainstream publishing industry. They may end up self-censoring, playing into stereotypes, or doubting the value of their work unless their stories are deemed worthy by publishers.

Perhaps now is the time to question this way of thinking.

As Muslim creatives, perhaps it is time to join our hands and pool our talents to produce the high-quality content that we are capable of, and that we know our kids need.

Supporting independent Muslim publishers is a key part of taking control of our own stories. At Ruqaya’s Bookshelf, we’ve set our focus on telling stories about Muslim kids—and for Muslim kids—from day one.

One of our authors echoed this sentiment exactly. Sarah Musa, author of Ahmed and the Very Stuck Teapot, Amir’s Blue Jacket, and My Garden over Gaza, submitted stories to mainstream publishers for years and felt like she was hitting “a brick wall.” When she heard about Ruqaya’s Bookshelf and started submitting stories with Muslim protagonists, the experience was freeing, and for Sarah, there’s no turning back.

“We as an ummah should not be chasing…the mainstream… I do not like that we have to ask permission to be ourselves… We need to give ourselves permission. Allah gave us permission. He gave us tongues; He gave us the ability; He gave us the talent. Why are we asking permission?”

Let’s say no to gatekeeping and support Muslim publishers. Browse our bookshelf today!

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