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(RNS) — A lifestyle site aimed at young British Muslim women has drawn anger from readers and staffers when they learned that it was quietly funded by a Home Office counter-extremism program.
The SuperSisters’ slick website, blog and Instagram page publish content aimed at inspiring and empowering Muslim women and girls in the U.K. through posts about wellness, entertainment, beauty, politics and current affairs.
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But while the site appeared to be run by and for young Muslim women, at one point the site did not have a single Muslim on its editorial team. Instead, SuperSisters seems to be part of a broader strategy by the Home Office to work with PR and digital media agencies to offer young Muslims an anti-terrorism narrative.
Since last year, the website has accepted grant funding from the Building a Stronger Britain Together, a government program that aims to fund “civil society and community organisations who work to create more resilient communities, stand up to extremism in all its forms and offer vulnerable individuals a positive alternative.”
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Critics of the British government’s BSBT and other counterterrorism programs argue that the effort stigmatizes Muslims.
“I can now see how working on SuperSisters was going against everything that I believe in and stand for. I am so sorry – to myself aswell (sic),” former employee Sabah Ismail wrote in a statement resigning from her role and railing against the site’s lack of transparency.
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Ismail alleged that the team had no other Muslims on its creative team when she was hired as the SuperSisters’ social media manager and video producer in February and that she was used as a “female, Muslim puppet and was told whatever was needed to shut me up.”
SuperSisters denied this in a statement, saying: “There were Muslim women on the team the entire duration of the project … We have...
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