By Aalia Khan
BBC Radio Leeds headed to Bradford on Friday 31 October, when the entire station decamped to the city for the day. The event included the first of a new series airing on BBC Radio Leeds called This Is Bradford. The programme is being presented by blogger Sabbiyah Pervez. She will be looking closely at social and political issues on the programme, particularly affecting South Asians in the UK. In her first report she spoke to Bradford’s Asian women about the taboos around, and low awareness of, cancer screening.
Sabbiyah is famously known for appearing on the Channel 4 show Make Bradford British. She was an outspoken candidate on the show and was not afraid to voice her opinion, she says “For me it was about getting a different voice out there, I went on the show as I feel that Muslim women are portrayed as being very oppressed but I wanted to present a view that Muslim women are actually quite feisty, opinionated and very successful. I know I managed to get that message out loud and clear.”
Sabbiyah holds a high opinion of Bradford and says she “Loves it.” Having been born and bred in Bradford she is aware of the issues and topics that surround the city. Sabbiyah went on to study in Manchester and then got married and moved to Lancashire, but she has recently moved back to Bradford as she could not keep away from her roots. She says “I’ve been dying to move back to Bradford because I love the community and the people here. There is no other feeling of community elsewhere like there is in Bradford. So I love the city and it’s my home.”
When asked if she felt that the Asian Community in Bradford was segregated Sabbiyah responded that she did not believe it was segregated but “There are problems in terms of the certain areas people live in.” In her view the problems arise from the predominantly Pakistani areas such as Manningham, and the predominantly white populated areas such as Queensbury, as areas such as these restrict the likelihood of integration.
However as a whole she says there are a lot of areas in Bradford in which people are coming together and trying to do a lot of positive work. Sabbiyah praises areas such as Shipley, Frizinghall and Heaton for the amount of integration taking place “There are kids groups in Heaton which are multiethnic, all the kids get together to go out and play and I think it’s awesome. We do have segregated parts in Bradford but we can’t ignore the bigger areas of Bradford and the people who are trying really hard to do some positive work.”
Sabbiyah’s journey has taken her from being on a TV series to now working within Journalism, she says she has always been interested in politics, current affairs and issues that surround communities especially identity, “For me identity politics is something very close to my heart, so naturally I have always had questions surrounding these topics so it was just a natural progression.”
In the first part of This is Bradford Sabbiyah found that the levels of cancer awareness in some South Asian communities are very low compared to the white communities, she discussed this with a variety of women to find out why this is. The programme is a four part series and Sabbiyah says they have not yet decided the topics for the upcoming three episodes or when the following episodes will be aired.
Sabbiyah also has a blog in which she talks about the social topics of interest to her. Her blog can be found at: http://sabbiyah.co.uk/
Sabbiyah’s BBC Radio Leeds programme can be listened to here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0295gvp