Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron once said some young men are vulnerable to radicalisation due to the "traditional submissiveness of Muslim women", which prevents them from speaking out. In response, Muslim women took to social media – the majority in hijabs – holding up placards announcing their jobs, activities and other contributions they make to British society. It showed them to be anything but submissive.
This week, a Commons report found that companies are overlooking British Muslim women for jobs because of the headscarf. Many highly qualified Muslims are being written off because of this assumption that they are "submissive and weak". The CEOs and managers are not employing capable and successful women as they assume they would not fulfil the job description due to their religious beliefs.
The report suggested that companies should use the 'name blind' applications processes, thinking it will reduce 'unconscious bias' against Muslims and other minority candidates. But it wouldn't really change anything, and might actually make matters worse.
Imagine, a woman who wears a headscarf is invited for an interview, and then rejected because the company doesn't approve of they way she's dressed and assumes she might not be "allowed" to travel or stay late for meetings. Women are already discriminated against in the job market due to maternity leave, so the assumption that Muslim women are not as career driven as men leaves them even more marginalised.
After Ukip leadership candidate Lisa Duffy said she wants to ban the full-face veils and Muslim faith schools as she views them as a "proliferating threat to our way of life", many British Muslim women feared UK law would become more like France. To add to the French 'burqa ban' in 2010, this week the mayor of Cannes in southern France also banned full-body swimsuits known as 'burkinis' from the beach, citing them as a "symbol of Islamic extremism".
But why should the majority of Muslims suffer? Especially women who wish to practise their religious beliefs. Yes, recent attacks by Isis, a terrorist organisation which claims to be Muslim, have spread fear in Europe, but the majority of Muslims should not be made accountable, and shouldn't suffer for the actions of others.
Freedom of religion and expression should continue to be guaranteed in the UK. If a non-religious woman has the right to wear whatever she pleases on the beach and on the streets, religious women should enjoy the same right.
What's making matters more difficult for British Muslims is the fact they feel targeted by the government due to the Prevent strategy. From a young age, Muslim girls and boys are under supervision by their teachers – if they say something that can be interpreted as "extreme", they and their family are questioned.
A teacher recently told me about a young girl in her school who used to express how she felt in class, and was described by her teacher as "energetic" and "willing to speak her thoughts". After questioning by the Prevent team, she has become "quiet and reserved", and afraid to speak her mind.
Hence at a young age British Muslims feel targeted, and when rejected for a job due to Islamic dress, some women are forced to conclude they must abandon the headscarf or risk limiting their future career success.
Despite this, many Muslim women still aspire to be successful in their careers and are not allowing the stereotype of "traditionally submissive" to stop them achieving and becoming the next manager or director.
The hijab has become one of the most politicised pieces of cloth in the world. It currently highlights women's balancing act between their Muslim identity and their Western one. But Muslim women are still striving to work their way up the ladder, just like any other career-minded British woman.
Naka Alkhzraji is Arab media manager at London-based charity and research group Integrity.