Samuel Paty’s murder demonstrates why we must continue making the case for freedom of expression

Samuel Paty’s murder demonstrates why we must continue making the case for freedom of expression

By Tehmina Kazi Thousands of people gathered in Paris on Sunday October 18 to pay tribute to Samuel Paty, the history teacher who was brutally murdered for showing Charlie Hebdo’s Mohammed cartoons in class.  The protests were as much a display of unity in the face of collective grief, as they were a defence of freedom of thought and freedom of expression.  Regardless of the background of these protesters – Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan flags were being waved with pride – these values lie at the heart of what it…

Is Imran Khan’s ‘Medina state’ founded on Osama Bin Laden’s Islam?

Is Imran Khan’s ‘Medina state’ founded on Osama Bin Laden’s Islam?

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid Last week, reminiscences of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden sprung up in two unlikely arenas: Elland Road and the National Assembly of Pakistan.  A Leeds United fan had sent Bin Laden’s image to the football club to be put on their allocated seat in an empty Elland Road, presumably as a prank, as English football resumed behind closed doors earlier this month.  Meanwhile, in the Pakistani Parliament, Prime Minister Imran Khan eulogised the jihadist leader as a ‘martyr’ in the June 25 session, in what is…

The unbearable lightness of being a Turk abroad

The unbearable lightness of being a Turk abroad

By Sofia Demirturk Like pretty much everyone else in this world, I didn’t choose the nationality I was born into. As the Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun stated, geography is indeed destiny. Without meaning to undermine the power of individuality, often times our dreams, our means of reach and the very way we define who we are is, to a degree, a limited by the very geography we are born into. I’m not a linguist, but as a native Turkish speaker who also happens to speak some English, I think different in…

Religious superstitions and the coronavirus pandemic

Religious superstitions and the coronavirus pandemic

By Khadija Khan In the past, in the absence of scientific explanation, superstitious beliefs and unfounded assumptions about what causes deadliest plagues and contagious diseases led to horrific outcomes – and blame was usually heaped on the actions of minority groups in society for having ‘caused’ it all. Ironically, while anybody can get an infectious disease, it is actually the most vulnerable ones – women for example – who bear the brunt of the devastation in the aftermath of a pandemic. Therefore, religious people today implying the legalisation of abortion…

Virginity: losing my most ‘valuable’ asset  

Virginity: losing my most ‘valuable’ asset   

By Reema They say love is a beautiful thing. For many women in Saudi Arabia, that just isn’t the case. We were taught that love is only allowed after marriage. It is also expected that one’s marriage will be arranged by one’s family. That didn’t stop us, however, from searching for love. You just had to know how to keep it a secret. Like many girls, I had always dreamt of finding love. And I did find love—or so I thought. I had a secret boyfriend, as a lot of…

Naz Shah and Salma Yaqoob: two sides of the same coin?

Naz Shah and Salma Yaqoob: two sides of the same coin?

By Khadija Khan The row between Labour shadow minister Naz Shah and prospective candidate for West Midlands Metro Mayor Salma Yaqoob reflects the abominable situations within Muslim communities, where women have to grapple with a doubled-edged sword in order to get to positions of power. It is unfathomable how difficult it is for women of Muslim heritage to excel when men are disproportionately in top positions, and some women try to put down women also of Muslim heritage through smears and mudslinging. Shah accused Yaqoob of being unfit to be a Labour candidate…

Israa Gharib’s ‘honour killing’ should make us examine the religious sources and the cultures that embolden misogyny

Israa Gharib’s ‘honour killing’ should make us examine the religious sources and the cultures that embolden misogyny

By Khadija Khan Israa Gharib, a 21 year old Palestinian woman from the Bethlehem area, was purportedly murdered in August in an “honour killing”. Gharib, a make-up artist, was reportedly killed at the hands of her relatives for merely posting a picture on Instagram with her soon-to-be fiancé. Three of Israa’s relatives have now been charged and others who also played a part in her death will also be prosecuted. The young woman’s murder has once against revealed the problems in conservative Muslim societies, where honour killings are prevalent and…

Ex-Muslims are “not an authority on Islam!”

Ex-Muslims are “not an authority on Islam!”

By Thomas Maldonado Not long ago on Twitter, I came across the loaded tweet of one Dr. Craig Considine, a PhD in Sociology and devout Catholic, according to Sheikh Google, who oddly tweeted: “Being an ‘ex-Christian’ does not make one an authority on Christianity. Similarly, being an ‘ex-Muslim’ does not make one an authority on Islam. It’s intellectually dishonest to claim that your lived experience is part of some general truth about something as complex as religion.” There is a common theme popping up lately that ex-Muslims cannot use their lifeworld…

Sports should be free from political and religious influence

Sports should be free from political and religious influence

By Khadija Khan   It was heart-warming for many of us to hear the World Cup-winning Irish-born captain Eoin Morgen’s remarks, “We had Allah with us as well”. The captain used the opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion that epitomises the men’s English cricket team as the winners of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. He added: “I spoke to Adil (Rashid); he said Allah was definitely with us. I said we had the rub of the green.” Muslims tend to give all credit of their success to Allah, therefore…

Promoting a toxic modesty culture does a disservice to Muslim women

Promoting a toxic modesty culture does a disservice to Muslim women

By Khadija Khan US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American, recently said in a Vogue magazine interview: “To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty, and resistance.” The debate around modesty culture has a great sway on how it is perceived in different cultures. Most commonly it is associated with the oppression of women in conservative societies. It is rooted in religious and cultural mores to control women’s bodily autonomy, restraining a woman’s sexuality in order to rid society of moral depravity that may provoke male arousal. This modest way of…