The Lady of Heaven: Have we become desensitised to the threat posed by Islamists

The Lady of Heaven: Have we become desensitised to the threat posed by Islamists

By Khadija Khan Cinemas in the UK have caved into the demands of Muslim fundamentalists and refused to show an allegedly “blasphemous” film: The Lady of Heaven, a historical epic about Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. When the film first released, protesters across England aggressively picketed cinemas, claiming The Lady of Heaven hurts “the feelings and the sentiments of a billion people around the world”. The furious offence-takers made provocative speeches outside the cinema houses threatening “repercussions”. Cineworld then pulled the film from all of its venues nationwide, and other cinema chains…

India’s hijab row has been hijacked by the Hindu and Muslim right wing to score political points

India’s hijab row has been hijacked by the Hindu and Muslim right wing to score political points

By Khadija Khan For months now, a debate around hijab and free choice has been raging in India. This all was instigated in January, when a group of teenage girls at a Karnataka college claimed that they had been barred from entering their classroom while wearing a headscarf. The issue soon snowballed. The college’s decision sparked protests, forcing the state to shut schools and colleges for several days. These students started campaigning outside the college gates. Predictably, it provoked a counter demonstration from Hindu nationalist students who turned up outside…

No Hijab Day: What liberals need to know

No Hijab Day: What liberals need to know

By Arshia Malik February 1st has been designated as No Hijab Day by liberal, reforming Muslims, as well as atheist/agnostic men and women of Muslim heritage, to counter the World Hijab Day — misleadingly started amidst rising concerns of anti-Muslim bigotry or Muslimphobia in the West by Nazma Khan, a Bangladeshi-American and New York resident. Anti-Muslim bigotry, or Muslimphobia, is a real and rising concern after 9/11 and ought to be addressed. But for non-Muslim feminists, liberals and rationals, it is important to understand the nuances of the debate on…

The dishonesty of the debate on “Islamophobia” and the threat to free speech

The dishonesty of the debate on “Islamophobia” and the threat to free speech

By Khadija Khan We are barely a month into 2022, and already we face the same old social and political challenges that have plagued us for centuries. Among them is a crucial battle to protect our right to free speech from the influence of religious ideologues who remain hell-bent on normalising their theocratic beliefs by silencing dissent. However, what makes this struggle against fundamentalism even more strenuous is that the left, once champions of free speech, seems to have abandoned the values of liberalism. Debate is often stifled so as…

The UK must ban child marriage or it will undermine its commitment to ending violence against women and girls

The UK must ban child marriage or it will undermine its commitment to ending violence against women and girls

By Vareen Ismail   At the age of 16, Payzee Mahmod should have been like other teenagers in London: studying for her exams, and deciding if she wanted to go on to university. Instead, her conservative, Kurdish Muslim family married her off to a man who was “so old he was losing his hair”.   On the wedding night, she was trapped in a hotel room with her husband, a stranger nearly twice her age who started to make violent sexual advances. She locked herself in the bathroom, called her…

Britain is still unwilling to confront Islamist extremism

Britain is still unwilling to confront Islamist extremism

By Khadija Khan The gruesome and senseless killing of British MP Sir David Amess is a blow to the heart and soul of Britain’s democracy. Sir David, who had been a Conservative MP since 1983, was stabbed multiple times during a Friday meeting with his constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Soon after the attack, Ali Harbi Ali, 25, a London-born man of Somali heritage, was arrested on suspicion of murder, and has now been charged after being detained under terrorism legislation. While it is too soon to say what the motives were…

Comparing France to Afghanistan is an insult to the women oppressed by the Taliban

Comparing France to Afghanistan is an insult to the women oppressed by the Taliban

By Vareen Ismail Why does everyone seem to hate France? It is the home of great wine, food, and literature. It is the birthplace of enlightenment values of liberty, equality, and fraternity. It is one of the freest, democratic societies in the world with full emancipation of women and sexual minorities. People routinely make perilous journeys in dingy boats through an underground sordid network of people smugglers to live a new life of peace and security in France. Yet you would not know that from France’s portrayal on social media….

Taliban takeover reconfirms Muslim world is no longer bipolar, nor the focus of West’s attention

Taliban takeover reconfirms Muslim world is no longer bipolar, nor the focus of West’s attention

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid At least eight people were injured when Houthi rebels launched a drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport on August 31. The strike came two days after one of the most lethal Houthi attacks in recent times, as 30 soldiers of the Saudi-led coalition were killed and over 60 injured in drone and missile attacks in Yemen’s southern al-Anad military base. The Houthi attacks were a message to the Arab, Iranian and other leaders that had come together for the Baghdad summit last week. For, among…

We must confront the Taliban apologists in the west

We must confront the Taliban apologists in the west

By Khadija Khan On the 102nd anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from the British Empire, the Taliban swept into the capital city of Kabul and declared the formation of an “Islamic emirate”. Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said the group would form an “open” and “inclusive” government under Sharia law – an oxymoron if ever there was one. The collapse of the government, the withdrawal of western forces and attacks on Kabul airport – claimed by the terrorist group ISIS-K – have made Afghanistan a hellhole for the citizens of the…

The Farce of Afghanistan

The Farce of Afghanistan

By Amjad Khan In the immediate aftermath of the 911 attacks in 2001, the rationale for going into a Taliban governed Afghanistan, in order to dismantle and eliminate al-Qaeda infrastructure, had merit. The US had just experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history, the Taliban was a widely despised organisation and the international community had every reason to believe al-Qaeda was planning further attacks.   The Taliban also had an appalling human rights record and their treatment of women was enough to make the totalitarian, theocratic Republic of Gilead…