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…

Sex, intimacy and the Muslim woman

Sex, intimacy and the Muslim woman

By Tehmina Kazi We are now in the month of Ramadan. Expect to see a mountain of the usual articles on refraining from earthly appetites between dawn and dusk. No caffeine fixes in the morning, no sandwiches eaten al-desko, and, for the umpteenth time, no water. But the repressed desire that gets far less public attention, especially for Muslim women? Sex. Especially the kind of sex that unmarried Muslim women have. This is why it was so refreshing to read the comedian Sadia Azmat’s article on her sexual desires during…

Touting Muslimophobic terrorism as a ‘reaction to jihad’ is as dehumanising as it is counterproductive

Touting Muslimophobic terrorism as a ‘reaction to jihad’ is as dehumanising as it is counterproductive

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid Unfortunately, the aftermath of every major terror attack provides a platform for self-serving, narrow-minded, often bigoted, voices to forward their own agendas at a time when all the attention should be on the victims. Following jihadist attacks, those with the unflinching belief that all global ills are a corollary of the West’s imperialism would waste no time in pointing fingers towards western foreign policy for an act rooted in a genocidal ideology. Similarly, following the recent terror attack in Christchurch those rigidly earmarking radical Islam as having…

The Parkfield school controversy was all about homophobia

The Parkfield school controversy was all about homophobia

By Saima Baig   The only reason to tell children that having two mommies or two daddies in a family is ‘not appropriate’ is if you are a homophobe. Talking about safe and healthy relationships, without considering the gender of the parents, is not something that should ever be considered unsuitable.   However, this is exactly what happened in Birmingham, UK, when Parkfield Community School introduced the No Outsiders programme, the brainchild of its assistant head Teacher Andrew Moffat.  Issues addressed include gender and gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, disability…

British authorities are not equipped to deal with jihadis returning from ISIS

British authorities are not equipped to deal with jihadis returning from ISIS

By Khadija Khan   In 2004 the British government secured the release of Jamal Udeen al-Harith from Guantanamo Bay, after strenuous diplomacy with the Americans who had captured him in Pakistan, where he was believed to be an al-Qaeda operative. Al-Harith carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2017 after joining ISIS. He was born Ronald Fiddler and raised in Manchester, UK, and was reportedly radicalised in the local mosque. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government reportedly lobbied “intensely” for his release from Guantanamo Bay and he was given £1…

Shamima Begum was a minor when she travelled to Syria but she must face the consequences of her actions

Shamima Begum was a minor when she travelled to Syria but she must face the consequences of her actions

By Tehmina Kazi   Of all the reprehensible things said by jihadi bride Shamima Begum in her notorious Times interview, what sticks out the most is her callous indifference to seeing “severed heads in bins” in ISIS territory, “because they were enemies of Islam.” In a follow-up interview with Sky News, she admitted that she knew of this aspect of ISIS’ practice even before she left for Syria in 2015 as a 15-year-old, alongside her school friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana.  In her own words on beheading, “from what…

Shamima Begum, the ‘Jihadi Bride’ and the moral dilemma we face

Shamima Begum, the ‘Jihadi Bride’ and the moral dilemma we face

By Saima Baig There are an estimated 400 British nationals (there could be more), who left for Syria to join the Islamic State caliphate. Some have died, some are in refugee camps and there is no information about the rest. Here is the dilemma. What do we do when some of them want to come back to the UK? The Islamic State are some of the most barbaric psychopaths to exist on this planet, who have committed extremely heinous crimes since they launched their “caliphate” in 2014. All those who…

The myth of the hijabi woman’s agency

The myth of the hijabi woman’s agency

By Saima Baig   Let’s clear one thing out from the beginning. This blog is not about banning women from wearing the veil. Freedom of religion necessitates that people are able to practice their religion the way they are required to. People are free to make religious decisions, even if those decisions are stupid, so long as they are personal and not harmful to others. This blog is also not about the false equivalence between veiled women and the so-called “scantily-clad” women. There is no equivalence. Yes, women should dress whichever…

The case of Rahaf Mohammed is a wake-up call for us all

The case of Rahaf Mohammed is a wake-up call for us all

By Aliyah Saleem   Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun showed tremendous courage as she barricaded herself into a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand, to prevent being sent back to Saudi Arabia, where she could have faced prison and death for renouncing Islam. Her case demonstrated the power of social media as people such as the journalist Mona Eltahawy joined in to gather as much attention as possible for her. Rahaf has now been provided asylum by Canada where can she build a life for herself on her own terms. We…