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…

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…