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 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 and…

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…

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…