An open letter to Maajid Nawaz: on Islamism, Charlie Hebdo and free speech

An open letter to Maajid Nawaz: on Islamism, Charlie Hebdo and free speech

By Khadija Khan   Dear Maajid, First of all, I would like to acknowledge that you have long been an inspiration to many people from Muslim backgrounds, who were keen to reconcile their religious beliefs with human rights.   I personally respect you for your thought provoking and remarkable contribution to the debate around the Islamist ideology and how this has influenced people (sometimes vulnerable) in committing atrocities around the world in the name of Islam.  A few years ago, you faced death threats after tweeting a cartoon of Muhammad…

Cuties: Netflix’s controversial film and the child exploitation that we don’t discuss

Cuties: Netflix’s controversial film and the child exploitation that we don’t discuss

By Khadija Khan   The Netflix film Cuties, directed by Franco-Senegalese Filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, has caused a lot of controversy. The coming-of-age movie shows very young girls in France dressed inappropriately for their age and performing highly sexualised dance routines. As a result, there have been calls for Netflix to ban the movie; Doucouré has also received death threats for having made such a film. In Cuties (‘Mignonnes’ in French), we see 11-year-old Amy, a lonely and alienated French girl of Senegalese origin, who is caught between her own immigrant…

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…

The “burkini” ban is the result of tolerance towards Islamism but it unfairly targets Muslim women

The “burkini” ban is the result of tolerance towards Islamism but it unfairly targets Muslim women

Mahnaz Nadeem   I remember a drawing room discussion as a young adult, in which a scenario was presented by a secularist Muslim debating a “moderate” Muslim. The secularist argued that if we carried on as we were a time would come where Muslims in the UK would became so publicly religious that it would be at odds with Western society and that we would no longer be tolerated. That stark warning was 20 plus years ago when fatwas and edicts on modesty were becoming religious mainstream. Even putting a Qawwali (Sufi music…

The burkini ban is yet another way of policing women’s bodies

The burkini ban is yet another way of policing women’s bodies

By Aliyah Saleem   You know what they say: one woman’s bathing suit is another’s tool of Islamism that needs to be crushed before we see the full Islamisation of Europe. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when French officials in Cannes or Nice sat together in their meetings, after sending serious emails to one another to discuss the banning of an ominously named swimsuit. Women of Muslim heritage just don’t seem to get a break. If we aren’t fighting Islamic patriarchy to show our…