A new day for Pakistan? The Asia Bibi Verdict

A new day for Pakistan? The Asia Bibi Verdict

By Saima Baig   A strange thing has happened in the land of the pure, the bastion of Islam that is Pakistan. A woman imprisoned for almost nine years and who was on death row for blasphemy has been acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The reason I call this strange is that in Pakistan — it is. The country’s infamous blasphemy laws are used willy-nilly to settle personal scores and it is very difficult to be absolved of this ridiculous crime. Plenty of people are languishing in jail…

Is the Danish ‘burqa ban’ an infringement on Muslim women’s rights?

Is the Danish ‘burqa ban’ an infringement on Muslim women’s rights?

By Khadija Khan After France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria and the German state of Bavaria, Denmark has become the latest European country to ban full veil in public places. The veil, or niqab, is the attire mostly worn by ultra-conservative Muslim women. The ban has been criticised for being an infringement on Muslims women’s right to practice their religion. The Danish government, however, claimed that it is neither religiously motivated nor an infringement on Muslim women’s rights. Nevertheless, the law has once again stirred up debate about the western…

Making children fast in Ramadan demonstrates intolerant practices have made space in Muslim societies

Making children fast in Ramadan demonstrates intolerant practices have made space in Muslim societies

By Khadija Khan   It’s a sorry state of affairs that a large number of Muslims (both in the west and east) have become so consumed with extremist propaganda that they choose to blindly follow the craziest interpretations of religion. Women and children, however, become the greatest victim of this kind of extremism as they are required to obey the toughest conditions, even if that means physical or psychological harm to them. Inhumane activities such as the oppression of women, forced conformity with the fanatic rituals by adults and children,…

The burden of reform and why we do it

The burden of reform and why we do it

Arshia Malik “The 21st century belongs to women of Muslim heritage,” said Jimmy London [Sedaa contributor Jimmy Bangash] in a Facebook post/thread. He is right. When we expose or talk about our lives under Muslim culture, we are not just doing it out of spite, we do it for our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, scores of neighbours, friends and relatives whose troubled lives spilled before us while growing up and getting conditioned into our culture. We could do nothing except watch and listen and observe as the adult women consoled,…

Islam, race and interracial marriage

Islam, race and interracial marriage

By Tehmina Kazi   It could be any Midlands mosque.  Statuesque, with a dome as white as paste and a pencil-sharp minaret.  The scent of chai – all liquorice, cloves and cassia bark – pervades the air, although the polystyrene cups do not do justice to the flavour.   Half a spoon of sugar?  No, I want three, and proper milk, please.  None of that long-life stuff.  The chai-walla’s thumb turns an unsightly shade of crimson after pressing the latch for the hot water tank – and narrowly missing the…

London conference sees ‘largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history’

London conference sees ‘largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history’

The International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression saw what the organisers described as the ‘largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history during 22-24 July 2017 in London. Over 70 notable speakers from 30 countries came together to honour dissenters to defend apostasy, blasphemy and secularism. The sold-out conference highlighted the voices of those on the front-lines of resistance – many of them persecuted and exiled – and included the first London film screening of Deeyah Khan’s film, Islam’s Non Believers, a public art protest of 99 balloons representing those killed or imprisoned for blasphemy and…

How to beat your wife

How to beat your wife

By Saima Baig   A few days ago, a video surfaced on the internet. In it, two hijab-clad women  in Australia were discussing the verse Surah Nisa in the Quran (4:34). The translation of the verse in question is as follows:   “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for [maintenance] from their wealth. So, righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom…

Women smearing Ayaan Hirsi Ali are ‘carrying water’ for Islamists

Women smearing Ayaan Hirsi Ali are ‘carrying water’ for Islamists

By Arshia Malik   For us women in India, carrying water signifies courage, fortitude and surviving amidst insurmountable odds, considering the country still has parts where drinking water is not available and women have to walk miles to get two potable vessels of water for the cooking of the day. Compared to the slur of “carrying water” which the dictionary defines as “performing menial tasks for or to serve; to assist; to be forced by politics or pragmatism to endorse or promote a belief”, this act has become symbolic of…

Where is the Solidarity With ex Muslims?

Where is the Solidarity With ex Muslims?

By Yasmine Mohammed   If you prick us, do we not bleed? In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare wrote those words for a Jew to say, but today, those words will come from the mouth of an ex-Muslim. I normally try to stay positive and veer far away from the victimhood narrative, as I was raised to think of myself as a victim when I was a Muslim. I was taught that the big, bad non-believers all hated us and wanted us dead and don’t care about us and that…

Normalising the hijab

Normalising the hijab

By Arshia Malik There was recently a news report about Nike unveiling modest sportswear range – the Nike Pro Hijab . I recalled when we first got a male professional coach for basketball in 1988 and the all girls’ school team was being put together. Being the athlete that I was, I of course signed up and started looking for the usual: shorts; skirts; trainers and T-shirts — a requirement on the court. Gradually, the realisation that this was Srinagar and not New Delhi dawned as the first impediments to a normal,…