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   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 we…

The Ex-Muslim Community is Growing and Our Voices are Being Heard

The Ex-Muslim Community is Growing and Our Voices are Being Heard

By Shazia Hobbs   I had never heard of the term ‘ex-Muslim’ until a few years ago and it was thanks to social media I discovered there were many others who thought like me, who no longer identified as Muslim. Many of these ex-Muslims were anonymous on social media, hiding their true identities for fear of being disowned by their families and the wider community.  For many more there is the fear of being beaten and even death for leaving Islam and proudly shouting that they no longer believe. Yes,…

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,…

The Mystery Woman

The Mystery Woman

By Jimmy Bangash   There was this time when I was younger and lived at home. I think I was 12 or 13 or 14, or thereabouts. Dad brought this woman home. She came to live with us for a while. She was from Pakistan, about my mum’s age, and spoke the same language. I didn’t understand why she came to live with us so I asked dad and he said she was there to help mum with the house work and he would be paying her. We were a…

Imams Online Conference: Excellent Initiatives but Thread of Gender Inequality Marred Progression

Imams Online Conference: Excellent Initiatives but Thread of Gender Inequality Marred Progression

By Amina Lone   On January 11, Faith Associates and Imams Online hosted a ‘Digital Summit’ at Google UK’s London Event Space which was attended by over 150 attendees. This event’s aim was to bring together a diverse cross-section of Muslims which included senior religious leaders, male and female scholars, community activists, civil society actors, heads of charities, technologists, students and educationalists. Amina Lone went along on the day and shared her thoughts for Sedaa.      I attended a conference. Not extraordinary in itself but this one was held at Google…