The Muslim Council of Britain finally has a female leader – but there’s a long way to go towards equality

The Muslim Council of Britain finally has a female leader – but there’s a long way to go towards equality

 By Khadija Khan   A historic occasion has been marked in the British Muslim community. Zara Mohammed, a 29-year-old Glaswegian, became the first woman to be elected as secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The news was met with a lot of approval, particularly by women, and seen as a step in the right direction towards inspiring other Muslim women to take leadership roles. It was all going well for Ms Mohammed, with all the complimentary articles about her in the papers. That is until she was asked…

Will my daughter still love me tomorrow? A reflection on leaving Salafism

Will my daughter still love me tomorrow? A reflection on leaving Salafism

By Thomas Maldonado Last weekend, I celebrated my youngest daughter’s birthday for the first time since I left Salafism (a branch of Islam that believes in a literal approach to the faith). Now that I am no longer bound by ridiculous religious rules, I am free to explore and celebrate the world around me, without giving two fucks about what anyone thinks or is brave enough to say to me. To see my daughter’s beautiful little face light up as she jumped in delight at my horrible happy birthday canticle made me…

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…

The myth of the hijabi woman’s agency

The myth of the hijabi woman’s agency

By Saima Baig   Let’s clear one thing out from the beginning. This blog is not about banning women from wearing the veil. Freedom of religion necessitates that people are able to practice their religion the way they are required to. People are free to make religious decisions, even if those decisions are stupid, so long as they are personal and not harmful to others. This blog is also not about the false equivalence between veiled women and the so-called “scantily-clad” women. There is no equivalence. Yes, women should dress whichever…

The case of Rahaf Mohammed is a wake-up call for us all

The case of Rahaf Mohammed is a wake-up call for us all

By Aliyah Saleem   Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun showed tremendous courage as she barricaded herself into a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand, to prevent being sent back to Saudi Arabia, where she could have faced prison and death for renouncing Islam. Her case demonstrated the power of social media as people such as the journalist Mona Eltahawy joined in to gather as much attention as possible for her. Rahaf has now been provided asylum by Canada where can she build a life for herself on her own terms. We…

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…