India’s hijab row has been hijacked by the Hindu and Muslim right wing to score political points

India’s hijab row has been hijacked by the Hindu and Muslim right wing to score political points

By Khadija Khan For months now, a debate around hijab and free choice has been raging in India. This all was instigated in January, when a group of teenage girls at a Karnataka college claimed that they had been barred from entering their classroom while wearing a headscarf. The issue soon snowballed. The college’s decision sparked protests, forcing the state to shut schools and colleges for several days. These students started campaigning outside the college gates. Predictably, it provoked a counter demonstration from Hindu nationalist students who turned up outside…

No Hijab Day: What liberals need to know

No Hijab Day: What liberals need to know

By Arshia Malik February 1st has been designated as No Hijab Day by liberal, reforming Muslims, as well as atheist/agnostic men and women of Muslim heritage, to counter the World Hijab Day — misleadingly started amidst rising concerns of anti-Muslim bigotry or Muslimphobia in the West by Nazma Khan, a Bangladeshi-American and New York resident. Anti-Muslim bigotry, or Muslimphobia, is a real and rising concern after 9/11 and ought to be addressed. But for non-Muslim feminists, liberals and rationals, it is important to understand the nuances of the debate on…

Britain is still unwilling to confront Islamist extremism

Britain is still unwilling to confront Islamist extremism

By Khadija Khan The gruesome and senseless killing of British MP Sir David Amess is a blow to the heart and soul of Britain’s democracy. Sir David, who had been a Conservative MP since 1983, was stabbed multiple times during a Friday meeting with his constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Soon after the attack, Ali Harbi Ali, 25, a London-born man of Somali heritage, was arrested on suspicion of murder, and has now been charged after being detained under terrorism legislation. While it is too soon to say what the motives were…

Comparing France to Afghanistan is an insult to the women oppressed by the Taliban

Comparing France to Afghanistan is an insult to the women oppressed by the Taliban

By Vareen Ismail Why does everyone seem to hate France? It is the home of great wine, food, and literature. It is the birthplace of enlightenment values of liberty, equality, and fraternity. It is one of the freest, democratic societies in the world with full emancipation of women and sexual minorities. People routinely make perilous journeys in dingy boats through an underground sordid network of people smugglers to live a new life of peace and security in France. Yet you would not know that from France’s portrayal on social media….

We must confront the Taliban apologists in the west

We must confront the Taliban apologists in the west

By Khadija Khan On the 102nd anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from the British Empire, the Taliban swept into the capital city of Kabul and declared the formation of an “Islamic emirate”. Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said the group would form an “open” and “inclusive” government under Sharia law – an oxymoron if ever there was one. The collapse of the government, the withdrawal of western forces and attacks on Kabul airport – claimed by the terrorist group ISIS-K – have made Afghanistan a hellhole for the citizens of the…

The Farce of Afghanistan

The Farce of Afghanistan

By Amjad Khan In the immediate aftermath of the 911 attacks in 2001, the rationale for going into a Taliban governed Afghanistan, in order to dismantle and eliminate al-Qaeda infrastructure, had merit. The US had just experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history, the Taliban was a widely despised organisation and the international community had every reason to believe al-Qaeda was planning further attacks.   The Taliban also had an appalling human rights record and their treatment of women was enough to make the totalitarian, theocratic Republic of Gilead…

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…

British authorities are not equipped to deal with jihadis returning from ISIS

British authorities are not equipped to deal with jihadis returning from ISIS

By Khadija Khan   In 2004 the British government secured the release of Jamal Udeen al-Harith from Guantanamo Bay, after strenuous diplomacy with the Americans who had captured him in Pakistan, where he was believed to be an al-Qaeda operative. Al-Harith carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2017 after joining ISIS. He was born Ronald Fiddler and raised in Manchester, UK, and was reportedly radicalised in the local mosque. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government reportedly lobbied “intensely” for his release from Guantanamo Bay and he was given £1…

Female Muslim politicians need to be champions for Muslim women not patriarchal organisations

Female Muslim politicians need to be champions for Muslim women not patriarchal organisations

By Khadija Khan   The victory of the first two American-Muslim women in the US midterm elections — Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — is unprecedented. Many people are celebrating their success as a victory against President Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim policies and the empowerment of hijab-wearing Muslim women in Western societies. Only a few seem concerned with the status of ordinary Muslim women, who are often still treated as second-class citizens int heir own communities. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in the United States but many…

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…