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,…

International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in the 21st Century

International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in the 21st Century

In April 2017 Pakistani student Mashal Khan was killed by an angry mob in the premises of his university over fake allegations of posting blasphemous content online. Sadly, Mashal’s death is not a one-off incident. Even now dissenters continue to be threatened, silenced, no-platformed, intimidated and even killed for rejecting and criticising Islam. This is why a celebration of apostasy, blasphemy and the free word are historical tasks. One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (marking its tenth anniversary) are aiming to host the largest gathering of secularists, freethinkers and ex-Muslims as…

The right to enquiry

The right to enquiry

By Arshia Malik   Altamira, in Spain, is a testimony to the fact that the “early people” had developed a sense of consciousness and the instinct to enquiry, judging by the inaccessible grottos and niches they crawled into just to express themselves, with the rudimentary tools and pigments their early minds had made efforts to invent. I am not sure if most of the constitutions of the world have the right to enquiry, but it seems to be an obvious truth that there should be an irrevocably, undisputed article in…

The Reality Behind the ECJ’s So-Called “Headscarf Ban”

The Reality Behind the ECJ’s So-Called “Headscarf Ban”

By Tehmina Kazi   The debate on Tuesday’s European Court of Justice ruling on the “visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” is riddled with misinformation. With headlines that scream, “headscarf bans,” and the fact that the law in this area is incredibly complex, is it any wonder that many observers are left scratching their heads? Let’s look at the facts. This ruling focuses on two different cases in different countries: Belgium and France. The Belgian woman had been working as a receptionist for G4S Secure Solutions and…

British ‘subjects’ did not deserve legal equality with their colonial masters: Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas on Sharia Courts in Britain

British ‘subjects’ did not deserve legal equality with their colonial masters: Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas on Sharia Courts in Britain

British MPs on the Commons home affairs committee have launched an inquiry into the operation of ‘Sharia courts’ in the UK to ensure their principles are compatible with British law. The announcement follows the establishment of a similar investigation by the Home Office last month. However, over 200 women’s rights campaigners and organisations recently signed a public letter to Prime Minister Theresa May criticising the government inquiry into Sharia councils. Whilst a review into Sharia bodies and their impact on gender equality and justice is long overdue, the letter outlined…

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…

Only secularism can guarantee religious freedom

Only secularism can guarantee religious freedom

By Ammar Anwer   A secular system is one where people occupy more importance than any centuries-old scripture and where their fundamental human rights are guaranteed. In a secular state there is no discrimination amongst citizens on the basis of their faith. All citizens are treated equally in the eyes of law. As much as it may hurt most conservative Muslims I don’t have one iota of doubt that without secular values a state can never progress. Why can’t a nation progress without secularism? Well, it is not quite difficult…

The War for Secularism

The War for Secularism

By Arshia Malik   It is not easy to promote democracy, secular and liberal values in a population that insists on being regressive, mostly by men with patriarchal agendas and their conditioned female counterparts. Often those very “empowered better halves” trumpet their liberation by announcing the acceptance of regressive practices just because they want inclusion and acceptance in the frat boys club. One cannot ignore the fact that it is a battle between the progressive West (which by the way has Muslim-dominated countries too) and the regressive East (which includes…