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,…

Of women and girls

Of women and girls

By Arshia Malik There is no end to the hypocrisy of Muslims. On the one hand, every time, a daughter is born, the only thing that looms large in the minds of the subcontinental Muslims is the daughter’s marriage. From birth onwards, they tend to see the female offspring as somebody to shove off the minute she is of the ”proper marriageable age” which can be anywhere from 15 to the ‘old maid’ 28. At every waking hour the talk around the home is centered around the ”dowry” they will…

Pakistani men are treated like kings at home

Pakistani men are treated like kings at home

  By Shazia Hobbs   I recently watched a ten minute clip of a ‘discussion’ on some news channel featuring three Pakistani men, the voices of the Muslims in the UK. I forced myself to watch some more featuring others in the public eye.  No wonder Islam is a laughing joke in the UK if these ‘discussions’ are what the mainstream media is showing.  Most of what I have been watching is from a few years back and most of it is full of angry voices. The men, who shall…

Indian Muslim Women: The New Warriors in the Fight for Justice

Indian Muslim Women: The New Warriors in the Fight for Justice

By Arshia Malik   It is a very crucial time for Indian Muslims, especially the women. The fight that they have entrenched themselves in for abolishing the triple talaq, the talaq halala and polygamy, all regressive practices in Islam with no Quranic sanction, just got bigger with the larger reform recommendation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)  projected under the slogan One Nation, One Law taken up by political parties. The Women’s Movement of India spearheading this revolutionary change is doing all it can to end the choke hold of…

Pakistan: Whither freedoms and whither rights? 

Pakistan: Whither freedoms and whither rights? 

By Saima Baig On October 7, 2016, an article appeared in Pakistan’s Dawn Newspaper, alleging that in a civil military leadership meeting, the Government (prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother and other senior officials were present) had told the military representatives that if they did not make more efforts to go after terrorists, Pakistan will be isolated. Journalist Cyril Almeida, one of the newspaper’s senior writers, had reported that an argument had taken place between members of the Pakistani government and the army over lack of action against militant groups,…

The ‘M-word’ that you’re not supposed to say out loud

The ‘M-word’ that you’re not supposed to say out loud

By Shamila Ghyas (This is a cross-post from The Nation )   Recently, students at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore protested against the stigmatisation of the ‘M word that should not be mentioned’ because it is supposedly every female’s dirty little secret. They used shock value to get their message across by sticking sanitary pads on a wall – each with a different message: “I am not flawed or poorly made” “Don’t hide me” Some girls even walked around with stains on their shirts.  One thing that everyone needs to understand is that…

Pakistan’s Women: Honour and Shame

Pakistan’s Women: Honour and Shame

By Muna Adil In February 2016, Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won her second Oscar award for ‘A Girl in the River’, her ground-breaking documentary on the practice of honour killings in Pakistan. A spectacular personal achievement for Chinoy, a proud moment for Pakistan, and an excellent opportunity for much-needed awareness and dialogue. But not everyone was delighted at the win. The morning after the Oscars, ‘#WeDisownSharmeen’ was trending in the number one spot on Pakistani Twitter. The crux of the argument against Chinoy was that she was ‘unpatriotic’ for showcasing…

The likes of Nazimuddin Samad cannot die in vain

The likes of Nazimuddin Samad cannot die in vain

By Halima Begum Nazimuddin Samad, a 28 year old law student, was brutally murdered on 7th April, 2016 by Islamists in Bangladesh. His ‘crime’ – being critical of Islamism. He is the sixth Bangladeshi atheist/secular blogger to be killed in the last 15 months. The horror of what happened to Nazimuddin has sadly become the norm these days. It is almost an accepted form of hatred and resultant crime because he was provoking the delicate Islamists in his nation. Some asked, what did he expect in return? He was being…