The UK needs to legalise cannabis

The UK needs to legalise cannabis

By Saima Baig In the last few weeks or so, a fracas has unfolded in the UK media. Charlotte Caldwell, from Northern Ireland, had cannabis oil which was confiscated at Heathrow Airport, because it contains a psychoactive substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the psychoactive element in marijuana), high concentrations of which are illegal in the UK. The reason she had the oil was that her son Billy suffers from severe epilepsy and a doctor in Northern Ireland had prescribed it for him in 2017 – the first time someone was…

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 Al-Hijrah School ruling was a demonstration of powerful women in action

The Al-Hijrah School ruling was a demonstration of powerful women in action

By Amina Lone Women are often the first victims of extremism whether it is in policing what they wear, where they go, how they live or as victims of domestic violence.  Society looks, but we don’t see. We hear, but we don’t listen. Like campaigning for a new crossing on a dangerous road, an accident(s) has to happen before we act. At a time when sexual abuse allegations against establishment figures like Harvey Weinstein and others finally come to the fore, quietly in the background, a landmark decision was made…

The morality of the faith and faithless

The morality of the faith and faithless

By Amina Lone   Women and equality rights campaigners nervously await the High Court judgement in the gender segregation case: Ofsted v the Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham. Firmly opening up Parveen’s (Pandora’s) faith and education box again, I predict these types of cases will increase. Educational environments, primary right through to university campuses, are a key battleground for Islamist propaganda. Conversations revert back and forth, in the hope of the faith and faithless finding common ground. The most obvious manifestation of dysfunctionality — complete gender segregation — masked multiple levels…

Open letter: hijab in the classroom

Open letter: hijab in the classroom

Following the report in The Times, we, the undersigned, request a meeting with Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education, to discuss the unacceptable rise of the classroom hijab in state-funded primary schools. Female Muslim children as young as five are increasingly veiled and schools are sanctioning this by including it as part of school uniform policies. This is an affront to the historical fight for gender equality in our secular democracy and is creating a two-tiered form of non-equality for young Muslim girls. At a time of rising religious…

Hijab: Empowering or Oppressive?

Hijab: Empowering or Oppressive?

By Aisha Ali-Khan This is a cross-post   Last week, a Sunday Times investigation found that 1 in 5 primary schools now listed the ‘hijab’ as a official school uniform policy, even though young girls under the age of puberty are actually exempt from wearing it under accepted Islamic rulings. Campaigners such as Amina Lone, Gina Khan and Shaista Gohir have already brought a lot of attention to this very polemic issue. I hope to outline my own position and help put my previous comments into context with this blog….

Ironic anti-Prevent report proves just how direly we need the counter-terrorism strategy

Ironic anti-Prevent report proves just how direly we need the counter-terrorism strategy

By Muna Adil Channel 4 recently attempted to give female Muslim voices a platform after a report titled ‘The Missing Muslims’ described the relationship between British Muslims and the UK government as “broken.” Following the report’s overwhelmingly negative reception, Assed Baig, the senior reporter who presented the package last week, has since left the channel, although he and the network claim this was decided weeks in advance to the airing of the segment. Yet this isn’t the first time Baig has come under fire for supporting controversial views. In 2011, he…

Vilification of Faryal Makhdoom confirms outdated attitudes towards marriage break ups in South Asian communities

Vilification of Faryal Makhdoom confirms outdated attitudes towards marriage break ups in South Asian communities

By Aisha Ali Khan This is a cross-post The announcement by Amir Khan on Twitter that his marriage was over was shocking enough. But then he followed it up with a series of even more bizarre, disturbing and downright scandalous tweets in which he accused his now estranged wife  Faryal Makhdoom of not only being a gold digger, but also of cheating on him with a fellow boxer, Anthony Joshua. Khan’s last tweet reads: “Mans (sic) like (Anthony) Joshua can have my left overs” Calling the mother of your child ‘my…

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…