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…

FGM in America: End cultural and religious based violence

FGM in America: End cultural and religious based violence

By Shirin Taber and Rickie Farnes, Middle East Women’s Leadership Network, in partnership with America Matters   Religious freedom — the right to practice your religion freely — is one of the greatest merits of the American experience. However, systematic abuses in the name of religion, committed daily against women, cut away at our universal rights and cannot be tolerated. A growing number of Islamists and male-centric communities inside the U.S. treat women as commodities for control and reproduction. Girls are taught that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a right…

Mahira Khan: A double helping of hypocrisy

Mahira Khan: A double helping of hypocrisy

By Aisha Ali-Khan   This is a cross-post The latest Pakistani woman to take a few million direct hits in the past 24 hours has been Pakistani actress Mahira Khan.  So what was her ‘crime’, I hear you ask?   Well the only ‘crime’, in my honest opinion, that she may be guilty of is not giving a flying hoo ha of what people think of her.  Her other crime, if you must know, was to enjoy a cigarette with a male colleague, Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, while at work….

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…

In the name of honour

In the name of honour

By Saima Baig   Qandeel Baloch was an anathema for a country like Pakistan. Coming from poverty, she rose to become independent and support herself and her family. She was an anathema because she did not care. She did not care what society thought of her and she did not care if they made fun of her. She was the bold and the beautiful. And one year ago, on July 15, 2016, she was murdered in the name of that tenuous and all important property of Pakistani men: honour. Her…

How to beat your wife

How to beat your wife

By Saima Baig   A few days ago, a video surfaced on the internet. In it, two hijab-clad women  in Australia were discussing the verse Surah Nisa in the Quran (4:34). The translation of the verse in question is as follows:   “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for [maintenance] from their wealth. So, righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom…