Sisterhood: Women in the East and West must both work together for equality

Sisterhood: Women in the East and West must both work together for equality

By Yasmine Mohammed   This is a cross-post Like many of you, I grew up reading about historical heroines of the suffragette movement. Women who faced imprisonment, risked their lives, or even willingly gave their lives to bring attention to their plight. These were women who were on the outskirts of society. They were disrupting the status quo. They were a threat to order. Not only did men find them threatening, as their cause was in direct resistance to the male dominated society, but women were threatened by them as…

The burqa represents an ideology that looks down on women

The burqa represents an ideology that looks down on women

By Khadija Khan   The ban on full face coverings came into effect in Denmark on August 1. Hardly anyone is focusing on the significance of this decision in the age of terrorist attacks. Instead, a large chunk of people seem to have bought into the fundamentalists’ claims that this move was aimed solely to bar Muslim women from veiling their faces. Non-Muslim protesters even wore burqas in ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women, standing on the wrong side of history by indirectly opposing the Muslim women who are defying the idea…

Is the Danish ‘burqa ban’ an infringement on Muslim women’s rights?

Is the Danish ‘burqa ban’ an infringement on Muslim women’s rights?

By Khadija Khan After France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria and the German state of Bavaria, Denmark has become the latest European country to ban full veil in public places. The veil, or niqab, is the attire mostly worn by ultra-conservative Muslim women. The ban has been criticised for being an infringement on Muslims women’s right to practice their religion. The Danish government, however, claimed that it is neither religiously motivated nor an infringement on Muslim women’s rights. Nevertheless, the law has once again stirred up debate about the western…

Iran: the Girls of Revolution Street

Iran: the Girls of Revolution Street

By Atoosa   This year, March 20th marked the first day of the solar calendar, the first day of spring. In Iran and across communities in Central Asia and the Middle East, as has been done for over 3,000 years, people of all races and religions celebrated the New Year with rituals and symbols of spring, family and food.  Reflecting on the past year, there has been a mass confrontation between the citizens and government, from across Iranian society and particularly from women, who have demonstrated a re-invigoration in the…

Resolution, Revolution

Resolution, Revolution

By Jimmy Bangash As I sit here in London On the cusp of the New Year; My heart  walks the streets of Iran.     For women have woken As a girl waves her hijab; Casting out the sound of Adhan. You cannot control them, No clergy can own them; This marks the death of Imams. Their bodies were plundered Wrapped up and covered; All in the name of Quran. Replace chador and virginity, With lipstick and liberty; Even though you think it’s Haram. Their voice is your death knell…

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….