Cuties: Netflix’s controversial film and the child exploitation that we don’t discuss

Cuties: Netflix’s controversial film and the child exploitation that we don’t discuss

By Khadija Khan   The Netflix film Cuties, directed by Franco-Senegalese Filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, has caused a lot of controversy. The coming-of-age movie shows very young girls in France dressed inappropriately for their age and performing highly sexualised dance routines. As a result, there have been calls for Netflix to ban the movie; Doucouré has also received death threats for having made such a film. In Cuties (‘Mignonnes’ in French), we see 11-year-old Amy, a lonely and alienated French girl of Senegalese origin, who is caught between her own immigrant…

Virginity: losing my most ‘valuable’ asset  

Virginity: losing my most ‘valuable’ asset   

By Reema They say love is a beautiful thing. For many women in Saudi Arabia, that just isn’t the case. We were taught that love is only allowed after marriage. It is also expected that one’s marriage will be arranged by one’s family. That didn’t stop us, however, from searching for love. You just had to know how to keep it a secret. Like many girls, I had always dreamt of finding love. And I did find love—or so I thought. I had a secret boyfriend, as a lot of…

Naz Shah and Salma Yaqoob: two sides of the same coin?

Naz Shah and Salma Yaqoob: two sides of the same coin?

By Khadija Khan The row between Labour shadow minister Naz Shah and prospective candidate for West Midlands Metro Mayor Salma Yaqoob reflects the abominable situations within Muslim communities, where women have to grapple with a doubled-edged sword in order to get to positions of power. It is unfathomable how difficult it is for women of Muslim heritage to excel when men are disproportionately in top positions, and some women try to put down women also of Muslim heritage through smears and mudslinging. Shah accused Yaqoob of being unfit to be a Labour candidate…

Israa Gharib’s ‘honour killing’ should make us examine the religious sources and the cultures that embolden misogyny

Israa Gharib’s ‘honour killing’ should make us examine the religious sources and the cultures that embolden misogyny

By Khadija Khan Israa Gharib, a 21 year old Palestinian woman from the Bethlehem area, was purportedly murdered in August in an “honour killing”. Gharib, a make-up artist, was reportedly killed at the hands of her relatives for merely posting a picture on Instagram with her soon-to-be fiancé. Three of Israa’s relatives have now been charged and others who also played a part in her death will also be prosecuted. The young woman’s murder has once against revealed the problems in conservative Muslim societies, where honour killings are prevalent and…

Promoting a toxic modesty culture does a disservice to Muslim women

Promoting a toxic modesty culture does a disservice to Muslim women

By Khadija Khan US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American, recently said in a Vogue magazine interview: “To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty, and resistance.” The debate around modesty culture has a great sway on how it is perceived in different cultures. Most commonly it is associated with the oppression of women in conservative societies. It is rooted in religious and cultural mores to control women’s bodily autonomy, restraining a woman’s sexuality in order to rid society of moral depravity that may provoke male arousal. This modest way of…

The myth of the hijabi woman’s agency

The myth of the hijabi woman’s agency

By Saima Baig   Let’s clear one thing out from the beginning. This blog is not about banning women from wearing the veil. Freedom of religion necessitates that people are able to practice their religion the way they are required to. People are free to make religious decisions, even if those decisions are stupid, so long as they are personal and not harmful to others. This blog is also not about the false equivalence between veiled women and the so-called “scantily-clad” women. There is no equivalence. Yes, women should dress whichever…

Female Muslim politicians need to be champions for Muslim women not patriarchal organisations

Female Muslim politicians need to be champions for Muslim women not patriarchal organisations

By Khadija Khan   The victory of the first two American-Muslim women in the US midterm elections — Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — is unprecedented. Many people are celebrating their success as a victory against President Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim policies and the empowerment of hijab-wearing Muslim women in Western societies. Only a few seem concerned with the status of ordinary Muslim women, who are often still treated as second-class citizens int heir own communities. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in the United States but many…

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…