The burkini ban is yet another way of policing women’s bodies

The burkini ban is yet another way of policing women’s bodies

By Aliyah Saleem   You know what they say: one woman’s bathing suit is another’s tool of Islamism that needs to be crushed before we see the full Islamisation of Europe. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when French officials in Cannes or Nice sat together in their meetings, after sending serious emails to one another to discuss the banning of an ominously named swimsuit. Women of Muslim heritage just don’t seem to get a break. If we aren’t fighting Islamic patriarchy to show our…

Muslim women should be a priority for the Government as well as their own communities

Muslim women should be a priority for the Government as well as their own communities

By Yasmin Weaver This is a cross-post   The Women and Equalities Committee’s report entitled “Employment opportunities for Muslims in the UK”, released on Thursday 11th August 2016, makes a great number of recommendations to the Government on improving the accessibility to employment for British Muslims. According to the report, unemployment rates for Muslims are more than twice of that of the general population at 12.8%. A further breakdown shows 41% of Muslims are economically inactive, 65% of which are women. Addressing and removing barriers to employment for Muslims, and Muslim…

They Called me Shameless

They Called me Shameless

By Scheherazade They called me shameless A disgrace For falling in love For wanting control over my own life The heart wants what it wants What could I have done? When I came home that night Trying to creep into my bed There they were Waiting for me instead. Rage on their faces. Slut Whore Beghairat, they said. All I wanted was to be free Soar with these wings Fly, wherever the wind would take me But I carried their honour Like a noose around my neck Which became tight Until…

Concerns over the inquiry into Sharia councils must not be dismissed

Concerns over the inquiry into Sharia councils must not be dismissed

By Maryam Namazie   Over 200 women’s rights campaigners and organisations recently signed a public letter to Theresa May criticising the government inquiry into Sharia councils chaired by Mona Siddiqui. Whilst a review into Sharia bodies and their impact on gender equality and justice is long overdue, we are concerned that the review is focusing on “best practice” when the issue is not “moderate” versus “extreme” Sharia law but women’s rights. Siddiqui’s inquiry erroneously begins with the premise that Sharia “courts” have a role to play in governing private and…

Qandeel Baloch: A Trailblazing Non-Conforming Woman

Qandeel Baloch: A Trailblazing Non-Conforming Woman

By Arshia Malik There are many women who are non-conformists and Qandeel Baloch, aka Fouzia Azeem, was one of them. Sticking two fingers to a deeply misogynistic, patriarchal society, she lived life the way she wanted.  It is not an easy life to live — carefree and not bothered about the judgement and constant berating, ridicule and putting down from other compatriots, especially women. There has to be a strong sense of injustice to go against the very grain of your own family, peer group, tribe or a ”collective conscience”. Her marriage…

Women like Qandeel Baloch must not die in vain

Women like Qandeel Baloch must not die in vain

By Iram Ramzan   Yet another woman’s life has prematurely been taken in an ‘honour killing’. Pakistani internet sensation Qandeel Baloch was strangled by her brother on Friday night while at her family home in Multan, Punjab. After going on the run, her brother Waseem was later arrested. In his confession video, he expressed no regret. “I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first, then I killed her,” said Waseem.”She was bringing dishonor to our family.” Qandeel’s posts were considered to be controversial in Pakistan. She rose to fame…

Don’t ban the burqa – challenge the modesty doctrines instead

Don’t ban the burqa – challenge the modesty doctrines instead

By Tehmina Kazi Unlike other articles on Muslim women’s sartorial trends, this one will not start with a terrible “thinly-veiled” pun, or a picture of a woman with her face covered in black  cloth. Shazia Hobbs managed to avoid both these traps in her “Ban the burqa” article, which correctly identified religious fundamentalism as a bigger problem in the current generation of British Muslims, than in previous generations.  The proliferation of face-veils is simply one manifestation of this; other manifestations include gender segregation on university campuses, and the ex-communication (or takfir) of…

Transgender people in Pakistan: Demonisation of the ‘other’

Transgender people in Pakistan: Demonisation of the ‘other’

By Saima Baig   Transgender people have long been a part of the history of South Asia. Their stories are told in the Kama Sutra and they have existed in the Indian sub-continent for centuries. They were part of the courts of both Muslim and Hindu emperors and performed various spiritual and gender-liminal roles. Subsequently, while they were not openly ostracised by society, they tended to live on its edge, making their living by performing at functions, begging and as sex workers — but never as full members of the population with rights equal…

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…