Forced Conversions and the Nigerian Media

If Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, the fastest growing religion in African countries may be Christianity. In Nigeria, it is so rare to see or hear news of women converting to any religion other than Christianity that when it does happen, the initial assumption is that the conversion must have been forced. Interestingly I did a simple search on conversions to Islam in Nigeria, on scanning the first couple of pages a trend became clear. Where it was women converting, the … [Read more...]

The #ChildNotBride Debacle in Nigeria

An image from the #ChildNotBride campaign. Via The Stream.

During Ramadan, a great uproar took place in Nigeria over actions by the government that were interpreted as trying to legalise child marriage. During a constitutional review, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima argued that a subsection of Nigeria's 1999 constitution should not be removed as it affects the rights of Muslim women. Section 29 of the Nigerian constitution allows Nigerian citizens aged 18 and above to give up their citizenship. Section 29, 4(b) goes on further to elaborate that any married … [Read more...]

Tired of Explaining: An Interfaith Relationship in Ramadan

This year marks the second or third time I’ve observed Ramadan as an adult in Nigeria. I have always been aware of how ethnic and religious lines are drawn in Nigeria but each time I am in the country, it always strikes me again like a slap in the face. In a context where hyper-religiosity is the norm, where on every street corner there is at least one or two churches plus an equal number of mosques, and lines are drawn between Islam and Christianity (all other religions are ignored), religion b … [Read more...]

The Colourful Drones of Mahwish Chishty

Chishty's painting "X-47B." [Source].

In the past few years, drones have emerged from virtually been unknown to becoming a symbol of modern warfare. Almost simultaneously, artists have subverted drones by turning them into art in a rising subculture: from the drone cinema that features films shot from hexacopters, and the Drones of New York and quadrocopters fly-dancing in Austria, to David Shook's “Poetry Drone” project, which aims at raising $10,000 to buy a flying drone that will cruise over cities, raining down antiwar poems on t … [Read more...]

The Women at the Forefront of Somalia’s Future

Somali women at a health clinic.  Via Through the Fire.

For more than 20 years there has been a continuous stream of bad news where Somalia is concerned with images of war, famine and piracy. Now with Al Shabaaab driven out of Mogadishu, and the Somali Transitional Government and African Union in control of the capital, Somalia seems to have joined the Africa Rising tide, and interestingly the image of Somalia's new era of a peaceful future seems to be largely women.Indeed, a dominant narrative in rebuilding Somalia seems to focus on women, … [Read more...]

The Colourful Hijab of the African Muslimah

Photo from the Darfur Sartorialist (source).

The Darfur Sartorialist is an exhibition launched by Portuguese urban engineer, humanitarian and photographer Pedro Matos to showcase the colourful clothing and trendy fashion sense of women in Darfur, Sudan.Matos was in Darfur for three and a half years with the World Food Programme when he started taking these photographs in a country where it is apparently forbidden to do so. Initially surprised by the style and fashion that thrives in Darfur, contrary to Western images of the region … [Read more...]

Rise of the Niqabi Criminal: Balaclavas, Burkas and Bank Robberies


On December 30 of last year, someone wearing a niqab threw acid in the face of 20 year old Victoria's Secret shop assistant, Naomi Oni as she returned home after a late shift work one night. As Naomi Oni approached the flat she shared with her mother in Dagenham, East London, she caught a glimpse of the attacker before the acid was thrown at her.  Naomi Oni was almost blinded in the terrible, apparently random attack, although the Daily Mail guesses that this attack may have been motivated by … [Read more...]