State of the (Superhero) Nation: Faiza Hussein in British Comics

Faiza Hussain is a British Muslim super heroine of Pakistani descent, introduced in the 2008-2009 comic series, Captain Britain and MI:13. For people who are unfamiliar with the shared universe of Marvel Comics: in 2008, there was a large scale alien invasion in the Marvel universe, and in order to reflect the international nature of this crisis, the new title, Captain Britain and MI:13, was brought out, bringing back some older Marvel UK characters in a new team. This being a definition of … [Read more...]

Homeland Insecurities: Nel Hedayat and Afghanistan

The BBC documentary Women, Weddings, War and Me follows 21-year-old British Afghan Nel Hedayat (pictured below) as she returns to Afghanistan 15 years after she and her family left.The accompanying article was my first exposure to Hedayat’s experience there, and it provides a different perspective than the documentary did. The article came across as another replay of the broken record of dual British Muslim identities and the experience of women in non-Western countries as unrelentingly t … [Read more...]

The Green Scare: Muslim Immigrants as Britain’s Welfare Queens

British tabloids are often accused of offering hysterical coverage of major and inconsequential events alike.* The Daily Mail lives up to this unflattering generalization in its article regarding Essma Marjam, a single mother of six who is receiving housing benefits for a five bedroom house in the London Borough of Westminster.This is one in a long line of articles in The Daily Mail and other newspapers reflecting their outrage over single mothers receiving living costs from the state … [Read more...]

Portrait of The Grey Lady: Aafia Siddiqui’s Construction in the Media

Following a long trial, this month Aafia Siddiqui was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder of U.S. soldiers and FBI agents while being held in custody in Afghanistan in 2008. Known as “Lady al Qaeda,” she was identified in 2004 as the only woman among seven most wanted al Qaeda operatives.The media coverage of her trial has made much of her extensive psychiatric testing, which eventually concluded that she had faked her mental illness. Doctors stated that she was "in … [Read more...]

Driving Me Crazy: The BBC’s Muslim Driving School

The BBC is airing a six-episode television series, called Muslim Driving School, about Muslim women who are learning to drive. The show purports to not only follow these women as they learn, but to provide an insight into their inner lives.Muslim Driving School is billed as being about British Muslim women, but from the introduction onward, a narrower focus is introduced--a focus on mostly Asian Muslim women, from what are described as "traditional" Muslim communities, living in northern … [Read more...]

Naked Ambition: Airport Body Scanners Only Offensive to Muslim Women?

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for a gradual introduction of body scanners into U.K. airports following the failed attack on an American airliner on Christmas Day European nations are split over the necessity of introducing the body scanners. Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are planning to install the scanners on a large scale in the near future, while France, Germany and Spain remain undecided, with the Belgian Home Secretary coming out to declare … [Read more...]

Making an Egg-xample of Baroness Warsi

The U.K.'s Conservative Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion Baroness Sayeeda Warsi was pelted with eggs last week while in Luton to give a talk about the war in Afghanistan. Upon attempting to enter into a debate with a group of men heckling her and claiming that "this woman does not represent Islam", she was talked over and ignored.While the egg-throwing is garnering a lot of publicity, the men Warsi attempted to engage in debate deny responsibility, or as the Daily Mail laughably claims, … [Read more...]