Ramadan in a Time of Movement

Now that I’ve gotten over my pre-Ramadan funk and am well into the thick of this month, it’s a good time to reflect on how my Ramadan is going. Unlike my expected pre-Ramadan moping, this Ramadan has been anything but predictable; in fact, it’s been downright diasporic.In June I had to make a last-minute cross-country move from Southern California to New York. Thanks to my husband’s oh so “stable” career choice (doctor) and his not-so-organized academic institution, I’m not new to drop-of-the … [Read more...]

From Moping to Musing: My Ramadan Roller Coaster

My conversion experience deeply informs my Muslim experience. We (converts) have varied experiences in our journeys and paths to Islam. Some have it easy—finding the transition relatively seamless—and others have a bumpy ride peppered with moments of angst and frustration. As an Egyptian-American convert, mine is the latter, driven by the disownment of my own family and the clumsy amalgamation into my husband’s Pakistani family and into an often dysfunctional spiritual family.Admittedly, I fi … [Read more...]

“The Light in Her Eyes” Sheds Some Light on the Women of Syria

We are bombarded with images from Syria every day — flashing across our television screens and updating in our Facebook newsfeeds. They are horrific pictures of the carnage left in the aftermath of massacres. It has been over a year now since the beginning of the Syrian uprising and there seems to be no relief from the continuing assaults on the Syrian people. At a time when we risk becoming desensitized to this ongoing horror, it is important to truly see the people in the images playing out in … [Read more...]

Words of Witness: Women Journalists Document Egypt’s Revolution

Amidst masses of anxious men stands a woman in a grey and pink headscarf, armed with a to-do-list doubling as a journalist’s notepad, and a pink pen. This woman is 22-year-old Heba Afify and she is determined to document the voice of her people.Afify is the charming protagonist of a documentary titled “Words of Witness.”  Part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, the 68-minute film by filmmaker Mai Iskander follows Heba Afify as she captures the stories of citizens during the Egypti … [Read more...]

Are We So Different: A Documentary Short Film That Falls Short of Telling Women’s Stories

Taking the title of “Best Documentary Short Film 2012” in the third Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is the telling documentary, “Amra Ki Etoi Bhinno.” The KASHISH – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, an annual event held in Mumbai, India since 2010, screens films related to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer issues India and around the world.“Amra Ki Etoi Bhinno” or “Are We So Different” is a film that follows hijras — a South Asian term for physiological males w … [Read more...]

Welcoming Intersections: How Pakistan’s Recent Changes in Civil Rights Legislations Bring Us Closer Together

Last month marked a positive milestone in Pakistan’s civil rights legislations. Transgendered citizens, known as hijra or eunuchs, were allowed for the first time identify themselves as transgendered when registering to vote.The new legislation came after a much debated constitutional case in 2008 regarding the humiliation and ill treatment of transgendered persons in Pakistan.  The case has proceeded over a span of 20 hearings. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, in addition to cr … [Read more...]

“Saving Face” May be a Saving Grace for Women Victims of Acid Attacks

Update: This film won the Oscar for its category. Congratulations to those involved in its creation!For the first time in the history of the Academy Awards a Pakistani filmmaker has been nominated for an Oscar. The 2012 Oscar’s “Best Documentary Short” category features a 40 minute short film by journalist and investigative filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy.Ms. Chinoy is known for making hard-hitting documentaries such as Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret and Pakistan: The Taliban Ge … [Read more...]