A Potential Burqa Ban at the Federal Level in Switzerland

The optimism in my last post, at least for Switzerland, has been tempered with news coming out of Switzerland last week.In Switzerland (where niqab is already banned in Ticino since 2013), the German-speaking newspaper SonntagsBlick recently cited a survey saying that 62% of the Swiss population would be in favor of a burqa ban.  Granted, the Tribune de Geneve mentioned that the methodology of the SonntagsBlick survery was not made clear. But as usual, Muslim women and their clothing are the … [Read more...]

The Latest on the Headscarf “Situation” in Switzerland

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The Swiss federal government gives a lot of leeway to cantons, cities and even schools and professional associations (for those of you who remember the Sura al Shawk case, where the original decision of basketball association, Probasket, was allowed to stand by the courts) to decide their hijab policies on a case-by-case basis.So despite having a nationwide minaret ban (which isn't as much about Islam as it appears on the surface), unlike in France, there is no national headscarf "law" in … [Read more...]

No Culture for Niqabis

Part of the infographic produced by Libération.

The French "niqab" ban (burqa ban, whatever ban…call it what you will) of October 2010 has not faded away from the public consciousness in France at all. What I had originally hoped was just right-wing propaganda has turned out to be, since its entry into force in April 2011, part and parcel of a unique French interpretation of democracy and a revisionist version of French secularism, or laïcité. What started as laïcité was a series of what were originally anti-Catholic laws in 1882 and 1905, whi … [Read more...]

Book Review: Muslim American Women on Campus by Shabana Mir

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As an American Muslimah who graduated from an American university in 2004, I was very interested to read Shabana Mir’s new book Muslim American Women on Campus: Undergraduate Social Life and Identity, to see how her conclusions lined up with my experiences. In this book, Mir looks at how Muslim women students forge their social and religious identities on campus. In doing so, she touches on three main themes (which we can agree could be the great unifiers of any college experience): clothing, b … [Read more...]

Ramadan for One

Having moved to a new city two years ago, and going through some changes in my personal life last year, my “Zurich-era” Ramadans have become rather solitary affairs.  I’m away from family, I’m away from what I consider “my” masjid, and I live alone. Since I tend to be an introvert and my day job keeps me busy, I’m not as upset about it as I could be.  Before, my Ramadans ebbed and flowed with the cultural expectations that Ramadan absolutely MUST include copious amounts of cooking, tons of guests … [Read more...]

It’s Almost 2013 and Yet We Still Have to Write About This Stuff

I do feel a twinge of guilt at the hipster irony of being the white girl here (there’s a joke somewhere I am sure) but can we talk about this article from The Telegraph?  With the title “The Unique Advantage of Female War Reporters in Muslim Countries,” we are treated to the special version of the weak sauce “third gender” argument, because, you know, all Muslim men only respect white women professionals, the third gender; and we (white women) have special access to Mozrab field reporting. The ar … [Read more...]

Recent Good News Out of Switzerland

Girls in headscarves enter a school. Image via RTS.ch.

Courts in the Swiss canton of Thurgau have overturned on appeal the cantonal school district’s decision to forbid two Albanian girls from wearing the headscarf to school.  The story begins in 2011, when two 14-year-old girls were forbidden from wearing their headscarves to classes.  What ensued was a two-year legal battle that saw the school’s decision approved once by the courts, then now overturned. Surprising to me is that the ruling found that a blanket ban on headscarves was dispr … [Read more...]


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