Ramadan (Food) and the Working Girl

This year is my thirteenth Ramadan, and I have spent ten of them working full time. While my husband was always able to organize his annual leave to be off for two weeks in Ramadan, a collection of luck and circumstances meant that I usually had to work – a board meeting, a month-end close, a big court case…the list goes on. So I have gotten very good at organizing my life during Ramadan to make sure that I can still work and perform at reasonable levels and at the same time live my faith the way … [Read more...]

The Right to Play or Creeping Sharia? FIFA Overturns its Headscarf Ban

Source: weareasia.com

FIFA has overturned its headscarf ban, enforced since 2007, on women playing soccer with their heads covered. Predictably, the French Football Federation issued an instant “this won’t happen here” communiqué, whereas Qatar, hosting the 2022 Olympics, commended the decision.FIFA’s decision has incited strong criticism online. All you have to do is read the comments in news articles (including the ones I have linked) or participate in discussions on social media (if you like coming face to face … [Read more...]

The “Muslim Kristallnacht” and a Swiss Twittergate

Alexander Muller

One of the more colorful Muslim figures in Switzerland making the media rounds the past few months is Aziz Osmanoglu of Basel, who was recently on trial for hate speech charges.  The court case was based on Osmanoglu’s statements made to a Swiss TV show, which essentially added up to saying that it was “Sharia-compliant” to beat a recalcitrant wife if she refused to have sex. Specifically, he said, “A man needs sex. That is why he can, as a last resort, beat his wife if she refuses. If not, the m … [Read more...]

Yet Another Sensationalist Story about Muslim Girls and Swimming Lessons

Children swim at a pool in Switzerland. Image via Tages-Anzeiger.

Certain topics related to Muslims seem to go on and on like broken records in European countries. If it isn’t headscarves, it is swimming lessons (like these stories from Germany, Finland, and Norway).  This spring, a story about yet another Muslim family refusing swimming lessons made headlines in Switzerland.  In Basel, the families of five Muslim girls in elementary school were fined upon appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court for refusing that their daughters take part in mixed swimming lessons.  … [Read more...]

Change Is Now? No, Not Yet: Manuel Valls as France’s New Interior Minister

Manuel Valls

I was rather excited about Francois Hollande winning the French elections this month.  I hoped that five years of hateful, fear mongering policy towards Muslims by Sarkozy and his minions would come to an end and that Hollande, for all his supposed blandness, would bring some low-key normalcy to the French presidency.There was one flaw in my reasoning: Manuel Valls, Hollande’s new Interior Minister.  The Interior Minister in France is a quite important cabinet position, responsible for int … [Read more...]

Book Review: Rughum & Najda by Samar Habib

Rughum & Najda by Samar Habib

Rughum & Najda by Samar Habib is a fictional love story set in ninth-century Baghdad. Rughum, a Muslim woman, meets Najda, a witch who was raised with a Manichean family. Rughum and Najda’s love story is the main story around the stories of several lesbian (or “tharifa”) women in the book. Besides Rughum and Najda, we have Bathal, who because a woman of high rank and property when one of her male admirers bought her freedom; Qureisha, who lives with Bathal; and many others.According to a … [Read more...]

The French “Niqab Ban,” One Year On

Visage découvert poster

A year ago this week, a French law came into effect banning face veils for women.  At the time, the law was subject to much derision for “only” affecting the very specific number of 367 niqab and burqa-clad women (as of 2009) in France, although at its time, the law was thought to concern a couple thousand women.Anything relating to Muslims has long been a political tool in France, be it from the far-right National Front (FN) party, or from President Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UM … [Read more...]


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