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

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...]

French Magazine Le Point’s Shameless Headline

November 1 cover of Le Point.

France is and will always be my special soapbox, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when crap like this comes out. On November 1st, the magazine ran a cover with a niqabi (OF COURSE) on the front, with the headline “Cet Islam sans gêne” (This Brazen Islam), with a sub-headline of examples of where Muslims are behaving badly: schools, cafeterias, pools, schools, school programs. Note that in France these are always the examples of Muslims behaving badly, the actual content is such weak sauce I wo … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Islamophobia Industry

Cover of The Islamophobia Industry. Image via Pluto Press.

Nathan Lean’s book The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims is a look at the pernicious ways in which anti-Muslim sentiment is fostered, both in the US and to a smaller extent in Europe.Although MMW is primarily focused on Muslim women in the media and their issues, I chose to review this book anyway because it lends context to the issues that affect us. In recent months, I have been told that Islamophobia doesn’t exist (and is just a fabrication of the victim men … [Read more...]

When Laïcité Goes Wrong, or When Burqa Checks Start Getting Real

Since the anti-burqa law (or whatever you want to call it, I can’t anymore) was passed in France, women with “full cover” can be cited for non-compliance, and can be stopped for identity checks.  We all remember the story of the polygamous butcher and his many niqab-clad wives gleefully committing welfare fraud.  One of his wives was stopped while driving, and it was argued that she was pulled over, not for a traditional traffic offense, but because she was driving with a niqab on (which is why s … [Read more...]

Ramadan Dawah

Y u no be nice?

I wanted to go back to one of the points I made in my first Ramadan post, namely that how we carry ourselves during Ramadan is in itself a form of dawah. Telling people about Islam isn’t just street preaching and teaching at the masjid; it is also the image of Islam we project to the world. That doesn’t mean we do Ramadan for other people – we do Ramadan to please God (at least, in theory) – but if we are miserable, niccing out and irritable, people are going to think that Ramadan is no fun. You … [Read more...]

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...]