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...]

Hey Girl, You Got It Covered

Let's try for a little less of this...

The ladies of MMW recieved a link to this video on Twitter. For the videophobes and those who don't want their brain to melt and leak out of their ears, it is a song apparently about hijab called “You Got it Covered.” sampling of the lyrics is as follows: “girl, you’re more than just some skin and a fashion trend”“you remind me that you’re more than just a pretty face/ you remind me that you’re more than just a pr … [Read more...]

Gender, Religion, Custody: The Case of Amina Tarar

Last month, the Lahore High Court made an interesting decision: to hand over a Pakistani child, Amina Tarar, to her French mother.  The case made headlines because the child’s mother, Ingrid Brandon Burger, is a non-Muslim. Amina’s father, Abdul Razzak Tarar, had taken the child from France to Pakistan in 2005, but the parties disagree on whether the mother had consented at the time. What is known is that French courts had given the mother custody shortly prior to Amina leaving the country, and t … [Read more...]

NiqaBitch Did it Better

An-Sofie Dewinter in her niqab-bikini combo. Image via Arrêt sur Images.

As MMW’s Artsy Niqab Spotter, man my hands are full!  If I’m not checking out French performance artists or Swiss campaign posters with minarets and niqabs, there are just so many people using niqabs as their accessory du jour and not enough time to write about them all.  I can’t keep up!So I had to make a choice, and our latest candidate in the “Let’s Play Dress-Up Like Muslim Women and Call it an Edgy, Disruptive Political Statement” is An-Sofie Dewinter, daughter of Filip Dewinter, a l … [Read more...]