Rejected (Muslim) Princesses: awesomely offbeat women in history

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If you're our regular reader, you know that mainstream media sorely lacks female characters who have a range of emotions, abilities and ambitions - in other words: real women.Children's animated films are of no exception. It was only in 2009 that Disney introduced its first Disney princess of colour, black princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. More recently, Princess Elsa of Frozen (2013) was lauded for being a "complex and contentious heroine" by the Feminist Wire. But most cha … [Read more...]

Stability and Sustainability: Interview with Dr Hawa Abdi

hawa

It is a calm and cool afternoon in Nairobi, Kenya, when I catch up with Dr Hawa Abdi over Skype. After working hard in Mogadishu’s difficult circumstances with her two physician daughters Deqo and Amina Mohamed, she sometimes comes to Nairobi to rest and relax. Speaking over a passable internet connection, our conversation is peppered with silences, as our words travel between Kenya and Singapore. 68 year-old Dr Abdi, affectionately known by Somalis as Mama Hawa, is more than Somalia’s first gyn … [Read more...]

One Muslim’s furry initiative gets Malaysian religious authorities hot under the collar

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Previously published on the author's personal blog.A few days ago, my husband killed a small mouse which had been living in our kitchen for some time (possibly a year, if it's the same one). He meant to trap it and release it but in a moment of panic he killed it (while apologising to it and that's why I married this dude). After the trauma of having experienced the senseless killing of an innocent animal, I lay in bed thinking about why I had such an irrational reaction to seeing the … [Read more...]

I got 18 mosque problems and being a woman is one

This week, I came across the video “Things not to do in the masjid” in my Facebook feed. The two guys behind the video, Americans of Afghani background Shukran and Roshan under the moniker SRBRosEntertainment, acted out 18 different scenarios with another actor. The video is clearly a hit, with over 960,000 views to date.I had a good laugh at the first 14 scenarios because I could relate to them, even though these are based in North American mosques. For example, I’ve had personal exper … [Read more...]

I know, I know, hijab makes you beautiful

Screenshot from video

When I was 19 years old and just exiting from the rebellious teenage years, I stepped out of the house with my hijabi sister. I was newly de-jabbed (the first tentative attempt of many), and feeling awkward and – for lack of a better description – naked. My neighbour happened to step out at the same time, looked at the two of us, and proceeded to declare my sister the prettier of the two of us.“Beautiful! Your sister looks so beautiful in hijab!” Embarrassed, I tried to disappear. Eventually … [Read more...]

Disabled Muslims Need More than Du’a to Overcome Mosque Barriers

A sign found in Singapore’s Sultan Mosque encouraging fit and able-bodied women to use the second floor.

“How is your situation with attending the mosque?” begins a video by Kuwaiti preacher Mishary Al-Kharaz, before he introduces us to his “friend in Yemen”.The video shows Kamal, a young man with a “handicap”, as he enters a mosque, prays sitting on a chair and then goes up to the second floor after the maghrib prayer to attend a Qur’an memorisation class.All this despite the fact that he walks with difficulty on level flooring, has to crawl up the stairs, and struggles to recite Qur’an … [Read more...]

My Subversive Little Girl in Blue

Photo provided by the author.

I’ve always been fascinated by how certain symbols function as gender markers in the societies I’ve known. Little hijabs for little girls is one example, while a non-Muslim friend of mine dresses her also sparsely coiffed infant in frilly pink dresses because people keep thinking she’s a little boy. It can be so uncomfortable for parents to see their little girl babies be still bald for years that a little hijab or flower headpiece seems truly essential.I’m not too bothered by what people … [Read more...]


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