Switzerland’s Minaret Ban: New Victims for an Old Propaganda

Last month, Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of mosque minarets. It’s worth reminding everyone that among the 150 mosques built in Switzerland, only four used to have a minaret. Four too many, according to the right-wing Swiss People’s Party and 57% of the Swiss voters.Unlike other European countries, Switzerland has no colonial past in Arab or predominately Muslim countries, which many of the Muslim migrants living in Europe come from. Almost 60% of the Muslims based in Swi … [Read more...]

Questioning Marnia Lazreg’s One-Way Correspondence with Muslim Women

Reading Marnia Lazreg’s new book Questioning the Veil (Princeton University Press, 2009) was at the same time a useful and annoying experience.The book is useful because it compiles every single argument that has already been brought against women wearing the veil, from the stupidest arguments (i.e, it prevents women from “the coquettish desire” of wearing earrings) to the “scientific” ones (i.e, veiling has “potentially deleterious psychological effects”).The book is also annoying because th … [Read more...]

Thanks to God, We Are Not Frightened: the Resistance of Women in Hezbollah

Women of Hezbollah is a 50-minute film directed by Maher Abi Samra. It takes place between 1996 and 2000.Ten years after the last Israeli aggression (and defeat) in south Lebanon, reviewing this documentary may sound anachronistic. But sometimes distance helps to get a more accurate insight about Hezbollah--a major political actor that is unjustly demonized most of the time. Getting a rational insight, not from experts but from real actors--women who are members of Hezbollah--offers revealing … [Read more...]

Your Joke is Not My Joke: Racism and Sexism in Jokes and Satire

Have you ever noticed how minorities—and oppressed people in general—lack a sense of humor? Lately, there have been plenty of jokes about Arabs and Muslims. So why aren’t we laughing?French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux recently felt his joke fall flat after this year’s summer congress. One of his traditional supporters, Amin Benalia, asked if he could take a picture with the minister. A woman in the crowd jokingly introduced Benalia to the team as someone different because he “eats pork an … [Read more...]

Feminists in Neverland: Wolf and Chesler Play War

Salon's "Feminists face off over the veil" is supposed to reflect a serious debate, not only related to feminism itself, but to the conception non-Muslim feminists have of Islam. Writer Tracy Clark-Flory depicts the feud in a very anti-feminist way, as some kind of wrestling game: "In one corner, we have Naomi Wolf [...] In the other, we have Phyllis Chesler". The warlike lexicon in this text seems trying either to turn the dialogue between the two feminists into an aggressive interaction (like, … [Read more...]

The French (Dis)Connection: on the role of Media and Politics in the Burqa Ban

Aged patronizing feminists, young veiled victims (of Islamist threat), and endangered laïcité éternelle (everlasting secularism): those were the main ingredients of a huge media bubble blown into people’s minds in France this summer.It all started with the sketch of a proposition bill: André Gérin, a left-wing deputy and mayor asked in June the French Parliament to create an Enquiry Commission into the wearing of burqa. His text, co-signed by 58 other deputies, aimed to define legally the lengt … [Read more...]

MMW introduces another new contributor!

Dear Muslimah Media Watch Readers,I'm princesse de Clèves, a new contributor based in Paris, France.As a long-time MMW reader, I have enjoyed the articles as much as the challenging dialogues involved by your comments. As a writer, I will hopefully cover the stories and discourses related to the representation of women and Islam in the European media landscape. Deconstruction in prospect!If you have any suggestion, please feel free to contact me.If you want to know more about my backgroun … [Read more...]