Film Review: The Source

I first heard about the film The Source via a Mark Kermode film review. Put simply, it is a story set in a remote North African village (the country is not named in the film). The village depends on income from visiting tourists and the there is little work for men there, unless they move to the city. This poverty also means that the village does not have a central water supply. Instead, they rely on a water source atop a steep hill, the fetching of which is seen solely as women's work, despite … [Read more...]

Kosovo’s Athletes at the London Olympics

While there has been much publicity about whether Saudi Arabia will send any female athletes to the London 2012 Olympics (the latest news is that they have allowed women to compete), there is another Muslim-majority country that definitely won't be sending any female athletes. Actually, they won't be sending any male athletes either, because this country does not exist. Or rather, it has only been recognised by 80 countries worldwide, and therefore does not exist in the eyes of the International … [Read more...]

Zarifa Qazizadah: Afghan Supergran

To people of a certain age, the word Supergran might bring to mind a Scottish superhero from the 80's, but this week a headline about an Afghan “supergran” was a world away from Saturday afternoon TV.The article tells us that Zarifah Qazizadah is Afghanistan's only female village chief; in fact, she's only the second woman to ever hold this position. So what did she do to achieve such a level of authority that is so rarely allowed for women? Certainly her background was not unusual: she had t … [Read more...]

Influential Woman: Fatou Bensouda

Muslim women were well represented in the Time Magazine list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World this year. Samya wrote yesterday about three of the women, Samira Ibrahim, Manal al-Sharif and Maryam Durani, who are portrayed as women fighting against oppression and in wider media coverage are clearly identified as Muslim women, coming from “Muslim countries.” However the faith of Fatou Bensouda, who will take over as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) this Jun … [Read more...]

FundaMattel: Sub-Satrapi Bollocks Masquerading as Art

Burqa, burqa, burqa. Will we ever reach the stage where there is nothing more to say on the subject? Sometimes I think we've covered every angle of critique, but then there comes yet idiocy to be challenged. Worse still, this is idiocy in the name of art. Witness artist Rachel Joy's latest work.Here we go:“FundaMattel: If Barbie Wore A Burqua explores fundamentalism (in its many guises), materialism and constructions of femininity. Mattel is the home of Barbie, an extremist r … [Read more...]

Beyond M & M: Moving Past the Muslimness and Motherhood of Nurul Izzah Anwar

With the recent high-profile acquittal (on charges of sodomy) of Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister and current opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, there has been increased international interest in Malaysian politics. Along with Ibrahim, the spotlight has also fallen on his People's Justice Party and one of its leading lights, Nurul Izzah Anwar, daughter of Ibrahim and party President Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. While her entrance into politics was triggered by her father's legal … [Read more...]

Choose Your Caption: Niqab as Illustrative of, Well, Everything

The development of a university course about Muslim women in the media and the threats faced by Muslim women activists would appear to be two very different stories. Yet they were both illustrated by nearly identical photographs: a lone Muslim woman wearing black clothing + black niqab. This is far from the first time such unrelated photographs have been shoehorned into coverage of Muslim women.While it's tempting to stifle a yawn, these choices of stock photographs should be challenged … [Read more...]