South African Muslimahs Speak about Headscarves at Airports

Over the Christmas and New Year season, Quraysha Ismail Sooliman, South African Muslimah scholar and lecturer in Political Studies at the University of Pretoria, was on her way out of the country with her family. At Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, she and her daughters were stopped at passport control, and one of her daughters was asked to remove her headscarf in order to be properly identified. The same happened upon their return, when her second daughter was asked the same, … [Read more...]

The Fight over South Africa’s Muslim Marriage Bill Rages on

Recently, the South African Justice Ministry opened the latest draft of the Muslim Marriages Bill (MMB) up for public comment and called for submissions on the bill’s contents.Along with this came the media furor over the Muslim community’s reaction to the idea of the government recognizing Muslim marriages as Muslim marriages and providing legislation for Muslims according to both constitutional gender equality and the dynamism of fiqh. The point of this post is not to assess the Sha … [Read more...]

Without a Prayer: Eid for Muslim Women in South Africa

Several weeks after Eid al-Fitr, it’s a good time to analyze the recent media embroglio about women and Eid prayers in South Africa. The ways in which South African Muslims interact with the media has changed drastically in the last few years with the rise of social media, and this has reflected itself especially in what has been called "the desktop gender jihad” (women using the internet to fight, lobby and advocate for their rights).In the weeks following Eid al-Fitr, a group of South Afr … [Read more...]

Regressive Redemption in CII’s Ramadan Serial

Channel Islam International, often considered to be the “more progressive” Muslim community radio station in Johannesburg, is broadcasting a radio drama series for the month of Ramadan. The show is titled “Redemption Road,” and aims to be a representation of South African Indian Muslim society and its idiosyncrasies while reminding listeners to their often-forgotten purpose in life.While the show does deal with important issues like wife neglect/abuse and teen problems, it is severely stereot … [Read more...]

Sneak Preview of Onion Tears by Shubnum Khan

Yesterday, we interviewed Shubnum Khan about her book, Onion Tears. Today, we have a preview of her book, which has been shortlisted for the Penguin Prize for African Writing. KHADEEJAHKhadeejah knew a great deal about husbands.In her many years of moving around the country she had come across a number of them. There were:1.)    The good ones who rubbed your back when you vomited. And tried to fry eggs on Sunday mornings.2.)    The mean ones who slammed your fingers in doors. Or pinched y … [Read more...]

Interview with Author Shubnum Khan

Shubnum Khan is a young Muslimah from Durban, South Africa. Her book Onion Tears has been shortlisted for the Penguin Prize for African Writing. Her novel explores the lives of South African Indian Muslim women. I interviewed Khan about her book and her writing.Safiyyah for MMW: Tell us a little about the book.Shubnum Khan: Onion Tears is a story about the lives of a strange grandmother, a rebellious daughter, and her own angry daughter. The novel is primarily about a young girl’s search for … [Read more...]

The Stoning of Soraya M.: A Review

Before watching The Stoning of Soraya M., I had already formed an opinion of it as "objectifying" and "misrepresenting" Muslim women, as a reaction to a recent spate of "save the Muslim damsel in distress" media like that which surrounds the European burqa ban debacle. The movie, however, turned out to be powerful in its message; incredibly moving and certainly not a damsel in distress tale. Instead, it is about extraordinary womanhood and moral courage in the face of injustice.The film is … [Read more...]