Who Will Defend the Defenders? Gambian Activists Face Smear Campaign

Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang Sissoho are two prominent women’s human rights defenders in the Gambia. They are the executive director and program coordinator of the Gambia Committee for Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), which has been active in fighting for the promotion of gender rights, mainly fighting against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).Recently, both women were arrested and imprisoned by the Gambian government. They were recently released on bail and stand trial s … [Read more...]

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves…But Nobody Seems to Notice

Recently, Ahmedinejad’s closest aide, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, made comments that Iran must work to fight against the oppression of women where the religious framework of Islam would allow it. The Guardian article calls women’s rights a divisive topic in Iran, which is true. However, the sexist laws mentioned are those that involve the requirement to cover following the 1979 Islamic revolution, failing to mention inequalities in other areas, such as personal status laws.  This reduces the revo … [Read more...]

Discussions About Muslim Women Should Include Them: To the Contrary!

In July, two women in France were asked to leave a holiday camp because of an attempt to swim while wearing burqinis, because of “hygiene” issues. While such an incident occurred last summer, this time around it comes hot on the heels of the ban on the burqa and niqab.The PBS program, To The Contrary, is described as a platform for discussing primarily political reasons concerning women. The purpose is to discuss local and international issues from a diverse range of perspectives. However, thi … [Read more...]

Smells Like Teen Muslims: The War Within Our Hearts

My parents sent me to an Islamic school from the age of five to thirteen; it was their effort to keep me safe from the dangers of succumbing to the evils of “Western decadence.” During that time, we were a captive audience for many kinds of experimental lectures meant to keep us on a clearly-defined righteous path. The most refreshing lectures were those from younger figures in the community, who had a better grasp of our hardships. While such conversations were still guarded, they made me feel l … [Read more...]

A Family Affair: Afshan Azad’s Assault

When I watched Afshan Azad entering the Yule Ball as Padma Patil with Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I did not even think about whether or not she was a Muslim. Instead, like many Potter fans, I was thinking about Hermione, and how the two of them really just needed to get the Gryffindor together.According to an article in the Daily Express, Azad was allegedly beaten because she was heard talking on the phone to her Hindu boyfriend. The article refers to her assault as an … [Read more...]

The Lobby for Abu Dhabi — An Essay by Carrie Bradshaw

Recently, Ms. Bradshaw traveled to the Emirates for a glamorous vacation with a few pals. Here, she recounts her thoughts about her time in Abu Dhabi.As I sit here in my sparkling new genie shoes, I am in a post-vacation glow. It was easy to become overwhelmed with the glittering luxury of our suite in Abu Dhabi, the cocktails, and the shopping. Upon returning from my trip, I could not help but be overwhelmed with a bit of patriotism. I have always been the greatest fan of this tiny island of … [Read more...]

Beauty and the Beastly Pundits: More on Miss USA

Rima Fakih has become an unlikely member of the Islamophobic grab-bag of images. Joining the images of oppressed burqa-wearers and angry men with beards, Miss USA’s victory has become a part of another far-fetched conspiracy. The best part is that we are actually seeing a ridiculous debate about the legitimacy of her victory, and whether or not it is evidence of a secret, home-grown Islamic uprising.In an article initially entitled “Is Miss USA a trailblazer or Hezbollah spy?” CNN reinforces … [Read more...]