Defensiveness in the Time of Da’esh

One of the events at the All About Women program held at Sydney Opera House this year was entitled “Conversations with Muslim Women.” Featuring two Australian Muslim women, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Susan Carland, the event was advertised as a conversation with, rather than about, Muslim women. So the three women on stage have an engaging discussion, by turns funny and poignant, about the dilemmas of being a Muslim woman in Australia, from facing discrimination, to negative perspections of Islam, t … [Read more...]

Who Can Talk About Palestinian Misogyny?

Palestinian rap group Dam’s latest song “Who You Are,” featuring newest member Maysa Daw tackles misogyny and “make believe feminism.” As one of the groups members, Tamer Nafer, puts it: we need to “criticize the hypocritical part of our society, which likes to play ‘make believe feminism’ from time to time.”This is not the first Dam song that tackles misogyny– an earlier song, “If I could go back in time” featuring Amal Murkus, was about honor killing in Palestine, sparking a debate about wh … [Read more...]

When Arab Women Artists “Revisit The Harem”

Originally published here.  Where does parody end and self-exoticization begin? At what point does the Arab woman artist, stepping into the so-often imagined space of "The Harem" risk pandering to an audience that seems to have a never-ending appetite for remediations of Orientalist artwork? Lebanese photographer Rania Matar's wonderful and insightful A Girl in Her Room series (capturing teenage girls in their most sacred space, the bedroom) includes some photographs that are clearly posed to m … [Read more...]

Friday Links

Various papers have been covering Canada's niqab controversy after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper  said that the niqab is rooted in "anti-women" culture, with some Muslim women responding, saying they choose to wear the niqab out of religious obligation. Germany's Constitutional Court has lifted a ban on female Muslim teachers wearing headscarves.  The Telegraph writes about hip-hop hijabis. In relation to Harper's comments, Monia Mazigh writes about how the bodies of Muslim women a … [Read more...]

Review – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s Refusing the Veil

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Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s Refusing the Veil, part of the Provocations series by Biteback publishing, is a very short, refreshingly honest book about why the author thinks Muslim women should give up wearing the veil, in all its various forms, so that they can be liberated women in the 21st century.The book begins with a list of all the possible words for veil. It proceeds, taking a conversational tone with very occasional academic flourishes but a merciful lack of jargon, in three parts. The f … [Read more...]

Peace in Aloneness: Muslim Women in the Ivory Tower

For the last month, I have been looking into the literature on discrimination in academia, reading books with titles such as Making Our Voices Heard: Women of Color in Academia and Overcoming Adversity in Academia: Stories from Generation X Faculty. At the same time, I have been attending a course intended to teach academic teachers how to teach in higher education.The experience has left me thinking over my situation, as a hijab-wearing Muslim woman in the ivory tower. For a long time I … [Read more...]

TED Talks and Superheroes: New Representations of Muslim Women

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I have a friend who is obsessed with TED Talks, and who recently sent me link to this TEDx Talk with the title “I am a mad Arabian woman.” I rolled my eyes a little. Anything with the word “Arabian” (when its not followed by the word “horse”) makes me roll my eyes. But then, this was the same person who had sent me the video of Palestinian-American stand-up comic Maysoon Zayid’s talk “I got 99 problems... palsy is just one,” which (although Zayid makes a point of saying “I’m not inspirational”) I … [Read more...]


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