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...]

Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story

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A few months ago, I wrote about the “rediscovery” of Noor Inayat Khan, from the 2011 campaign to commemorate her, to the biography, Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu to the planned docu-drama, which at the time I had not yet watched.I have since watched the one-hour film, which is available to stream here. Enemy of the Reich tells the story of Noor Inayat Khan, “a young Muslim woman who sacrificed her life to fight against Nazi domination.” The film is produced and d … [Read more...]

When Bridging Between Cultures Doesn’t Help

Image of the "Fragrant Concubine." [Source].

Responding to a question on the potential of art to transform at Jewish Book Week last year, Palestinian-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua commented: “Sometime people talk about culture and literature and art as something that can connect people together…to bridge between cultures. I hate bridging between cultures. It should be tunnels.”I was reminded of Kashua’s undercutting of too-easy attempts to celebrate the transformative potential of art by the recent revelation of a 3D cartoon which hopes t … [Read more...]

Darkest Before Dawn: Ramadan in a Time of Disillusionment

Salwa Bugaighis. [Source].

On June 25th, Salwa Bugaighis was shot dead at her home in Benghazi. A human rights activist and lawyer, Bugaighis was a charismatic figure who played a leadership role in the uprising and in the women's movement, supporting a campaign which sought to establish minimum quotas for female lawmakers in parliament as well as being vice-president of a preparatory committee for national dialogue that travelled around the country holding town hall meetings – one of the few post-2011 initiatives in L … [Read more...]

The Headwrap Expo: Shifting the Conversation

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On June 8th, the 2014 Headwrap Expowas held in Dearborn, Michigan, billed as an event on “the art of headwrapping and scarf styling,” bringing together fashion, culture and interfaith dialogue.The event was presented by Beautifully Wrapped, an organization celebrating the art of headwrapping. According to Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, founder of Beautifully Wrapped, The Headwrap Expo is intended to celebrate “fusion — looking at how different cultural aspects, different things that people wear in di … [Read more...]

The Crimes and Punishment of Apostasy and Adultery

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Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese doctor who married a Christian man in 2011, was convicted last week on charges of apostasy.  While Ibrahim has a Muslim father, she appears to have been raised Christian. Apostasy implies conversion, but as Ibrahim reportedly told the judge, "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.” By her account, Ibrahim has always considered herself to be Christian, raising the question of what it means for a court to be using “Islamic law” to sentence her when its basis for … [Read more...]


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