Maher’s Muddled Muslim Dior Mockery

Based on his über-liberal political views, I assume Bill Maher has an open mind, and therefore understands that fashion transcends cultures. But for the sake of being a douche, he pretends like he doesn’t in his parody of niqabi women in a skit called "Muslim Dior,” part of his But I’m not Wrong comedy show. He also ran the skit on his television show, Real Time:I think it’s hard to argue with this statement: All women wear clothes and many women like fashion. Muslim women are no different. … [Read more...]

Homeland Insecurity: A Study in How We Felt After 9/11

September 11, 2001 was different for everybody. But it’s safe to say that U.S. Muslims bore a significant burden. As soon as it was announced that the hijackers were Arab and Muslim, it seemed we’d inevitably be associated with the hereto-unpronounced “tribe.” After all, wasn’t that how America thought of us anyway?In her book Homeland Insecurity, Louise A. Cainkar argues that the idea that all Muslims were somehow connected to 9/11 was easily accepted because of the preexisting isolation of Ar … [Read more...]

Conversion Perversion: Gaddafi’s Attempt at Dawah

While in Rome for the U.N. World Food Summit last week, Libyan leader Muammar al Gaddafi engaged in an unusual form of dawah:  inviting 500 Italian escorts to convert to Islam.The women, employed by Hostessweb agency, were under the impression they were attending a party. The agency advertised for "...500 attractive girls between 18 and 35 years old, at least 1.70 meters (5 foot, 7 inches) tall, well-dressed but not in mini-skirts or low cut dresses." Those who replied were offered €60 euros ($ … [Read more...]

Grassroots Politics and Women’s Activism Forum in D.C.

While in Washington, D.C., last month, I attended a forum on Muslim women’s rights titled “Women and the Politics of Change in the Middle East,” at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. It was sponsored by the Women’s Learning Partnership, an international NGO dedicated to women's leadership and empowerment, especially in Muslim majority countries. The event was held to honor the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW). CED … [Read more...]

The Revolution Will not be Sexualized: More on Seyran Ates

German-Turkish writer Seyran Ates thinks Islam needs a sexual revolution. This might seem a little tongue-in-cheek, given the countless political revolutions post-due in predominantly Muslim countries, yet Ates’ book couldn’t be timelier.Muslims, like everyone else, are exposed to sex at an earlier age, despite marrying later than past generations. It isn’t hard to prove that the Muslim world needs more open discourse on sex. However, it is challenging to lay out some concrete reasoning and exa … [Read more...]

The Woman who Wasn’t There: Aisha Gaddafi in the Press

With the recent release of the suspected Pan Am 103 bomber, the 40th anniversary of Gaddafi's coup, and improving relations with the west, Libya's been in the news a lot lately. Next week,  Colonel Muammar al Gaddafi (Libya’s quirky dictator, known as much for his peculiar fashion sense as his outrageous statements) will make his first-ever trip to the U.S. to address the U.N. General Assembly. The media’s attention will undoubtedly be fixated on Gaddafi, who always travels with a high-profile en … [Read more...]

The Media’s Love Affair with Rebiya Kadeer and the Uighurs

Uighur Women in the SpotlightThe media loves Uighur women.They give them lots of margins, and inches on front pages. They plaster their photos and quote them favorably. In prominent photo spreads, they marvel at their exotic traditional attire. They sympathize with their struggle against the brutal, ruthless Communist China.Looking at the photos and pairing them with the numerous mainstream accounts of the Uighurs' struggle suggests (to even the casual follower of news) that Islam is not … [Read more...]