Sandcastles and Snowmen: When Personal Stories Become Tools for Support and Education

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In her recent book, Sandcastles and Snowmen, Egyptian writer Sahar El-Nadidelivers what she calls "a personal search for spirituality." By combining her personal stories and experience with the main pillars and teachings of Islam, El-Nadi tries to give her readers a glimpse of her perspective on what Islam is. Sahar El-Nadi is a writer and an international speaker who focuses on advocating tolerance, integration, inclusion, and respect of diversity. She is the person behind the initiative … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Hijab of Cambodia

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This post was originally published at Aquila Style. Stories of gender-based violence, especially in times of conflict, is nothing new. But what pulled me towards this book was the geopolitical situation and demographic of conflict: the Khmer Rouge regime (also known as Democratic Kampuchea) of 1975-1979, and women of the targeted minority group of Cham Muslims. The sober dark purple and black cover foretells the sinister atrocities that I am set to read about; stories told by Cham Muslim … [Read more...]

Book Review: Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition

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Content note: This post includes discussions of domestic violence and of scholarly attempts to justify it. For a number of Muslim women I know (myself included), one of the most complicated Qur’anic passages to contend with is verse 4:34, a verse that, at least in many of the most straightforward translations, appears to establish men as superior to women and to authorise (or even encourage) men to hit their wives if they “disobey.”  Muslim feminist scholars have tried to address it in … [Read more...]

Book Review: Salaam, Love

Image via Love, Inshallah.

When Love, InshAllah, edited by Ayesha Mattu and Nura Masnavi,  was initially published two years ago, I was thrilled. I may not have necessarily related to all the stories of those women but was happy to read them. And as cliche as it sounds, it was really challenging the notion that Muslimahs are a monolith. But the editors’ second anthology, Salaam, Love,  "an anthology of stories about love written from the perspectives of Muslim men," initially had me less convinced. I really wanted to … [Read more...]

Book Review: “Normal Calm” by Hend Hegazi

Cover of Normal Calm. [Source].

According to statistics provided by RAINN, the United States-based Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, “1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” The organization further notes that women who have experienced sexual assault are at higher risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and thoughts of suicide. Such important consequences of rape led American writer Hend Hegazi to tell the story of a rape survivor in … [Read more...]

Book Review: I Am the Beggar of the World

Image via Slate.

Last month, I looked at Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy’s work profiling Afghan women poets particular form of poetry, the landay. Their work, as they presented it in an article on Slate, came across as nuanced and reflective (my own words) of Afghan women’s experiences. I was eager to review their book, I Am the Beggar of the World, which is available this month and was kindly provided by the publisher. Griswold worked with Pashtun women translators to find and present poems that … [Read more...]

Words and Images of Afghan Women Poets

Image via Slate.

Earlier this month, Slate featured a photography-poetry project, “The Secret Lives of Afghanistan’s Female Poets.” The photography-poetry collaboration stems from the work of journalist Eliza Griswold and photographer Seamus Murphy, who reported “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry” for the New York Times magazine in 2012. Griswold and Murphy’s work will be published in a book, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, next month. In the New York … [Read more...]


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