Rediscovering Noor Inayat Khan and the Good Muslim

Cover of Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. [Source].

I will confess that I first became aware of Noor Inayat Khan, also known as Madeline, only quite recently, that is, during the campaign in 2011 to commemorate her, before it was discovered that she had already been commemorated. I remember looking up her story at the time and coming across her biography, Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu. I did plan on reading the book, but reviews at Goodreads, which complained about the amount of detail and the tone of the first half … [Read more...]

How “Do Muslim Women Need Saving?” Saved Me

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“This book is about what lies behind such deceptively simple responses to problems we think we already understand or believe that we should act on even before we understand.” - Lila Abu-LughodWhen Muslimah Media Watch started out in 2007, one of the goals was to be able to create a platform for self-identified Muslim women to be able to critique portrayals and stories about us and our communities in mainstream media. Comment and speaking for ourselves was a novel concept.  There continue to b … [Read more...]

Book Review: “Painted Hands” by Jennifer Zobair

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I didn't know what to expect when I first picked up Jennifer Zobair's debut novel, Painted Hands.Chicklit isn't really my thing -- and it was sold to me as a "Muslim chicklit" -- even though highly appraising endorsements found on the back cover call this novel, "a positive portrait of Muslim women" and an "important addition to the canon of ethnic fiction." I've never seen Sex In the City; when it comes to fiction, I'm more interested in sci-fi/fantasy, and I just wasn't sure how much I … [Read more...]

Book Review: “Reclaim Your Heart” by Yasmin Mogahed

The cover of Yasmin Mogahed's Reclaim Your Heart. [Source].

A number of initiatives have been launched in the last few years to engage Muslim women in public discussions of issues related to Islam in general. In her post "Reviving the Spirit Without Recognizing Half The Audience?", Sumaya, a guest contributor to MMW, suggested a list of women who should be invited on such events. One of them is Yasmin Mogahed (who has since spoken at the same conference that Sumaya covered), an internationally-renowned writer and speaker who launched her book, Reclaim … [Read more...]

The Women that Need Saving: A Reflection on Lila Abu-Lughod’s “Do Muslim Women Need Saving?”

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My mother belongs to the Zapotec region of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico. She is one of the few among my relatives who identifies as “indigenous.” Colonialism in Mexico, and perhaps in many countries in Latin America, was different in that one of the successes of the colonial era was the creation of the caste system and its everlasting effects on indigenous populations. Despite the fact that 200 years have passed since Mexican independence from Spain, I grew up with nationalist discourses that de … [Read more...]

Review: Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

Cover of Do Muslim Women Need Saving? [Source].

Editor’s note: Many of us at MMW have previously cited Lila Abu-Lughod’s 2002 article “Do Muslim Women Need Saving?” in some of our blog posts, and we were excited to see the recent release of her book of the same title.  This is the first of a series of responses to the book by a few different MMW writers.In the introduction to her recent book Do Muslim Women Need Saving?, Lila Abu-Lughod writes: “I am often bewildered by what I read or hear about ‘the Muslim woman’” (4). For those of us who … [Read more...]

Survival and Shame in “Corona” by Bushra Rehman

Cover of Corona. [Source].

“Being free from shame is a beautiful freedom”Corona is Bushra Rehman’s riveting first novel. The first sentence of the book begins by smashing assumptions; we think "Corona" and think alcoholic beverage. Well, I certainly do. But that’s not what Rehman is writing about. “Corona, and I’m not talking about the beer. I’m talking about a little village perched between under the number 7 train in Queens between Junction Boulevard and 111th St.” Corona is a close community in Queens, previou … [Read more...]


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