Budding Bedfellows: Islamists and Feminists against Beauty Pageants


This last week has seen protests in Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Jogjakarta over the Miss World 2013 beauty pageant to be held in the next few weeks. Recently, I wrote a post about a similar debate in Malaysia where their Muslim participants were eventually dropped. The Miss World 2013 protests numbered in the thousands and were made up of members of small Islamist organizations such as the Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders Front or FPI)  on the island of Java, and Muslimah Hizbut Tahrir … [Read more...]

Miss Malaysia – Not for Muslims?


Beauty pageants have gotten a bad rap over the years for objectifying women by putting them on parade and privileging their looks over their personality or brains. Some pageants have actively tried to change this idea, by including a talent segment, and making charity work an increasingly bigger part of the winners’ duties. One such pageant for Muslim women was the 2011 Indonesian Muslimah Beauty competition, which emphasised women who "don hijab, have Internet and technology capabilities, Q … [Read more...]

Pride Parades, Hijabs and Muslim Lesbians


Last Saturday, the city where I live in Western Canada held its annual Pride Parade.This year and against all odds, the first member of my mosque participated in the parade. Sister Sarah (a pseudonym) decided to participate in the parade after years of struggling with reconciling her faith with her sexuality. She decided “to try to blend in” with the rest of the men and women dressed in colourful outfits by wearing a bright yellow hijab tied at the back instead of the front because, desp … [Read more...]

Running for Boston in Jakarta


The weeks following the Boston bombing have been filled with media reports with all-too-familiar suspicion of Islam and --as Nicole explored in a recent post-- hijab-wearing Muslim women.However, both local and international media largely missed an act of activism from my part of the world that had taken place even before Ann Coulter appeared on TV with her infamous “ought to be in prison for wearing the hijab” comment.A friend of mine, Indonesian blogger Ninit Yunita, is an avid runner w … [Read more...]

Colours and Voices: The International Museum of Women Muslima


After converting to Islam, I struggled with my community’s views on art, women and the combination of both. Having grown up in a society that prides itself on a variety of artistic movements, and being part of a very artistic family, I felt uncomfortable accepting my Muslim community’s idea that art is prohibited in Islam.Growing up, I was part of a children’s musical show that played music specifically for children. Being a child singer was a great part of my life from age four to eight … [Read more...]

Creating Spaces of Reconciliation: Queer Muslims Congregate


Queer Muslim. These two words appear to be incongruent terms in many contexts; however, there has been a real commitment recently to creating a discourse that allows for queer Muslim voices to be respected and validated. It is tiring to be caught in conversations when the various parties cannot accept each other simply for their differences and instead resort to admonitions of an individual’s or a group’s connection to the Most High, based on their sexual identity. It can be emotionally and spi … [Read more...]

Would the Real Muslim Woman Please Stand Up?

Panelists at a symposium on Islamophobia, hosted by the American Islamic College.

Editor's Note: This post was written by Yasmin Ali.  I apologise for not including her name when this was originally posted. - KristaI recently attended a symposium on Islamophobia at American Islamic College titled “Facing Religious Intolerance: Islamophobia in the 21st Century .” Panel members included Nathan Lean as well as Ahmed Rehab and Dr. Farid Hafez.  The panel was moderated by Laith Al-Saud, who is a professor of Islamic World Studies at DePaul University.   Nathan Lean is a scholar … [Read more...]