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...]

On Wasila Umaru and Child Marriage

The plight of Nigerian girls recently caught the attention of the world after the kidnapping of several hundred schoolgirls in Chibok over a month ago. Another story did not garner as much attention from either local or international media: that of Wasila Umaru. Apparently forced to marry a man in his thirties, Umaru Sani, and endure the reality of being a child bride, 14-year-old Wasila Umaru took matters in her own hands 17 days after the wedding ceremony. In April, Wasila was detained by the … [Read more...]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the “Villains” of Islam

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A few weeks ago, Brandeis University announced that Ayaan Hirsi Ali would be the recipient of an honorary degree. Controversy followed the announcement, encompassing those who believed that Ali follows the steps of Louis Brandeis (the man who the University was named after), those who think she is not as conservative as she could be (depending on the context), and those who characterize Ali as an Islamophobe.In the wake of this controversy, the University decided to withdraw the honorary … [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...]

All of Our Missing Daughters

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On April 15th about 300 girls were kidnapped from a Government Girls Secondary School in Nigeria by gunmen dressed as Nigerian army-men.  ABC News reports that some of the girls were taken to Chad and Cameroon for the purposes of forced marriage.  The news of the kidnapped Nigerian girls made it slowly to Facebook and Twitter, but it is only weeks later that the case has featured heavily in international news outlets and blog posts.It is a dramatic story, and if the dateline was elsewhere, i … [Read more...]

Indonesia’s trans Muslim Maryani: “Seeking Paradise is not limited to our sex or clothing”

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An article in the Jakarta Post last week followed the latest developments on a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) for transgender people in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Although it is called a boarding school, the Pondok Pesantren Waria Al-Fatah functions more like a religious school where students can learn classical religious subjects like fiqh and Qur’an recitation, as well as a community centre where students gather to break the fast together during Ramadan.It was opened in 2008 by the late M … [Read more...]

The Bee and the Butterfly

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This post was originally published at wood turtle.This woman is my hero.I’m not saying this just because a newspaper is showcasing her fabulous strength and intelligence — or because I love amplifying stories of amazingly fierce women.This woman is my hero because we’ve laughed together, shared incredible experiences, seen each other at our most vulnerable, and have given each other support in countless ways.This woman is my AMAZING sister-in-law and I am incredibly proud of h … [Read more...]


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