Islamic Scholarship and the Muslimah: A Reaction to Dr. Amina Wadud’s Cancelled Engagement by the University of Madras

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At the end of July, American Islamic Scholar Amina Wadud was scheduled to speak at the University of Madras. Her engagement was cancelled by the university at the 11th hour, in the midst of confusion after the city’s police force alleged unnamed threats of violence, suggested her appearance had earlier precipitated riots in Tamil Nadu (flatly false, as she has never spoken there before), and refused to offer security.The University of Madras's decision elicited a slew of sensational h … [Read more...]

On Portrayals of Indonesian Muslim Women: In Search of the Missing Pictures

There are a number of reasons why I decided to contribute to this blog. One of them was because sometimes I find myself in a no-(wo)man’s land when it comes to media portrayals of Indonesian Muslim women in general. Years ago, I came across this meme about hijabs. The image on the bottom left struck me as a familiar stereotype of Indonesian women, one that is most especially notable in the Middle East: that of the lowly-educated housemaids. My mother, who travels to Saudi Arabia on a regular b … [Read more...]

Women’s Involvement Is Nothing New

Women march to Tahrir on January 25, 2013. Credit Gigi Ibrahim

When you google the possible variations of these words: Women, Role & Arab Spring, you will be faced with massive numbers of articles, studies and interviews that examine thoroughly women’s involvement in the Arab Spring. The prevalent sentiment of such works revolves around how it's newsworthy that “Women played an active role during the Arab Spring” or “Women have emerged as key players in the Arab spring”.  What I read between lines is: It’s unbelievable to find you among the people who to … [Read more...]

On Insulting Islam: Maznah Yusof, Dog Trainer

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In Ramadan this year, a video made by Maznah Yusof, a 38 year-old Muslim woman dog trainer, caused controversy in Malaysia. Three years ago, she had created and uploaded a video of her and her dogs in celebration of Eid ul-Fitr. The video shows her walking her dogs on a street as the takbir (chanting on the eve of Eid ul-Fitr) is heard in the background.At the end of the video, Maznah explains that her message was meant to show that Eid should be celebrated regardless of species (animal or … [Read more...]

Ramadan Reflection: On Faith and Trayvon

This post was written by guest contributor Maheen Nusrat.People often think that faith is for the weak, for those who fail to engage rational thinking. I disagree; faith is also for the strong, for those who strive for justice, for those who trust, for those who strive for betterment and for those who believe.The day of the Zimmerman Trial verdict this past weekend was a tragic day in the American history – a day of mourning for people of rationality and of faith. It will be known as the … [Read more...]

Fatima Hamed Hossain: Politician or Jihadist?

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A few weeks ago, I attended the Critical Muslim Studies summer school in Granada, Spain. One of the speakers, Fatima Hamed Hossain, a lawyer, spoke to us about the social and political participation of Muslim women in Spain.There are about one million Muslims who currently reside in Spain, with an estimated number of about 50,000 converts, and the rest being mostly of Moroccan, Syrian, Lebanese and South Asian origins. Immigration and growing rates of conversion of Spaniards from the late … [Read more...]

Mothers, Brainwashed Wives and Tomboys: Muslim Women in Armed Conflict

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In the past few years, images of Muslim women in war settings have become increasingly common, from depictions of Syrian female rebels to all-American girls being compared to Chechnya’s so-called “Black Widows.”Last year, while writing an article on the “Black Widows” I started reading reports about Muslim women’s participation in armed struggles and noticed that female violence is often attributed to the loss of male family members, emotional distress (which often goes unreported for their m … [Read more...]


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