White Widows, Black Widows and Jihad Janes: What Does A Terrorist Look Like?

Samantha Lewthwaite pictured on the cover of a newspaper in 2005. [Source].

The recent arrest warrant issued by Interpol for Samantha Lewthwaite has fuelled media fuel speculation that she was involved in the attack that killed more than 60 people in Nairobi’s Westgate mall. Since speculation always makes a good story, there has been an overwhelming amount of coverage on the woman dubbed “The White Widow.” The stories seem eerily familiar. Perhaps because, like Colleen LaRose (aka Jihad Jane), Lewthwaite has her own alliterative alias. Or because like Katherine Russell ( … [Read more...]

Officials Claim Tunisian Women are Waging a ‘Sexual Jihad’ in Syria, But What’s the Real Story?

Image © The Telegraph.

This piece was originally published at PolicyMic.By now you have probably already heard of the harem of Tunisian sex-warrior slaves heading to Syria in order to give up their young bodies to the appetites of deprived rebels to fulfill ‘jihad al-Nikkah’ --- “Sexual Jihad" --- and are coming back to the country with bellies full of Jihadi babies. Unfortunately for what seems to be that blind spot people have when it comes to stories on Muslims and sex, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence … [Read more...]

Beauty Pageants: Does Anyone Actually Win?

Miss World Muslimah winner Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola.

This post was written by guest contributor Nicole Hunter Mostafa (@nicolejhm).When I think about topics that are directly relevant to the lives of Muslim women, one that would probably be pretty low on my list is beauty pageants. Sure, in terms of feminist discourse, it’s not that hard to make the connection—beauty pageants’ primary goal is to make judgments about women based primarily on how they look, while media coverage of Muslim women, even when ostensibly regarding other subjects, still … [Read more...]

Muslim Women, Religious Neutrality, and Quebec’s Charter of Values

Women protest against the Charter of Quebec Values. [Source].

The news here in Quebec – and in many other parts of Canada – has been flooded in the past few weeks with stories about the newly-proposed Charter of Quebec Values.  Formally announced on Tuesday, September 10 (although some details had been leaked a couple weeks prior), the charter, if eventually passed as law, would prevent people working in the public sector from wearing “conspicuous religious symbols,” including headscarves, face veils, kippas, turbans, and large crosses.  Framed as a way of … [Read more...]

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

[Image source].

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...]


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