This post was originally published at Aquila Style. Stories of gender-based violence, especially in times of conflict, is nothing new. But what pulled me towards this book was the geopolitical situation and demographic of conflict: the Khmer Rouge regime (also known as Democratic Kampuchea) of 1975-1979, and women of the targeted minority group of Cham Muslims. The sober dark purple and black cover foretells the sinister atrocities that I am set to read about; stories told by Cham Muslim women… Read more

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,… Read more

An ongoing summit on ending sexual violence in conflict has resulted in a spike of articles about the topic. The Guardian features an article on a project that addresses sexism and sexual violence in Kosovo among young men. One young Bosnian woman shares her life story as a child, that was conceived during the war through rape. During the months of April and May 39 women and girls from Kalma camp in Southern Darfur were victims of rape. Most rapes occurred while… Read more

On June 8th, the 2014 Headwrap Expowas held in Dearborn, Michigan, billed as an event on “the art of headwrapping and scarf styling,” bringing together fashion, culture and interfaith dialogue. The event was presented by Beautifully Wrapped, an organization celebrating the art of headwrapping. According to Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, founder of Beautifully Wrapped, The Headwrap Expo is intended to celebrate “fusion — looking at how different cultural aspects, different things that people wear in different parts of the world are… Read more

Content note: This post includes discussions of domestic violence and of scholarly attempts to justify it. For a number of Muslim women I know (myself included), one of the most complicated Qur’anic passages to contend with is verse 4:34, a verse that, at least in many of the most straightforward translations, appears to establish men as superior to women and to authorise (or even encourage) men to hit their wives if they “disobey.”  Muslim feminist scholars have tried to address… Read more

My dad has been an avid photographer since I can remember. As a kid I was constantly photographed with a traditional analog camera and black and white film. As a teenager, it was my dad’s passion that led me to learn professional photography through vocational education. Photographs, my dad used to tell me, are a “window” into someone else’s life. This “window” is not necessarily how they see themselves, but how the world around them perceives them. It was not… Read more

The sister of the pregnant Pakistani woman Farzana Parveen, who was beaten to death in broad daylight outside a court house last week, says that the husband of her sister is guilty of the murder. The initial story was that the father of the victim had killed her for not marrying a man of his choosing. Last Wednesday Farzana’s husband and brother were arrested. On Thursday, Pakistani police issued a statement that Farzana Parveen wasn’t pregnant when she was murdered…. Read more

Can a young American, Muslim woman who discovers her superpowers change the way Muslim women are perceived in the United States? My knowledge of comics is limited to what is presented in mainstream film incarnations—who among us hasn’t seen one of the many films that portray superheroes onscreen? Those cosmic tales where protagonists (predominantly male, of course) appeal to so many for the escape of life’s misfortunes—that ability to transcend the everyday drudgery through spectacular feats, conquer Evil, and get… Read more

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 degree…. Read more

This post was originally published at Aquila Style. The liberal feminist organisation Femen and its members’ naked breasts have had their media run. Now a more modest sort of uncovering is happening, this time in Iranian social media. Last month, London-based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad started a movement on Facebook and Twitter, translated as “My Stealth Freedom”, to highlight the “legal and social restrictions” faced by women in Iran. Secular and Muslim women all over Iran are posting photos of themselves without the mandated headscarf,… Read more

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