Last Say on Niqab Should be From a Woman Who Wears It. Obviously.

I took the a brief moment from work to watch a 12-minute segment on BBC's Newsnight about why British women choose to wear the niqab and why more women are wearing it in unprecedented numbers. Like any Muslim feminist, I hung onto every word and hoped nobody said something that has already been said before, ad nauseam: “Muslim women who cover their faces are deluded and oppressed.” But tonight was a little different: it was a program that provided the panacea to what I've been railing … [Read more...]

State of the (Superhero) Nation: Faiza Hussein in British Comics

Faiza Hussain is a British Muslim super heroine of Pakistani descent, introduced in the 2008-2009 comic series, Captain Britain and MI:13. For people who are unfamiliar with the shared universe of Marvel Comics: in 2008, there was a large scale alien invasion in the Marvel universe, and in order to reflect the international nature of this crisis, the new title, Captain Britain and MI:13, was brought out, bringing back some older Marvel UK characters in a new team. This being a definition of … [Read more...]

The Green Scare: Muslim Immigrants as Britain’s Welfare Queens

British tabloids are often accused of offering hysterical coverage of major and inconsequential events alike.* The Daily Mail lives up to this unflattering generalization in its article regarding Essma Marjam, a single mother of six who is receiving housing benefits for a five bedroom house in the London Borough of Westminster. This is one in a long line of articles in The Daily Mail and other newspapers reflecting their outrage over single mothers receiving living costs from the state … [Read more...]

An Interview with Emma Tarlo, Author of Visibly Muslim

Last week, I reviewed Emma Tarlo's book Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith. This week, I got the chance to speak with her further about the book and her experiences writing it. Sara: Was there any inter-generational tension involving “newer” hijab fashions? Emma Tarlo: With most of the people I interviewed, their mothers did not wear hijab so the parents did not object. In a few cases mothers even adopted hijab following their daughters’ examples. More often, I came across cases … [Read more...]

The Headscarf as Cultural Barometer: Emma Tarlo’s Book on Hijab

In her new book, entitled Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith, Emma Tarlo captures the diversity in the way that Islam is practiced against the backdrop of multi-cultural Britain. Refreshingly, the book did not aim to answer whether or not covering was a part of Islam, and neither did it represent the views of Muslim women as a monolithic body. In her book, Tarlo shows a snapshot of the way in which the veil has manifested itself within the Muslim population of Britain. In focusing on … [Read more...]

Making an Egg-xample of Baroness Warsi

The U.K.'s Conservative Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion Baroness Sayeeda Warsi was pelted with eggs last week while in Luton to give a talk about the war in Afghanistan. Upon attempting to enter into a debate with a group of men heckling her and claiming that "this woman does not represent Islam", she was talked over and ignored. While the egg-throwing is garnering a lot of publicity, the men Warsi attempted to engage in debate deny responsibility, or as the Daily Mail laughably claims, … [Read more...]

Ramadhan Book Club: Our Stories, Our Lives

Our Stories, Our Lives is an anthology of a diverse group of women in Bradford, England, offering a glimpse into their lives and their issues with reconciling their Muslim identities with being British. With the media's daily onslaught on the image of Muslims and assumptions about so-called conflicting alliances (Islam and the West), a "proud British Muslim" would sound like an oxymoron to many. But it isn't, and talking to many Muslims in Britain will tell you just that. The book--edited by … [Read more...]


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