Muslim Women in Europe: Oppressed by Religion or Politics?

Early this month Amparo Sánchez Rosell (President of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Valencia) met with the Special Commission on the Study of Gender Violence of Les Corts Valencianes. As reported by ABC Agencias and WebIslam, Sánchez asked the commission to eradicate the idea that Islam consents or encourages gender violence, which she believes is not true.Although for many Muslim women this may be a common-sense approach, this claim may rise more than few eyebrows. While some people in the W … [Read more...]

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 against si … [Read more...]

How Western journalists reported the ban on burqa

This was written by Sabria S. Jawhar and was originally published in the Saudi Gazette.Two weeks ago I was interviewed on an Australian television news program about the wave of proposed burqa bans in Europe, Canada, and now, apparently, in Australia. No one should be surprised about my opinion of the whole thing: It’s dumb.My argument to George Negus, the interviewer at SBS, was simply that someone in a position of authority should have the wherewithal to ask a woman who wears the b … [Read more...]

Cold Comfort: Supporting Arguments don’t do Burqa Bans a Favor

The proposed French ban on facial coverings* worn by some Muslim women seems like it hasn't left the news for weeks, with new developments popping up regularly and prompting, again, a wave of articles and editorials on the topic. One theme that I've noticed lately is the tendency for people opposed to the ban to contextualize their opposition with a comment along the lines of "I really don't like the burqa/niqab/veil, but I don't agree that it should be banned."  One Canadian blog describes it … [Read more...]

The French (Dis)Connection: on the role of Media and Politics in the Burqa Ban

Aged patronizing feminists, young veiled victims (of Islamist threat), and endangered laïcité éternelle (everlasting secularism): those were the main ingredients of a huge media bubble blown into people’s minds in France this summer.It all started with the sketch of a proposition bill: André Gérin, a left-wing deputy and mayor asked in June the French Parliament to create an Enquiry Commission into the wearing of burqa. His text, co-signed by 58 other deputies, aimed to define legally the lengt … [Read more...]

Fair and Balanced: the BBC Burqa Debates

In the wake of the Sarkozy-Burqa fiasco, last week the BBC radio aired a show on the Women’s Hour program discussing the topic. It is definitely worth a listen, as two strong viewpoints are voiced. The presenter, Jane is joined by Um Abdullah, who wears the burqa and Maryam Namazie, who wants it banned. Emma Jane-Kirby, the BBC's Correspondent in France, explains the background.Kirby first provided a summary of Sarkozy’s speech and brought up very pertinent points surrounding his statements; mo … [Read more...]


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