Not in Our Name: Muslim Women and the Quebec Charter

Quebecers protest the Charter of Secularism. [Source].

A few weeks ago, I spoke as part of a panel at the University of Ottawa about the Quebec Charter of Secularism, speaking both as Editor-in-Chief of Muslimah Media Watch and as a founding member of the Collective of Muslim Feminists of Quebec.  This is an edited version of my talk, updated to reflect shifts in the political context in the time since it was first presented (notably the announcement last week that Quebec will be holding provincial elections on April 7).  Many thanks to the Muslim L … [Read more...]

Unintended Consequences: Minority Rights and Policy Making in the West

For many years now, countries around the world have been faced with the question of minority rights and religious accommodation. In Canada, where I currently live, questions about niqabs in courtrooms, voting stations and citizenship ceremonies have been raised in the past five years. Part of the debate has been the meaning of religious accommodation, the latest case being that of a student at York University who requested to be excused from working with females on religious bases. While the … [Read more...]

The Elephant in the Room: Niqabs in the Courtroom

The Supreme Court of Canada. Guided Tour 2013.

A couple of years ago I attended a lecture delivered by Dr. Natasha Bakht at the University of Alberta, who had come to advocate for women’s right to religious accommodation in the courtroom, a subject which proved to be quite divisive. I wrote a post about it on my personal blog, as I personally felt that her views on the issue were refreshing after all the anti-niqab brouhaha that was around back then.Dr. Bakht’s speech focused on the now famous N.S. vs. the Queen case that took place in On … [Read more...]

Eid in Four Countries

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As one final addition to our Ramadan 2013 posts, we wanted to share a series of reflections on how Eid was spent among some of our writers. Writing, respectively, from South Africa, Pakistan, Canada, and Kuwait, MMW bloggers Safiyyah, Merium, Shireen, and wood turtle bring us their experiences of food, gender issues, politics, and celebration.Safiyyah (South Africa)In South Africa this year, 'Eid day coincided with our national holiday, "Women's Day" on 9 August. Women's Day in South … [Read more...]

In the Halls of the Hospital: My Decision Not to Fast this Ramadan

I’m a resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto and, on July 2nd, I started my first shift as a doctor. It was a 26-hour shift that included a night jam-packed with running between sick patients while thumbing through my textbook to make sure I didn’t miss an important investigation or treatment. As a resident, the amount of time I spend in the hospital is rarely under my control. The week is often long, occasionally upwards of 80 hours. My training program sure knows how to thr … [Read more...]

Pride Parades, Hijabs and Muslim Lesbians

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Last Saturday, the city where I live in Western Canada held its annual Pride Parade.This year and against all odds, the first member of my mosque participated in the parade. Sister Sarah (a pseudonym) decided to participate in the parade after years of struggling with reconciling her faith with her sexuality. She decided “to try to blend in” with the rest of the men and women dressed in colourful outfits by wearing a bright yellow hijab tied at the back instead of the front because, desp … [Read more...]

A Clash of Principles: Examining the Niqab in Canadian Courts

This post was written by guest contributor Maria Salman.In 1992, a young woman gathers the courage to pen a deeply personal journal entry for a teacher. She finally breaks the silence over an earth-shattering secret that she is the survivor of childhood sexual abuse committed against her by two male family members. Fast forward ten years, the police lays charges, and the trial begins, but when the young woman is called upon to testify, she is startled to find an unexpected barrier before her … [Read more...]


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