Forced Conversions and the Nigerian Media

If Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, the fastest growing religion in African countries may be Christianity. In Nigeria, it is so rare to see or hear news of women converting to any religion other than Christianity that when it does happen, the initial assumption is that the conversion must have been forced. Interestingly I did a simple search on conversions to Islam in Nigeria, on scanning the first couple of pages a trend became clear. Where it was women converting, the … [Read more...]

Of Indian Marriage Laws and Conversions: The Case of Saifeena

Celebrity marriages always come with a lot of public anticipation, and this was the case with the wedding of Saif Ali Khan and  Kareena Kapoor, who after five years of  a very public courtship, married on Oct 2012. However, the speculation surrounding the relationship didn’t end post-marriage. Apart from being India’s heartthrob, Saif Ali Khan was crowned the Nawab of Pataudi in 2011, after his father’s death. The Nawab of Pataudi is considered to be the Islamic religious head in the state of Pat … [Read more...]

Are “Latina” Muslim Women the New Face of Islam?

What do you think when you hear the word Latin? Or Latina, to be more exact? Spicy? Or perhaps “loud,” “flamboyant” and “sexy”? Maybe the word just inspires images of women like Salma Hayek and J-Lo. Many of us are, sadly, very familiar with the image of what “Latinas” are supposed to look like. Just think of bombshell Gloria from Modern Family, hyper-sexual Gabrielle Solis from Desperate Housewives or Michelle Rodríguez, the sexy tomboy, from Fast and Furious.As a Latin American woman, t … [Read more...]

From Moping to Musing: My Ramadan Roller Coaster

My conversion experience deeply informs my Muslim experience. We (converts) have varied experiences in our journeys and paths to Islam. Some have it easy—finding the transition relatively seamless—and others have a bumpy ride peppered with moments of angst and frustration. As an Egyptian-American convert, mine is the latter, driven by the disownment of my own family and the clumsy amalgamation into my husband’s Pakistani family and into an often dysfunctional spiritual family.Admittedly, I fi … [Read more...]

Dutch as Such: “Delfts Blauw Meets Hijab”

“Delfts blauw meets hijab” is the title of a new Dutch documentary analyzing the experience of female Dutch converts to Islam and, at the same time, exploring the compatibility (or lack of) between so-called “Dutch identity” with “Muslim values.”  The documentary, created by Janina Pigaht, follows the experience of young Dutch women, Laura, Marion, Djamila, Anne-Marie and Elsa, who chose Islam in spite of an increasingly anti-Muslim sentiment in society.As the director herself says, “Sometime … [Read more...]

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: Islam as Rehab for Women

British novelist Martin Amis has expressed regret that his late sister did not embrace Islam to save herself from self-destruction. Everyone is understandably confused.To begin with, Amis is not a neutral figure on Islam and women: he thinks that Muslims should be masterminded into becoming “more like human beings.” He likes the idea of being a “gynocrat,” a feminist self-styling so unconvincing even the most naïve will feel cynical about his political predilections. In an interview with Abu Dh … [Read more...]

Conversion Perversion: Gaddafi’s Attempt at Dawah

While in Rome for the U.N. World Food Summit last week, Libyan leader Muammar al Gaddafi engaged in an unusual form of dawah:  inviting 500 Italian escorts to convert to Islam.The women, employed by Hostessweb agency, were under the impression they were attending a party. The agency advertised for "...500 attractive girls between 18 and 35 years old, at least 1.70 meters (5 foot, 7 inches) tall, well-dressed but not in mini-skirts or low cut dresses." Those who replied were offered €60 euros ($ … [Read more...]