Review – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s Refusing the Veil

refusingveil

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s Refusing the Veil, part of the Provocations series by Biteback publishing, is a very short, refreshingly honest book about why the author thinks Muslim women should give up wearing the veil, in all its various forms, so that they can be liberated women in the 21st century.The book begins with a list of all the possible words for veil. It proceeds, taking a conversational tone with very occasional academic flourishes but a merciful lack of jargon, in three parts. The f … [Read more...]

The Latest on the Headscarf “Situation” in Switzerland

[Source].

The Swiss federal government gives a lot of leeway to cantons, cities and even schools and professional associations (for those of you who remember the Sura al Shawk case, where the original decision of basketball association, Probasket, was allowed to stand by the courts) to decide their hijab policies on a case-by-case basis.So despite having a nationwide minaret ban (which isn't as much about Islam as it appears on the surface), unlike in France, there is no national headscarf "law" in … [Read more...]

Muslim Women in Sports Media: Is It Still Progress if No One Cares?

Egypt’s national women’s basketball team. [Source].

On September 16, 2014, basketball’s international governing body, FIBA, announced it would be allowing headcoverings during competitive play for a trial period. It stopped short, however, of permanently lifting its ban on hijabs, turbans and yarmulkes worn by basketball players. Stories of players being rejected from tournaments and forced to forfeit because of their headcoverings have been reported for the last few years.A development that could potentially include thousands of players is g … [Read more...]

Grey Zones of #letsamahplay

letsamahplay

Crossposted from Tumblr. I have been sent @DivineDavis’ recent popular tweet - complete with the hashtag #letsamahplay - many, many times. It involves a girls’ soccer team and hijab used in protest of an unfair rule. My family and friends thought I might have missed it. Perhaps they thought I might be excited by it. Or grateful.Because the hashtag implied the all-important issue of a woman not being allowed to play, I was interested. But, I was perplexed. I had about 500 que … [Read more...]

Britain and the Veil: From Jack Straw to Jeremy Browne

Jeremy Browne. [Source].

The debate about whether or not “we” should have a debate about banning “veils” has returned – or maybe it would be more accurate to say that the volume has been raised, since this is a debate that seems to have been running in the background for most of the last decade. The amount of material on this topic is huge and seemingly endless, and the interest in rehashing the debate seems excessive, given that the face veil is worn by a tiny minority of the minority of Muslim women in the West. … [Read more...]

A Hijabi in Healthcare: The Story of Dr. Lailiyya

Cover of 99 Hijab Stories. [Source].

The recent debates on Quebec’s Charter of Values and on hijabis in Singaporean workplaces remind me of a woman that I know. Her name is Dr. Lailiyya.She was born in a small town in Java, the youngest girl of twelve children. When she was little, she suffered from polio. Her poor parents were unable to obtain medication for her, so little Lailiyya grew up with a deformed leg. In order for her to be able to attend school, Lailiyya’s brother had to carry her on his back to school and bac … [Read more...]

Recent Good News Out of Switzerland

Girls in headscarves enter a school. Image via RTS.ch.

Courts in the Swiss canton of Thurgau have overturned on appeal the cantonal school district’s decision to forbid two Albanian girls from wearing the headscarf to school.  The story begins in 2011, when two 14-year-old girls were forbidden from wearing their headscarves to classes.  What ensued was a two-year legal battle that saw the school’s decision approved once by the courts, then now overturned. Surprising to me is that the ruling found that a blanket ban on headscarves was dispr … [Read more...]


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