Women and the Talibanization of Shrines in India

The Haji Ali Dargah. Image via Wikipedia.

Every year, millions of visitors undertake pilgrimages to religious shrines dedicated to Sufi saints.  The Indian sub-continent in particular is home to several such mausoleums.  Women and men from various ethnic groups and religious denominations visit the shrine(s) and pray, often finding solace in the presence of a blessed personality.  Many undertake visits in hopes of having their most fervent prayers answered, placing garlands or perfumed cloth over the burial mound out of respect and re … [Read more...]

MMW Eid Roundtable: Part 1

As you know, last Friday was Eid-ul-Adha, a major holiday for Muslims around the world.  Having enjoyed sharing our Ramadan experiences with our readers earlier this year, the MMW team wanted to briefly share some experiences and reflections on this Eid, focusing especially on the role of gender in how Eid is experienced in our respective communities.  In this first segment, Anike and Izzie both reflect on the role of women in cooking and preparing food for the Eid celebrations, and on how this a … [Read more...]

The Burkha Rapper: Sophie Ashraf

Sophie Ashraf, also known as The Burkha Rapper, is an Indian Muslim female rapper for whom Muslim identity seems central to her art. This comes across clearly in her following statement on the Blind Boys website: Its like when you really like a band, you wear T-shirts of that band, Well we really, really like Islam, so we wear the burkha. I rap because I cant sing. But I love music, so it had to be rap. Soon, the burkha and the rap formed an identity of itself, and people started recognizing me … [Read more...]

The Muslims of India Reborn

For an extended analysis of India Reborn see Muslim Lookout.CBC TV recently played a four-part documentary on India called India Reborn. The series was well-done and diverse, demonstrating India to be a paradox of a country. From filthy, filthy rich people to the dirt poor, India is a country of all colors, figuratively and literally. India also has the second largest Muslim population in the world, with the largest being Indonesia. Yet, Muslims are still a relatively small minority in the … [Read more...]

Bollywood’s Muslim Heroines: Of Love and Hate

I have been wanting to write about this for a looooong time. As a South Asian who grew up in Canada, Hindi films (aka Bollywood films) were always a way to stay connected to the my South Asian heritage. However, I have always known this to be a problematic connection, for a number of reasons: 1) I was born in Canada so have never actually lived in South Asia, making the connection distant and the culture often irrelevant to my own realities, 2) I'm Pakistani, not Indian (the cultures are very … [Read more...]

Islamic Feminism Around the World

As an academic, I must admit I enjoy conferences. Alright, not all conferences nor everything about them, but I do enjoy the prospect of learning new things, expanding my mind, and meeting new people. Last week saw two conferences on and for Muslim women. One was held in Barcelona, Spain, and the other in New Delhi, India, and both with very different agendas and attendees.Unfortunately the MMW team weren't able to attended neither, but we thought we would highlight them and their coverage … [Read more...]