Book review: Jewels of Allah by Nina Ansary

When I first heard the title of Dr. Nina Ansary’s latest book, Jewels of Allah, on the life of women in Iran, I must admit I had to restrain myself. In general I’m pretty wary about labelling women as two-dimensional objects, whether in a negative (‘lollipops’) or positive (‘pearl in its shell’) way. Ansary explains that the title is “meant to convey that women, who have been ordained as inferior [by hardline conservative factions] are in fact the jewels of the Creator”.The book promises to t … [Read more...]

Friday Links

AfghanistanIn Afghanistan, half of all deaths among women aged 15 to 49 are because of pregnancy and childbirth. A video by The Guardian titled, “The imams, the Taliban and the condoms” follows two imams’ project to raise awareness about birth control methods and women’s health.AustraliaSusan Carland, an Australian academic, who regularly receives Islamophobic messages on social media, is donating $1 to UNICEF every time she gets them.CanadaFulfilling his campaign promise of g … [Read more...]

Friday Links

AustraliaMonique Toohey, a Muslim psychologist, met with Australian Labor MPs on Wednesday to discuss the need to change Australia’s tone on the discussion about violent extremism and Muslims. Toohey, who has experienced online bullying for her activism, is calling for the government to consult with Muslim communities in order to develop well-rounded de-radicalization programs.CanadaIn Canada, Zarqa Nawaz, creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie and Me and the Mosque, was quoted c … [Read more...]

Friday Links

Linda Sarsour is a woman in a hurry. Only 35, she has already helped to partly dismantle the New York Police Department’s program of spying on the city’s Muslims and has worked with officials in City Hall to close public schools for the observance of two of Islam’s most important holy days. The New York Times writes a special profile on Sarsour.Inside Behpooshi Modelling School in Tehran, models-to-be learn to pose and catwalk in accordance with Iranian law. The Middle East Eye highlights Ira … [Read more...]

Friday Links

Seven Muslim women from around the world are bicycling across Iowa as a way of "promoting female sports participation as a fundamental right". The 470-mile ride, featuring 8,500 cyclists, began July 19 and finished July 25. In the last year and a half, as turmoil in Ukraine has dominated the news media’s attention, a group of young Moscovite Muslims saw a new window of opportunity to change perceptions by making Muslims the "trendsetters in fashion." Adila Matra writes a … [Read more...]

Friday Links

England's first women-only mosque will open in Bradford, a 19th-century industrial boomtown and one of the most heavily Muslim-populated cities in the U.K., the Muslim Women’s Council announced.House of Fraser is now selling sports hijabs that are designed for women to wear while doing exercise, including swimming. According to the Daily Mail, It follows a move by John Lewis last year to sell hijab school uniforms. Congo-Brazzaville, a Central African nation, has banned women f … [Read more...]

Review of Desert Dancer (2015)

Six years ago I attended a contemporary dance workshop, and while I’ve been dancing for most of my life, what struck me most was one improvisation that involved dancing as if you were the furniture in your room. When we had come up with a sequence of movements representing various wardrobes, nightstands, mirrors, beds and tables, we had to then dance it while interpreting the concept of fear.I was thinking about this workshop as I watched Desert Dancer (2015) by Richard Raymond. The film is p … [Read more...]


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