The Wardrobe Wars: Bikinis and Garbage Bags

It seems as though the civilizational warfare as manifested by our differing wardrobes has had two recent battles involving the Brits, burqas, and bikinis.About a week ago, a British woman in a Dubai shopping mall, allegedly wearing a shirt which seemed to reveal too much in relation to boobage and leggage, was scolded by a passing Emirati woman who felt the Brit's clothing violated the modesty dress code, put up by mall authorities in respect to the country's Islamic identity and ethos … [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...]

Pasha’s Perfection: Mother of the Believers

During Ramadan, my bedside novel happened to be Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha. It’s a work of fiction about the youngest and most beloved wife of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Pasha has brought to life the story of A'isha, one of Islam's most controversial and enigmatic characters. Only the right amount of poetic license, coupled with a lot of accuracy and consistency, can make historical fiction a success, as Mother of the Believers is.It is important to note that Muslims and no … [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...]

Radical Reform: Tariq Ramadan’s Latest Book

With much anticipation, I awaited the arrival of Tariq Ramadan’s new book, “Radical Reform”, in the mail. A few weeks ago, it finally got here. It is difficult to hide my obvious appreciation for the book, but I will attempt objectivity.Ramadan is known in the Muslim world, as a revolutionary, tolerant and forward-thinking scholar by some, and by others he is thought of as too liberal and “westernized”. In the non-Muslim world, Ramadan is also a well known figure, both as a reformist, and sur … [Read more...]

One Muslim Woman’s Perspective on Violence

Shahina Siddiqui's article "True Muslim society protects women," published this past weekend in the Winnipeg Free Press, presents one woman's response to some of the sexism and misogyny within Muslim communities that has been in the media recently. Siddiqui condemns the murder of an Afghan women's rights activist, the flogging of a young women in Pakistan, and other crimes committed by Muslims against Muslim women. She does so from her point of view as a Muslim woman, and argues passionately … [Read more...]

Soft Serve: Time’s Article on Islam’s “Soft Revolution”

The March 2009 issue of Time magazine carried an extensive article about Islam, called “A Quiet Revolution grows in the Muslim world” by Robin Wright. While the article speaks broadly about Islam, I will focus on those passages and statements which deal with Muslim women. This is how Time describes the "soft revolution":Today's revolution is more vibrantly Islamic than ever. Yet it is also decidedly antijihadist and ambivalent about Islamist political parties. Culturally, it is deeply con … [Read more...]