One Muslim’s furry initiative gets Malaysian religious authorities hot under the collar

Source

Previously published on the author's personal blog.A few days ago, my husband killed a small mouse which had been living in our kitchen for some time (possibly a year, if it's the same one). He meant to trap it and release it but in a moment of panic he killed it (while apologising to it and that's why I married this dude). After the trauma of having experienced the senseless killing of an innocent animal, I lay in bed thinking about why I had such an irrational reaction to seeing the … [Read more...]

I know, I know, hijab makes you beautiful

Screenshot from video

When I was 19 years old and just exiting from the rebellious teenage years, I stepped out of the house with my hijabi sister. I was newly de-jabbed (the first tentative attempt of many), and feeling awkward and – for lack of a better description – naked. My neighbour happened to step out at the same time, looked at the two of us, and proceeded to declare my sister the prettier of the two of us.“Beautiful! Your sister looks so beautiful in hijab!” Embarrassed, I tried to disappear. Eventually … [Read more...]

Entrenching Stigma: Malaysia’s Cross-Dressing Law

Source

2013 ended with another decision, somewhere in the world, to entrench the persecution and ostracisation of a minority group. I'm referring to a new syariah law introduced by the Pahang Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MUIP) in early December 2013, which would imprison for a maximum of one year or fine up to RM1000 (USD 304) a man who dresses like a woman, or a woman who dresses like a man.The deputy director of the Pahang Islamic Religious Department (JAIP) added that the ruling … [Read more...]

Miss Malaysia – Not for Muslims?

Source

Beauty pageants have gotten a bad rap over the years for objectifying women by putting them on parade and privileging their looks over their personality or brains. Some pageants have actively tried to change this idea, by including a talent segment, and making charity work an increasingly bigger part of the winners’ duties. One such pageant for Muslim women was the 2011 Indonesian Muslimah Beauty competition, which emphasised women who "don hijab, have Internet and technology capabilities, Q … [Read more...]

On Insulting Islam: Maznah Yusof, Dog Trainer

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In Ramadan this year, a video made by Maznah Yusof, a 38 year-old Muslim woman dog trainer, caused controversy in Malaysia. Three years ago, she had created and uploaded a video of her and her dogs in celebration of Eid ul-Fitr. The video shows her walking her dogs on a street as the takbir (chanting on the eve of Eid ul-Fitr) is heard in the background.At the end of the video, Maznah explains that her message was meant to show that Eid should be celebrated regardless of species (animal or … [Read more...]

“A Tiny Cut”: Female Circumcision in Southeast Asia

Via New York Times

I once asked my mother why boys had to be circumcised, but girls didn’t. Growing up in Singapore in the 1990s, it was more common for boys to be circumcised at the age of 7 or 9, where it resembled more of a rite of passage. They were not allowed to eat certain foods, had to wear a kain sarong for less discomfort, and had to be fanned at night to keep dry. My mother said that it wasn't compulsory for girls, and anyway, the procedure was just "a tiny cut" -- something that she felt was neg … [Read more...]

Malaysian Child Brides: Agency or Abuse?

Mohammad Fahmi Alias and Nor Fazira Saad. [Source].

This year saw two publicised instances of Malay Muslim girls in Malaysia, below the legal age of marriage, getting married to boys who were also relatively young. One couple was Nor Fazira Saad (13 years old) and Mohammad Fahmi Alias (19) from Kedah, Malaysia who were married in their kampong in November. Earlier this year in July, a couple identified only as Yana (14) and Syafiq (16) from Pahang, Malaysia, were married in a grand ceremony attended by many guests -- with all of the details ca … [Read more...]


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