#PrayforParis, Muslim Women and Third World Violence

Upon learning about the Paris attacks and the #PrayforParis hashtag that emerged, I felt many things – but I was not shocked. Violence does not shock me. As a woman of colour and as an immigrant, it is part of my surroundings.I have become desensitized to violence. If you are like me and grew up in a Third World country that has experienced violence during your lifetime, chances are you understand.Growing up in Latin America in the 90’s in 2000’s I witnessed hundreds of missing and murde … [Read more...]

Ramadan Thoughts On Muslimness and Indigeneity

For the longest time I have been pondering what, if anything, makes me Muslim. Is it the shahadah? Is it pure belief in the divine? Is it community acknowledgement? Is it the fasting and tarawih prayers during Ramadan? Or is it the fact that I have somehow forced myself in other Muslims’ lives by writing in sites like MMW?The question is timely. I do not think I am the only one who wonders about this. Whether converts or born-Muslims, I seem to always end up having the same conversations w … [Read more...]

A Letter to Mona Eltahawy on “Headscarves and Hymens”

Dear Mona,Some of my fellow Muslimah Media Watch writers put together a roundtable about their thoughts on your book, and as I read it, I decided to explore some of their ideas and thoughts further. This review in the form of a letter stems from the need to address not only the book itself, but also the themes that are the core of your work in general.“Headscarves and Hymens” is a personal book. In fact, the information in this book is at times so intimate that you explain, “I have had to … [Read more...]

From Che Guevara to Malala

In my humble (maybe not so much) opinion, Latin Americans feel a strong attachment to charismatic figures. Think for example, of Che Guevara. Che Guevara is drilled into our minds since an early age as a symbol of justice, leadership and true revolutionary Latin American spirit. In fact, even thinking about challenging the idea of what Che Guevara means to my Latin American identity makes me nervous!However, much of what we say about Che Guevara has more to do with what he means to our … [Read more...]

Death, Grief and Womanhood

I must admit, I can’t wait until the year is over. I have had a difficult year first dealing with my partner’s passing, and then trying to figure out what follows the grieving process. Right after Saad’s passing, I found that my Muslim community had a rather complex and unexplored relationship with death. Many of my fellow Muslims did not only tell me that I should have gotten over Saad’s death after three days, as some traditions mandate; but some felt so uncomfortable having a young, “single” w … [Read more...]

“Their Patriarchy” is Worse

A few years ago I wrote a piece on the media coverage of domestic violence issues in Spain and Latin America, and how Islam and the “other’s” culture are depicted as “worse.” The issue continues to be relevant today. A recent article in Reforma, a Mexican newspaper, reports on the incidence of “international romances” between Mexican women and Middle Eastern men. The story results from concerns arising from the Ministry of International Relations (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores), which has m … [Read more...]

What Do We Make of the “Indian” Converts to Islam

There is a lot of talk recently about “Latin” and Spanish-speaking converts to Islam, particularly women, which I have discussed in previous posts (here and here). Female converts to Islam, in general, give us a lot to talk about; thus, my question in a previous post on “Are converts news?” Some converts are treated as “cool” and progressive members willing to speak to the media. Others are used to represent media obsessions with wild-girls-gone-Muslim stories, which many Muslims and non-Muslims … [Read more...]