“Their Patriarchy” is Worse

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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

Women eating Iftar - Via International Business Times

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...]

Unintended Consequences: Minority Rights and Policy Making in the West

For many years now, countries around the world have been faced with the question of minority rights and religious accommodation. In Canada, where I currently live, questions about niqabs in courtrooms, voting stations and citizenship ceremonies have been raised in the past five years. Part of the debate has been the meaning of religious accommodation, the latest case being that of a student at York University who requested to be excused from working with females on religious bases. While the … [Read more...]

Are Converts News?

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Growing up in Mexico, I had a very rudimentary understanding of religion and religious diversity. While the national census showed that about 80% of Mexicans practiced Catholicism, I was raised an atheist. My parents, born Catholics, had left religion during their teenage years for various reasons. My paternal grandfather (who was never really religious either) still likes to tell his story: His grandmother had a painting of Virgin Mary in the living room and would tell my grandpa to say a small … [Read more...]

Sexy Fun and What’s Up with “Halal” Sex Shops

Snapshot of the online store. Source

Growing up in Mexico, immersed in a culture that debated “Western” values and was skeptical of its imports, I spent my early years in a society that taught me from the beginning that my sexuality was not mine, but someone else’s. Even when the institution of marriage started to crumble and common-law unions became more common, women’s sexuality was still viewed as taboo and their pleasure was considered unimportant. I actually recall my best friend’s grandma, in elementary school, telling us that … [Read more...]

The Ramadan Blues

Traditional clothes shopping at the Juchitán Market.

Since my conversion to Islam, I have spent every Ramadan in Canada. My Ramadans are often filled with the fasting experience and sumptuous iftars in my local mosque, as well as visiting fellow converts, for whom Ramadan can be a very lonely experience.This year was different. My life is currently in flux, first because I am moving from one city to another to pursue a Masters Degree and will be leaving behind the part of my family that lives in Canada, and also because I decided to visit … [Read more...]

Getting to know the Sexual Muslimah

Namnlös

When I converted to Islam, before Love Inshallah (which Merium reviewed last year) and Sex and the Citadel, I was immersed in a religious culture that had an ambivalent relationship with sex and sexuality. While the women in my community occasionally discussed matters of “lawful” vs. “prohibited” when it came to sex, they were also making use of Alberta’s Bill 44 to take their daughters out of sexual education classes, which some of them considered immoral and dangerous.As a teenager, I recei … [Read more...]


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