Half a Ramadan is Still a Ramadan

Having spent two Ramadans in the Netherlands now, I still can’t get used to the lonely and isolating experience of fasting without an extended network of family and friends. But I must count my blessings. I have a wonderful husband who doesn’t think twice about helping to cook sahur and iftar, and I have amazing friends sparsely distributed in several towns around my own. When we manage to get together once in a few months for a meal (and one iftar), it means the world to me.I still find … [Read more...]

‘Real’ Dutch Muslimas Tackle Migration and Islamophobia

From this year onwards, wearing a niqab is officially an offence in the Netherlands, with "stiff fines" as the punishment. In 2012, interior minister Liesbeth Spies and the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders pushed for a ban  on dual nationality, which received mixed support within Parliament.What do wearing a face-covering veil and having another nationality have to do with each other? According to Liz Fekete, author of A Suitable Enemy: Racism, Migration, and Islamophobia in Europe, b … [Read more...]

Building Ramadan Traditions, Then and Now

When I chose Islam, almost a decade ago, I did not have much experience with fasting. I had grown up in not a very diverse environment and my experience with the Lent was very limited, coming from a Protestant background. Still, some years we would attend weekly “soup meetings,” where different families would come together during the Lent to eat soup. While eating soup for dinner might be a real challenge for some people, for the often frugal Dutch, it is a very common Sunday meal, so it’s hardl … [Read more...]

Hide No More: Dutch Ad Campaign Targets Discrimination Against Hijabis

A recent anti-discrimination campaign in the Netherlands is using a poster of a hijabi, whose face is hidden behind the photo of a non-hijabi, as part of an advertising campaign to fight discrimination. The poster appears at bus stops, and says “Do you have to let yourself at home when going out?” At first, I was confused by what the poster meant. Was it saying that Muslim women who cover were hiding themselves or that Dutch society was making hijabis leave a part of their selves at home by pre … [Read more...]