The Countdown to the Jaafari Law Decision

On April 30th the Jaafari Personal Status Law will be voted on in the Iraqi Parliament. The Jaafari Law, as it's being referred to, has been controversial because it would enable Shia men to marry girls as young as 9 years old. Whereas the legal age for marriage in Iraq is 18 years of age, the Jaafari Law does not state an age limit for marriage, but spells out the divorce conditions for girls who have reached the age of 9. This piece of legislation, nonetheless, would also legalize marital rape … [Read more...]

Fatima Hamed Hossain: Politician or Jihadist?

A few weeks ago, I attended the Critical Muslim Studies summer school in Granada, Spain. One of the speakers, Fatima Hamed Hossain, a lawyer, spoke to us about the social and political participation of Muslim women in Spain.There are about one million Muslims who currently reside in Spain, with an estimated number of about 50,000 converts, and the rest being mostly of Moroccan, Syrian, Lebanese and South Asian origins. Immigration and growing rates of conversion of Spaniards from the late … [Read more...]

Mona Muslim: Marshaling Islamophobia in Sweden

Mona Sahlin, leader of the Swedish Social Democratic party (SAP), is known by many names among her opponents. Though Sahlin is not Muslim, one of the most common nicknames for her is “Mona Muslim.” This appellation might suggest a cartoon character, or perhaps a Sesame Street muppet, but behind it  lies a deepening anxiety about levels of immigration in Sweden, which has been profitably tapped into and exploited by right-wing political leaders.Sahlin's nickname goes back some time, with one of … [Read more...]

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Women’s Rights in Kuwait

It's been a busy month for the constitutional court in the tiny Gulf Arab nation of Kuwait. Earlier this week, Kuwait's highest court ruled that women now have the right to obtain a passport without the consent of their husbands and guardians. The ruling abrogated an article of a 1962 law that required women to gain their husband's signature on any passport application.The court, following complaints from thousands of women who have petitioned to change the law, finally ruled that the article … [Read more...]

Capitol Ladies: a feel-good post about Muslim women in Congress

I’m a member of the Congressional Muslim Staffer’s Association (CMSA), an organization on Capitol Hill that seeks to unite Muslims working in Congress and quell myths about Islam through outreach. Last Friday, some members of CMSA met with a group of young Egyptian men and women as their two-week congressional internship came to a close. Their trip, sponsored by the American Embassy in Cairo, was part of a student-led project to build a replica of U.S. government. I asked some of the women about … [Read more...]

Looking at Egypt’s first female mayor

Eva Habil, a 53 year-old Christian lawyer, became Egypt's first female mayor on December 14, representing Komboha, a rural town in the south with a Coptic majority community. Habil (pictured left), whose father was mayor of Komboha, beat out five male candidates, including her younger brother. Why mention she’s Christian? Well, because in this same story, a niqabi who came out to congratulate Habil was asked if she’d ever pursue politics. She didn’t even have time to answer before her husband sa … [Read more...]

Election coverage: Samira Laouni

There is a whole lotta ugly going on out there in the election coverage these days. (I'm thinking Canada, but this is true in the U.S. as well, and, come to think of it, likely anywhere else that might be having an election. But that's a different story.)Montréal-Bourassa NDP candidate Samira Laouni (pictured below right) is bearing the brunt of some of the most Islamophobic news coverage out there (even worse than what we usually cover on MMW.) Ms. Laouni, a Muslim woman who has a … [Read more...]