At the Centre of the Debate on Secularism, Faith, and Gender Equality

Sheema Khan. Image via the Globe and Mail.

Last week, Christopher Majka posted an article on rabble.ca in response to Sheema Khan’s piece in the Globe and Mail entitled “Muslim men: Stop blaming women.”At the centre of the debate is: what is the best way to bring gender equality and rights to Muslim women? Is it at all possible? Should it be a faith-based solution or a secular one?Sheema Khan’s article speaks to Egyptian women’s current situation under the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence, and focuses on the Brotherhood’s latest pre … [Read more...]

Change Is Now? No, Not Yet: Manuel Valls as France’s New Interior Minister

Manuel Valls

I was rather excited about Francois Hollande winning the French elections this month.  I hoped that five years of hateful, fear mongering policy towards Muslims by Sarkozy and his minions would come to an end and that Hollande, for all his supposed blandness, would bring some low-key normalcy to the French presidency.There was one flaw in my reasoning: Manuel Valls, Hollande’s new Interior Minister.  The Interior Minister in France is a quite important cabinet position, responsible for int … [Read more...]

The French “Niqab Ban,” One Year On

Visage découvert poster

A year ago this week, a French law came into effect banning face veils for women.  At the time, the law was subject to much derision for “only” affecting the very specific number of 367 niqab and burqa-clad women (as of 2009) in France, although at its time, the law was thought to concern a couple thousand women.Anything relating to Muslims has long been a political tool in France, be it from the far-right National Front (FN) party, or from President Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UM … [Read more...]

Women in Tunisia’s Revolution

On Friday, the President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia fled his homeland as it was engulfed by an uprising, sparked by the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed university graduate who had taken to selling fruit in Sidi Bouzid.  When authorities confiscated his wares for not having a license, Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of a government building. Protests followed, as thousands took to the street in a movement fueled by rage over corruption among the elite.Anger in Tunisia … [Read more...]

Revealing Democracy: A Conference on Bill 94 (Part I)

Quebec’s Bill 94, which would deny access to public services to women who wear niqab, is back in parliamentary hearings and, by all accounts, likely to pass.  This past weekend, an international conference entitled "Revealing Democracy: Bill 94 and the challenges of religious pluralism and ethnocultural diversity in Quebec" was held at Concordia University in Montreal.  Its focus was on looking critically at the social and political contexts in which the bill has come to be.  Among other topics, … [Read more...]


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