Why British MP’s statements defending Muslim women do more harm than good

This post was written by guest contributor Shereen Malherbe (@malherbegirl).Headline grabbing assertions made by British MP Baroness Cox regarding Muslim men having up to 20 children each have been condemned by the Muslim community. In search of the representation of women in the UK media, it didn’t take me long to come across the Telegraph article where the “20 children” claim appears among a number of other statements about egregious violations of women’s rights by Muslim men under Sharia l … [Read more...]

Undermining the Justice of Sharia, from Granting Divorce to Female Breadwinners

A couple of weeks ago I came across this BBC Panorama  story on “Women at risk” which warns that “some Sharia councils in Britain may be putting Muslim women "at risk" by pressuring them to stay in abusive marriages.” The story presents a case of a couple going to one of the Sharia councils for the judge to decide if the woman can have a divorce, the wife accusing her husband of “refusing to work, ignoring the children and verbally abusing her.” The couple had been coming to the council for a yea … [Read more...]

Sisterhood of the Hot Pants: the Media’s Coverage of Lubna al-Hussein

Lubna al-Hussein’s recent trial for wearing pants has received a lot of attention in the media. Most of the attention has been focused on the “backwardness” of indecency law that apparently prevents women in Sudan from wearing pants in public. The law itself doesn’t actually describe what is “indecent” but it seems to be understood that the indecent clothing in this case was al-Hussein’s pants.This story did not initially spark much interest on my part, not because I don’t find the idea of fl … [Read more...]

The Mother of All Sins: Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno’S Caning

They say that money is the root of all evil. At times, I couldn't agree more. But now I hear that alcohol consumption is the “mother of all sins”. I'm not going into detail about which sins are worse, but more on the earthly consequences of such sins as defined by the male religious elite.Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno from Singapore had apparently committed the “mother of all sins” last week and now faces a sentence by the Shariah court of six strokes of the cane. The part-time model and mother of … [Read more...]

Asifa Quraishi on Women and Shari’a

Dr. Asifa Quraishi, a specialist in Islamic law at the University of Wisconsin, was recently profiled as part of a series called Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates, created by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Public Radio and described as "a new media initiative that seeks to challenge misconceptions and stereotypical perceptions about Islam and Muslims worldwide." Last month, the initiative hosted a radio show on Women and Sharia, to look at some of the news stories about … [Read more...]

Mixing up the message on Islamic law

You know that game called "broken telephone" (it goes by other names too, I think), where one person whispers a message in someone's ear, who whispers it to someone else, and so on, and by the time it reaches the last person, it gets a bit warped? That's probably a pretty good analogy for what the media does on a regular basis. This week, Robert Verkaik, Law Editor for The Independent, plays telephone with the law lords of Britain.First, the headline: "Court rules Islamic law … [Read more...]