Breaking Down Stereotypes: Somali Women Always Agents of History

A statue honouring Hawa Taako. [Source].

Recently, the Huffington Post re-published an Associated Press article on Sufi resurgence in Somalia. Following the withdrawal of the armed militant group Al-Shabab from the country’s capital of Mogadishu, Somalis are once again allowed to engage in Sufi practices without fear of death and violent repression. The article paints a landscape of men and women chanting in divine states of worship. The writer makes mention of women:  “Beyond the circle of worshippers are dozens of women, some of them … [Read more...]

The Women at the Forefront of Somalia’s Future

Somali women at a health clinic.  Via Through the Fire.

For more than 20 years there has been a continuous stream of bad news where Somalia is concerned with images of war, famine and piracy. Now with Al Shabaaab driven out of Mogadishu, and the Somali Transitional Government and African Union in control of the capital, Somalia seems to have joined the Africa Rising tide, and interestingly the image of Somalia's new era of a peaceful future seems to be largely women.Indeed, a dominant narrative in rebuilding Somalia seems to focus on women, … [Read more...]

“Islamically dressed” sex workers in a Christian nation

Source: NY Daily News

I was personally not aware that Malawi had a somewhat significant Muslim population when I read this report by Nyasa Times discussing the trend of sex workers wearing the hijab in certain cities in Malawi. This is because I was aware that Malawi identifies itself as a Christian nation "with no religious conflict”, with the religion being followed by 83% of the Malawian population. Yet as I discovered, a minority of Malawians, 13%, are Muslim.According to the report, sex workers are wearing h … [Read more...]

TEDxMogadishu: A Talk by Ilwad Elman

Ilwad Elman - TEDxMogadishu

Last week, Samya covered the TEDxMogadishu talks for MMW.  As Samya wrote, "TEDx Mogadishu is not just a meeting of creative minds to gather and share their views on the welfare of the people in Somalia; it is also an opportunity for outsiders to change their perceptions about developments in that country, especially as they relate to women and children." A first TEDxMogadishu talk has been edited and posted online.  The talk, by Ilwad Elman, is entitled "In Memory of My Father, I Returned … [Read more...]

TEDx Mogadishu and the Symbolic Rebirth of a Torn Society

Ilwad Elman - TEDxMogadishu

During the past three decades, global perceptions of Somalia have for the most part been shaped by images of the country as a disaster area, ravaged by poverty and war. Somalia seems to appear in the news only in the context of humanitarian assistance appeals or of Al Qaeda-inspired militias carrying out their heinous acts across the country.Since the outbreak of the civil war in 1991, there has been virtually no central government control in Somalia. The country has been characterized as a … [Read more...]


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