A South African Muslim Woman’s Memories of Mandela

My daughter outside Mandela's home in Soweto on Saturday night.

I wrote part of this piece when Dr Laury Silvers asked me for a few words she could read in her khutbah at El Tawhid Unity Mosque in Toronto. She wanted to open with words from a South African, and I am grateful to her and the congregation for the oppurtunity to express these words on the passing of our beloved Comrade, President, Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who returned to his creator on Thursday night, December 5 at the age of 95.Tata (father), as we fondly call Nelson Mandela, … [Read more...]

Eid in Four Countries

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As one final addition to our Ramadan 2013 posts, we wanted to share a series of reflections on how Eid was spent among some of our writers. Writing, respectively, from South Africa, Pakistan, Canada, and Kuwait, MMW bloggers Safiyyah, Merium, Shireen, and wood turtle bring us their experiences of food, gender issues, politics, and celebration.Safiyyah (South Africa)In South Africa this year, 'Eid day coincided with our national holiday, "Women's Day" on 9 August. Women's Day in South … [Read more...]

Ramadan: The Mother and Activist

Halaqa

Ramadan for me personally has always been a month of compassion, congregation and contemplation. However, last year in Ramadan, my entire days and nights revolved around caring for my then-one-month-old twins.Time passed by like a whirlwind; I have vague memories of feeding, burping, changing, and rocking babies to sleep – all the while trying to maintain some semblance of spirituality. Just one Ramadan before that, I had all the time in the world to pray, attend congregational prayers a … [Read more...]

In the Name of Honour: The Free Aafia Siddiqui Campaign in South Africa

Justice for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Earlier this year, South African Muslim media was abuzz with the story of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist who was convicted and sentenced to 86 years in prison for assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. The media campaign served to raise awareness about Siddiqui’s alleged abuse at the hands of the U.S justice system, and to assert her complete innocence. Her story is a difficult one, spanning the vastness of two continents … [Read more...]

South African Muslimahs Speak about Headscarves at Airports

Over the Christmas and New Year season, Quraysha Ismail Sooliman, South African Muslimah scholar and lecturer in Political Studies at the University of Pretoria, was on her way out of the country with her family. At Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, she and her daughters were stopped at passport control, and one of her daughters was asked to remove her headscarf in order to be properly identified. The same happened upon their return, when her second daughter was asked the same, … [Read more...]

The Fight over South Africa’s Muslim Marriage Bill Rages on

Recently, the South African Justice Ministry opened the latest draft of the Muslim Marriages Bill (MMB) up for public comment and called for submissions on the bill’s contents.Along with this came the media furor over the Muslim community’s reaction to the idea of the government recognizing Muslim marriages as Muslim marriages and providing legislation for Muslims according to both constitutional gender equality and the dynamism of fiqh. The point of this post is not to assess the Sha … [Read more...]

Big Love: Appropriating Feminism in Advocating Polygamy

Stories about polygamy tend to surge and ebb in the media, but they never fail to intrigue people. Recently in South Africa, a Zulu man married four women–all at once–making the most popular story on the BBC news website (you can watch the clip here). In the video, a male wedding guest gives a thumbs-up to the marriage(s), claiming that the "world" suffers from monogamous marriage breakdowns as a result of adultery. Later, the narrator serves up a classic: with all those wives, what man will hav … [Read more...]


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