Britain and the Veil: From Jack Straw to Jeremy Browne

Jeremy Browne. [Source].

The debate about whether or not “we” should have a debate about banning “veils” has returned – or maybe it would be more accurate to say that the volume has been raised, since this is a debate that seems to have been running in the background for most of the last decade. The amount of material on this topic is huge and seemingly endless, and the interest in rehashing the debate seems excessive, given that the face veil is worn by a tiny minority of the minority of Muslim women in the West. … [Read more...]

The H Word: A Piece of Cloth Loaded with More Than It Can Bear?

Different styles of hijab reflect the influence of different ethnicities. [Source].

I have to admit that hijab narratives in media turn me off. Whether because it is exhaustively discussed or because most of these narratives rely heavily on clichés and fallacies, hijab is a subject that seems to me overloaded with notions that are not related in any way to what I see as the core of its true essence. However, being surrounded with multitudes of articles and reports on the topic, and being a Muslim woman living in a Muslim country that witnesses a shift in the way people perceive … [Read more...]

Muslim Women, Not-So-Muslim Men: Interfaith Marriage in the UK

Since apparently all of us over the ripe age of 20 walk around with visible and obnoxiously loud ticking analog biological clocks, it’s no surprise that the issue of marriage is constantly smacked into our faces as though it is the sole defining moment and relationship of our lives. Marriage for Muslim women, whatever shade of practice, belief and color they come in, is a big deal. It may not be a big deal for a particular Muslim woman, perhaps, but those around her still tend to make it into a p … [Read more...]

Reading Between the Lines: Two Takes on British Women’s Unemployment

Earlier in December, the Guardian reported on a recent UK-based report—the “All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community Ethnic Minority Female Unemployment: Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Heritage Women”—that found “minority ethnic women are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts, with some removing their hijabs or making their names sound more English to try to beat discrimination.”The report found that continuing employment woes – and, as a result, … [Read more...]

“Lost” Girls Are Not Sex Objects – Whatever Their Race: Part II

In light of several interesting comments to my previous post on the Rochdale “grooming” case, I decided a follow-up piece was in order.Much of the furore surrounding the case has been with respect to race and its alleged role in the attack, specifically: does the “Asian” (Pakistani and thereby Muslim) origin of the attackers play a role in the crime? As stated previously, sexual abuse occurs across all ethnic/racial, socioeconomic and religious groups.  Worldwide, women and girls (in particul … [Read more...]

“Lost” Girls Are Not Sex Objects – Whatever Their Race

A group of nine men of Pakistani and Afghan origin were sentenced to jail recently for using alcohol and drugs to “groom” white British girls for sex.  The abuse took place in the town of Rochdale, near Manchester in northwest England.  The men, aged 24 to 38, were employed as taxi drivers, and included a religious studies teacher and a takeaway worker who were indicted for assaulting victims as young as 13 years of age.  Since then, another two people have been arrested in connection with anothe … [Read more...]

Don’t Ask Why: the BNP on Question Time

If you live in the U.K., you've no doubt been following (or have at least heard about) the controversy surrounding the far right British National Party's appearance on Question Time. If you don't, or you haven't, allow me to explain: following the election of two British National Party (BNP) MEPs in the 2009 European elections this summer, a representative of the BNP was invited onto one of the BBC's flagship political debate television programs last Thursday. The panel included Chris Huhne … [Read more...]


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