Review – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s Refusing the Veil


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s Refusing the Veil, part of the Provocations series by Biteback publishing, is a very short, refreshingly honest book about why the author thinks Muslim women should give up wearing the veil, in all its various forms, so that they can be liberated women in the 21st century.The book begins with a list of all the possible words for veil. It proceeds, taking a conversational tone with very occasional academic flourishes but a merciful lack of jargon, in three parts. The f … [Read more...]

Take Off Your Veil to Rock the World

Cover of Girls Who Rocked the World. [Source].

The daughter of a close friend recently turned 10, and I went to a children’s book and toy store to look for a gift.  I made my way past the picture books, marvelling at how fast the time has gone since I was buying her a Scaredy Squirrel book for her sixth birthday, and stood looking at the chapter book display, which was fairly small.  It had none of my own childhood favourites, but one title did catch my eye: Girls Who Rocked the World.I picked it up and flipped through.  The book consi … [Read more...]

“An Exotic Veiled Woman”: An Honest Look at the Experience of Muslim Women in Activism

An article recently published in Bekhsoos magazine  is a jarring and honest reflection of a young trans man’s experience with being a veiled woman (prior to identifying as trans) and a queer member of the feminist activist community.  His reflections on having worn the veil in feminist spaces echo those of Muslim women who choose to outwardly express their faith experience; it seems as though when a Muslim woman joins an activist circle that isn’t related to justice in South Asia or the Middle Ea … [Read more...]

Wiam Wahhab’s Trash-Talking Politics

Wiam Wahhab is the leader of the Tawhid Movement in Lebanon. A former MP and journalist, he is also a close ally of Syria. In a rant against Syria’s rival, Saudi Arabia, Wahhab compared Saudi women to “garbage bags,” in reference to the black niqab that is common in the country. Sparking the anger of protesters, Wahhab eventually retracted his statements, clarifying that his comments were not meant to insult the veil, but rather the lack of human rights afforded to women in Saudi Arabia.While a … [Read more...]

A Woman Without Hijab is Like a Chair with Three Legs

If you still haven’t figured out that wearing black chadors will save your worldly soul and that wearing lipstick and heels will get you sent to the hellfire, Iran’s “Cyber Group for Promoting Chastity and the Veil [Ifaf]" is here to clear that up for you.  They are sponsored by the Iranian government and have a sleek website where you can view their posters, buy t-shirts, and brush up on hijab laws in Iran!They have a new ad campaign for “good hijab” (because, you know, chastity really only ha … [Read more...]

What Not to Write: More on Bad Veil Headlines

Noorain Khan's piece on bad burqa puns, which MMW reposted yesterday, came as I have been coincidentally trying to pull together an explanation of exactly what is wrong with headlines that use these puns.  (For those unfamiliar with the structure, here’s an easy formula:  “behind/beneath/under/beyond” +"the" + “veil/hijab/burqa/niqab.) Read her piece first for a great list of all the ways that this language plays out; what I want to do in this post is to expand on exactly what is wrong with using … [Read more...]

Your Complete Guide To Bad Burqa Puns

This post was written by Noorain Khan, and originally published at Jezebel.Every time news about another hijab/niqab/burqa ban hits the press, editors rejoice: this is their chance to coin THE ultimate veil pun. Problem is, there's simply no such thing as a good veil pun.Plays on words that seemed clever in 1996 (or rather, in colonial discourse from 1959) have become even more trite and cringeworthy after years of headline-grabbing headscarf-ban debates and "encounters" with women in Iraq … [Read more...]