Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves…But Nobody Seems to Notice

Recently, Ahmedinejad’s closest aide, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, made comments that Iran must work to fight against the oppression of women where the religious framework of Islam would allow it. The Guardian article calls women’s rights a divisive topic in Iran, which is true. However, the sexist laws mentioned are those that involve the requirement to cover following the 1979 Islamic revolution, failing to mention inequalities in other areas, such as personal status laws.  This reduces the revo … [Read more...]

The Science of Beating a Dead Horse: The Christian Science Monitor’s Hijab Series

Recently, The Christian Science Monitor published a series of articles centered around the hijab. While I appreciated the valiant effort to offer some insight into the discourse around the hijab and the lives of Muslim women, it ultimately left me frustrated.The articles treat the headscarf as the heart of women's issues in Islam. Centering on the practice of veiling makes it appear central to women's issues and ultimately glosses over the realities and depths of the problems that Muslim women … [Read more...]

Driving Force: the n7nu Campaign in Saudi Arabia

The advertisement begins with a short video of a woman moving from the back seat to the front seat, followed by the simple question, “drive?” The video sets the tone for this campaign, which asks the general population to discuss and also listen.The n7nu campaign has a very simple message: one of awareness.  The aim is to provide a platform for women, men, Saudis and non-Saudis alike to share their views in regards to women driving in Saudi Arabia.In a blitz of new media, Areej Khan, a Saud … [Read more...]

Grassroots Politics and Women’s Activism Forum in D.C.

While in Washington, D.C., last month, I attended a forum on Muslim women’s rights titled “Women and the Politics of Change in the Middle East,” at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. It was sponsored by the Women’s Learning Partnership, an international NGO dedicated to women's leadership and empowerment, especially in Muslim majority countries. The event was held to honor the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW). CED … [Read more...]

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Women’s Rights in Kuwait

It's been a busy month for the constitutional court in the tiny Gulf Arab nation of Kuwait. Earlier this week, Kuwait's highest court ruled that women now have the right to obtain a passport without the consent of their husbands and guardians. The ruling abrogated an article of a 1962 law that required women to gain their husband's signature on any passport application.The court, following complaints from thousands of women who have petitioned to change the law, finally ruled that the article … [Read more...]

The Other Half of the Sky: the NYT Magazine’s Women’s Crusade Issue

At the heart of many of the problems plaguing Muslim women in developing nations is a dollar bill, not a Qur’an. That was the overall impression I received from reading last Sunday’s Times Magazine. The issue of women in developing nations may not appear to be an impending issue for the Muslim community. In fact, the phrase “women in development” may turn away many readers. However, these issues are at the heart of many global conflicts, and in many cases, these impoverished women are Muslims the … [Read more...]

Asra Nomani and the Mosque Crusade: Lofty or Ludicrous?

Mosque in Morgantown, a documentary about Asra Nomani’s quest to eradicate gender segregation in the mosque, airs tonight on PBS at 10 pm EST.I watched the film this weekend. Twice. I took three pages of notes, but still had a difficult time writing a review. This could be because my head has been in another place this weekend with the aftermath of Iranian elections.But the reason could also be that the documentary just didn’t work. It begins with Asra Nomani, sharing her personal stories. Th … [Read more...]