Politics

To burqa or not to burqa?

As a secular nation, France has no right to espouse interpretations of any religion or delve into theological discussions of Islam in particular. But we should acknowledge that France’s discussion of a burqa ban stems from an internal need for Muslims to address outstanding, blatant inequities in religious interpretations.

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Headscarves and hymen

I wish Muslim women didn’t need their own part in Barack Obama’s Cairo speech earlier this month. Many wondered whether Obama would take the safe route and avoid women’s rights. But that would have given a free pass to the denial and defensiveness of too many Muslims about the abuse of girls and women committed in the name of our religion.

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Empowering the average Mo

In the traditional Arab mindset, men who do not fit the conventional ideal of manhood are regarded as inferior. As long as conservative circles continue successfully to equate female emancipation with male emaciation, the quest for gender equality will stall. What we need are mainstream, “average Mo” role models who demonstrate that believing in gender equality squares with being a man.

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Women win in Kuwait

Four Kuwaiti women made history on May 17th by winning seats in their country’s parliamentary elections. Their victory was made all the more delicious because the fundamentalists who had long opposed women’s suffrage simultaneously lost several of their seats in the Kuwaiti parliament. And just as women faced down the fundamentalists in Kuwait, they will eventually win in Saudi Arabia.

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The hymen: Much ado about nothing

Which is more important: a smart, caring, kind partner/wife, or a woman with an intact hymen? When we care more about a fuzzy idea of virginity than what kind of person a woman is, we have a seriously skewed idea of women, their value, and their sexuality. It’s time that all of us measure a woman by who she is, not what is (or isn’t) between her legs.

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Between “liberated” and “oppressed”

Though a recent Gallup study is an important one which illustrates the diversity and spirit of America’s Muslims, The Washington Times frames the findings to suggest that the study zeroed in on Amercian Muslim women and proved that America has liberated this otherwise repressed population – a result that fits this publication’s ideology a little too snugly.

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Sisters in the Muslim Brotherhood

Recently, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood claimed to be in favour of “complete equality” between men and women while preserving their different social roles. But two years after this stated vision of gender equality, the current status and role of women in the Muslim Brotherhood’s organizational structure remains lacking.

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