Muslim women and the London Olympics: Series of historic firsts
Though it just started, the London Olympics already holds a series of historic firsts, especially for Muslims and women around the world.
To begin with, the organizers’ aim to make the Games the first “green games,” developed with the goal of environmentally friendly and sustainable construction. Muslim women have held pivotal roles in bringing this goal to fruition. Of note are Zaha Hadid and Saphina Sharif. Sharif, a civil engineer, was an on-site director ensuring that the clearance of the Olympic Park site pre-construction met the ‘zero-waste games’ goal.
Hadid, a British Muslim and the first woman architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize —the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in architecture—is the designer of the acclaimed London Aquatics Center for the games – a ‘Pringles chip’ looking building, by far the most beautiful building in the park.Continue reading this post »
Ramadan cheat sheet
Tonight, Ramadan sets in. It’s the month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims fast each day from dawn until sunset. With the month soon upon us, families are stocking up on dates (the food traditionally used to open the fast), charities are organizing fundraising drives and civic volunteer days and mosques around the world are preparing for optimum spiritual exercise. It’s the holiday season, summer style, but without the turkey, and potatoes, and corn, and apple cider...alright, food generally.
Because of the hot and long summer days, and an all-around aura of vacation and laziness, Ramadan won’t exactly be a piece of cake (we know--it’s ironic). Last year, we provided some Ramadan advice to fasting Muslims’ non-Muslim co-workers. This year, the fasters themselves have sought advice, asking us imploringly: How will we survive?Continue reading this post »
What does Morsi’s presidency mean for Egyptian women?
What will Mohamed Morsi’s presidency mean for Egyptian women? That seems to be the question on the minds of many following the election this past week.
A Muslim Brotherhood president seems to be cause for overwhelming trepidation for feminists, specifically, Western feminists. So the announcement that Morsi will appoint two vice presidents – a Coptic Christian and a woman – is being met with cautious optimism. We think the Muslim Brotherhood is basically a bunch of misogynists, so there must be a catch, right?
Morsi’s wife, Naglaa Ali Mahmoud, has also been the focus of confused media scrutiny. Mahmoud, who dresses according to Islamic tradition and does not hold a college degree, is the exact opposite of how we, in the West, like to see the wives of foreign leaders. Without the designer glamour and advanced degree, she must be oppressed, right?
The liberation of women in Egypt will be a test for the Arab Spring, for Egypt, for democracy – this is what we are all convincing ourselves. But as the pundits and mega-news commentators sound off, the test really seems to be how we view women in Egypt.Continue reading this post »
Is ‘the real war on women’ in the Middle East?
“Why Do They Hate Us,” asks Arab journalist, Mona Eltahawy, in her essay for Foreign Policy magazine. Eltahawy goes on to describe her perception of the treatment of women in the Arab world and ascribes all related mistreatment to systematic misogyny and patriarchy. The title of her essay is featured on the cover of the magazine with a photo of a nude woman painted in black with only her eyes showing, as if she were wearing a painted niqab and the caption under the title reads, “The real war on women is in the Middle East.”
Is it?Continue reading this post »
It’s about religious liberty, not birth control
The controversy surrounding the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) mandate requiring religious employers to cover contraception, sterilization procedures, and abortifacient drugs has been framed as a conflict between religion and women. Many are painting opposition to the mandate as a war on women and their reproductive rights and health interests.Continue reading this post »