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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

men should accept blame; women should assert agency

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following rant was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, and I have her permission to reproduce it in its entirety. Systems of patriarchy are sometimes so entrenched, we just accept them as part of normal daily interactions. […]

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My first day of wearing rida to school

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Zainab Jamali is a teenaged Muslim American girl in Los Angeles. As a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community, she recently took her misaq (an oath marking the symbolic passage to adulthood) on the hand of the community’s spiritual leader, […]

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a case study for paternalism and good intentions

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a true anecdote: A hijabi chooses the bottom platform of a quiet staircase in her college’s library to pray. While she is deep in prayer, a white, male classmate walks by and stops to console her by putting […]

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Bishnu Shrestha and the 40 thieves (and one khukuri)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a khukuri, a curved Nepalese-style blade issued as standard equipment to members of the Gurkha, which are famed Nepali units of the Indian Army (and the British Army of India before Independence): In 2010, a retired Indian Gurkha […]

The Gujarati origins of Valentine’s day: Velan-time Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s Valentine’s Day today, and also as it happens my own birthday, so I thought I’d share a classic Internet myth for both amusement and a not-so-subtle warning, which given the state of gender relations in India recently might also […]

on the dangers of male theorizing about hijab

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

“The truth is that the traditional image of the veiled Muslim woman as sheltered and docile sexual property of her husband is just as misleading and simpleminded as the postmodernist image of the veil as the emblem of female freedom […]

does the hijab protect women from harassment?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The image above is a billboard in Tehran which makes a clumsy case for wearing the hijab – it “protects” the woman like a candy wrapper from the attention of men. The degrading analogy of a woman as a piece […]

President Obama’s remarks at the White House Iftaar Dinner

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama hosted the traditional Iftaar Dinner at the White House yesterday evening. Among the attendees was Huma Abedin, aide to Secretary Clinton and who was the target of vicious Islamophobic attacks by prominent Republicans such as Michele Bachmann and […]

Jamaat-i-Islami in Pakistan and the rape/adultery fallacy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I found this argument by Munawar Hassan of the political party Jamaat-i-Islami to be unbelievably disgusting and fundamentally blasphemous in the way he invokes the Qur’an to justify blatant misogyny: Here is the most disturbing part of Hassan’s comments: Anchor: […]

Muslim Women Do That

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

International Women’s Day: They Speak for Themselves, in America and Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is International Women’s Day 2011 – and in the twitter age, the best way to take the global pulse of the event is via hashtag, specifically #internationalwomensday. The most important event occurring today is in Tahrir Square in Cairo, […]

a Valentine Milad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year sees a happy convergence – it is Valentine’s Day and also the birthday of the Prophet SAW*. Sadly, both occasions are burdened by controversy in the muslim world. Valentine’s Day is seen by some as a Western plot […]

Let’s dedicate this Valentine’s Day to fighting domestic violence

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I think it fitting that as Valentine’s Day approaches, we should pause to remember that as we celebrate love, we should also act to preserve and protect it from darker impulses. For far too many women, just being alone of […]

Remembering Aasiya: A Call to Action

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a press release from Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence, who are issuing a call to action in honor of Aasiya Zubair Hassan, who was murdered by her husband one year ago. Please redistribute and also check out the […]

Shariahland

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The problem with Afghanistan is that it isn’t like any war we’ve fought before, not even counter-insurgencies. It’s fundamentally an attempt to deny a haven for Islamic violent extremists (IVEs) to create a model society – “Sharialand”, for want of […]

Gender as the Focal Point of Cross-Cultural Dialogue

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Asma T. Uddin, Editor-in-Chief of AltMuslimah.com. Louise Cankar, an assistant professor of sociology at Marquette University, recently published a book in which she argues that, while anti-Muslim suspicion existed prior to 9/11, 9/11 created […]

An ideal husband

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by G. Willow Wilson. Asra Nomani’s recent essay in Marie Claire, My Big Fat Muslim Wedding, lays out a scenario that has become familiar to everyone in the post-9/11 world: despairing Muslim woman is forced […]

Women’s Islamic Initiative in Equality and Spirituality Conference (WISE)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Dilshad D. Ali. In 2006 I received an invitation from Daisy Khan, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement to attend the first ever Women’s Islamic Initiative in Equity and Spirituality Conference (WISE) […]

murderer of Suzanne Tamim sentenced to death

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is good news: Suzanne Tamim shot to fame in an “American Idol”-style TV show, a green-eyed Lebanese beauty whose pop songs about love’s agony mirrored her troubled life. Now, the man reported to be her secret lover _ a […]

moving beyond pro-life and pro-choice in the abortion debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lets get my personal opinion out of the way: I am generally in suppoort of Roe vs Wade because I think it does a good job of providing a simple, algorithmic solution to the messy lack of moral and ethical […]

the misogyny of the Ummah

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I often find fault with the way in which Yasmin Alibhai-Brown makes her arguments in the pages of the Independent, but I have to concede that on the merits, her main arguments are usually sound. Her latest essay is a […]

VIDEO: Taliban flogging 12-year old girl (explicit)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Barbarism has a name in Islam – hirabah. (WARNING – graphic violence) This is why we need a War on Terror (or better yet, a WOMBAT). It’s also why I favor intervention rather than isolationism. Pursuant to the debate here […]

definitions: racism, islamophobia, anti-semitism, and sexism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Razib poses an interesting question at Talk Islam asking for people’s definitions of these four terms. Here are mine: racism – bias pr prejudice towards an ethnic group. anti-semitism – hatred towards Jews (or culturally affiliated persons therof) […]

Mayor Karzai signs pro-rape bill in Afghanistan, scapegoats the Shi’a

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In an explicit bid to appease hard-line Islamists, Afghanistan’s “president” 1 Hamid Karzai has signed a bill into law that essentially legalizes rape of a woman by her husband: Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in […]

Dating while Muslim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Zeba Iqbal. A provocative title, though I doubt the discussion will be quite as titillating. Before getting into a debate over the title, I’d like to establish some context. Marriage is important in Islam, […]

16 year old girl burned alive in India

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a horrific case of an honor killing in rural India: BHOJPUR (GHAZIABAD): A 16-year-old girl, Imrana, was set on fire inside her house on Monday in a case of what the police called ‘moral vigilantism’. The victim had […]

an honor killing or “only” domestic violence?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The horrific decapitation murder of Aasiya Zubair by her husband Muzzammil Hassan last week – which spurred nationwide sermons in US mosques about domestic violence – was a wake-up call to the muslim-American community about the taboo subject of spousal […]

Khutba on domestic violence by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This khutbah (sermon) was delivered by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf of the Zaytuna Institute in San Francisco on Friday 20th February as part of the nationwide effort to raise awareness about domestic violence within muslim communities. Related: khutbah on domestic violence […]

Friday Khutbah (Sermon) on Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community

The following is a guest post by Hesham Hassaballa, and is the text of the friday khutbah (sermon) he delivered this afternoon as part of a nationwide effort to focus on domestic violence by muslim Americans today. We praise God, […]

American Muslims Call for Swift Action Against Domestic Violence

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is a press release written today by a group of muslim bloggers, journalists, and media people including myself. The idea is to coordinate the friday khutbas (sermons) in as many American mosques as possible this week to focus […]

Muslim & S. Asian Women’s Groups Condemn Beheading of Aasiya Hassan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a joint press release by Turning Point for Women and Families and the Domestic Harmony Foundation regarding the brutal murder of Aasiya Hassan last Thursday in Buffalo, NY. Below that is a press release from the Peaceful Families […]

Muslimah Media Watch

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’d like to highlight one of the essential blogs in the Islamsphere – Muslim Media Watch (MMW). It’s a group weblog that tracks issues related to women and Islam, and features a broad stable of writers. One of the MMW […]

of burkas, bikinis and postcards

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In my essay The Burka and the Bikini, I argued, The bikini and the burka are so far to the extremes that they meet again. They both serve to reduce women, from a person, to an object. In the case […]

equal rights for bearded women

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is hilarious: That’s very promising! Progress should be incremental. And the mullahs are always trying to encourage people to grow their beards, anyway…

A courageous, defiant Afghani schoolgirl

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Baktash Siawash is an Afghan-based blogger and journalist. At his blog, he has a guest post by Shamsia, an Aghani schoolgirl who was blinded by the Taliban who threw acid in her face to intimidate her from attending school. Shamsia’s […]

Listen Islam: podcasts

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over at Talk Islam there is a new feature called Listen Islam, which features podcasts between bloggers in the Islamsphere (and beyond) about various topics related to Islam. There are already two great podcasts posted, the first by myself and […]

Previous Posts

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community
This happens almost every day in Pakistan - fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder fellow Muslims in cold blood. This time, the target wa

posted 8:22:26am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Proof denies faith
On Reddit, someone posted the following question: "What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?" I think this is precisely the wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly

posted 9:33:46am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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