Be sure to refer to this the next time someone tries that lazy, anti-critical thinking response of “we are all people” as if someone questioned our genus and species/binomial nomenclature as homo sapiens (though the consistent dehumanization efforts against people of colour leaves the argument open of whether or not we are actually considered human in the first goddamn place), versus questioning the fact that despite race being a social construct, racism is very much a real issue (as if social constructs are not also “real” things, despite being constructed. Real and true do not always mean the same thing.)
A deeply saddening case of Islamophobia and xenophobia against an innocent, rural Pakistani couple in America, whose children have been taken away from them. Nosheen Ali is working on the case. Read.
This hurts and reminds me how POC parents are constantly viewed as incompetent, crude beings. In rural and urban Pakistan, the remedy for a burn is indeed a mixture of toothpaste and salt or honey and salt; it is a form of holistic healing, nothing criminal about it. If it gets worse, we do check hospitals. Jalal and Husna’s case is the same but due to domestic reasons involving Jalal’s job as a taxi driver (he’s away) and Husna’s weak English skills, they weren’t able to contact a doctor right away. Now their children have been taken from them and criminal charges are being pressed against these innocent parents. In addition to that, not surprising at all, Islamophobic and racist attorneys make it a lot worse.
If you know someone in San Francisco who is a native speaker of Urdu and/or Punjabi, please let me know. Husna and Jalal need translators who can help them through this painful crisis.
This is important and it would help a lot if you could spread the word and ask if there are any native Urdu or Punjabi speakers in San Francisco.
Let me start off by saying RIP to the victims of the Colorado massacres. Their lives were cut short by a man who I hope gets life in prison or something even worse. Terrorism is not okay ever, and this is so terrifying, that people can’t even watch a movie without being scared.
Racism still exists. Racism exists because people ignore racial issues in the west and claim that when poc talk about it they’re just pulling the race card. Racism exists because when statistics about black men in jail arise, others say that black people are just that way and then claim that they’re using the race card. Race is always an issue in news events because it displays the inequality in which each race is depicted in the media. So yes, if James Holmes was brown, he would be labelled a terrorist and probably shot to death, and no one would bat an eye. It’s so easy for a white man to be arrested and tried fairly but black men are constantly being shot in police custody. Homophobia is said to be more in black communities but black same-sex households are more affected by anti-gay laws than white communities. But if someone points this out, another whines about how race is in everything but wants everyone to be equal except when statistics clearly show that they’re not.
I hope you motherfuckers realize that when there is an attack on the West, poc hold their breath because they’re afraid that if it’s a black or a brown person, immediately our culture and our religion is to blame. But now that James Holmes is white, he is now labelled crazy and insane, and that’s the only reason why he could do such a thing. Same with Andres Breivik, even though his blogs show a huge amount of anti-Islam and anti-immigration sentiment and there are people in America who believe that his actions were right. Because when it’s one of us, and however much we loathe that person and want him to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, it isn’t enough. We should be blamed.
Mehreen Kasana here.
Looks like I’m in charge for tonight. Sometimes ignorance can really get to our heads especially when some folks on Tumblr assume Muslim women need the “most saving” because their religion is the “most sexist.” It’s amazing how - and this isn’t just a Tumblr phenomenon - many people on this micro-blogging forum have yet to read the entire Quran in its context and massive history. To take one verse out and misconstrue it endlessly, only proves ignorance on said person’s part. I’ve never known of Laci Green. I never cared, honestly speaking. I’ve had better sources of sex positive education than a racist, xenophobic YouTube pseudo-star who incorrectly claims that a supposedly half-Iranian person can’t be Islamophobic. Shocker: Many POC are Islamophobic, it’s not a matter of race as much as it is a matter of ideological conflict.
I’ve had terribly Islamophobic people accusing my faith of practices that aren’t theological but cultural, yet these people had the audacity to claim ‘authentic’ knowledge of Islam. Conflating culture with religion is a dangerous comprehension of communities and it leads to what we have witnessed in history the justification of wars, colonialism and imperialist-driven ‘saving’ of indigenous women. Many of you need to immediately reevaluate your understanding of the East and its culture(s). You need to read extensively about orientalism, colonialism, imperialism and their collective abuse of religion and politics that naturally affected both men and women.
So let’s start with a 101 brief introduction to books the uninitiated need to read if they do indeed want to be part of the Muslim women agency discourse. If you don’t study these or related work(s), you’re not well equipped with our history, our faith and our highly complex, richly diverse identity. Stay quiet then.
Here are some e-books by my favorite Muslim feminists or, as some of them insist to be called, gender-egalitarianists (considering their legitimate issues with the Western origin of feminism). Try finding work by Asma Barlas (Pakistani), Ziba Mir Hosseini (Iranian), Sadiyya Shaikh (Sudanese), Fadwa Al Labadi (Palestinian), Azizah al Hibri, Abdessamad Dialmy (Moroccan), Rozana Isa (Malaysian), Suha Taji-Faruqi.
- Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an: beyond the binaries of tradition and modernity. Asma Barlas.
- “The Uses and Abuses of Muslim History in Explaining Islam,” review of Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest: The Transformation of Northern Mesopotamia, Chase F. Robinson. Asma Barlas.
- “Globalizing Equality: Muslim Women, Theology, and Feminisms,” in Fera Simone (ed.), On Shifting Ground: Muslim Women in the Global Era.
- The Qur’an, Shari’a, and Women’s Rights.
- “Women’s and Feminist Readings of the Qur’an,” in Jane McAuliffe.
- “Women in Islam: Facts and Perceptions” by Memoona Hasnain.
- Re-reading the Quran. Muslim women rights within sacred text.
- Hamid Dabashi on post-colonialism and colonialism/imperialism’s use of feminism against Muslim women.
- Shattering Stereotypes - Muslim Women Speak Out by Fauzia Khan.
- Amira Jarmakani’s Imagining Arab Womanhood: The Cultural Mythology of Veils, Harems, and Belly Dancers.
- The Unique Face of Indonesia’s Islamic Feminism.
- Miriam Cooke’s Women Claim Islam Creating Islamic Feminism Through Literature.
- ‘Victimization’ versus ‘resistance’ - feminism and the dilemmatics of Islamic agency.
- The Veil (De)contextualized and Nations ‘Democratized’- Unsettling War, Visibilities, and U.S. Hegemony.
- Towards a Recognition of Multiple Feminism: The Voice of Muslim Women by Ayesha Asghar and Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente. A good explanation of why third world women and Muslim women are reluctant to participate in mainstream white feminism.
- The Rights of Women in Islam: An Authentic Approach by Haifaa A. Jawad.
- In case you forgot, Muslim women have rights to the nikahnama (legal papers for marriage) where their property rights, mobility, monetary power is all included within the papers.
- Margot Badran’s Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences.
- Imperiled Muslim women, Dangerous Muslim men and Civilized Europeans: Legal and Social Responses to Forced Marriages by Sherene Razack.
- The Seductions of Honor Crime by Lila Abu Lughod.
- Hundreds of publications, lectures, videos, and so much more. What rock do racists and xenophobic folks live under?
Let’s just remember one basic fact: If you are not Muslim, let alone female Muslim, you cannot and should not speak for us or our goals and priorities in life. Many of us follow a definition of progress that is inherently contrary to yours. To force us into accepting your idea of success and empowerment is to do what colonialists and imperialists did and continue doing. Remember when I said this?
I’m a Muslim woman. And I’m not oppressed by my religion.
What oppresses me as a citizen and as a human being is the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teachings, cultural distortion of basic theological beliefs and man-made rules directed cruelly at women only. What ties me down and suffocates me is gender discrimination done as a result of following back-breaking mores. But, above all, what oppresses me is the common man’s basic mistake of believing what he hears from malicious conservatives. You can help me from being oppressed by simply using your head for a change. When you hear someone say, “Oh, the hijab’s only a symbol of misogyny”, you can stop for a second, do your research and realize that, no, it’s a practice that the majority respectfully believes in for all sorts of reasons. You can also realize that the author of this post isn’t wearing a hijab at all. For a rational Muslim, it’s all about the freedom to choose. You can sit back and delete that ill-informed hate speech you had ready. You can learn that objectivity plays a key role when you’re studying other people’s religion.
Your ignorance and usage of savior, racist rhetoric is oppressive. There is no denying that there is sexism in cultures - have a look at the hyper sexualized image of a woman in modern day America - but you will never hear a critic castigate Christianity, you won’t find critics lambasting Western ideas of women representation and such. Which highlights the hypocrisy found in the discourse concerning Muslim women and their empowerment. No one asked you to liberate us. One of the reasons why Muslim women remain reluctant, including myself, to participate in white mainstream feminism is because of the shameless denial of privilege on part of white feminists and also because our bodies and identities are turned into battlefields. Read this part from my essay: The Other-izing of Muslim Women in Western Feminism and Hegemonic Discourse(s). Our issues are prioritized according to white feminists’ preferences. If that’s ‘feminism’, none of us want to be part of it.
So let’s get one thing clear in today’s lesson: Matters aren’t as simple as you folks assume them to be. Religion, politics, personal identity, regions, cultures, timeline(s) of historical events affect gender politics in ways that are beyond your imagination. Think a few hundred times before you decide to talk about a religion and culture you don’t belong to.
Beautiful As You Are:
When I was growing up, I had many bullies in school in Virginia. I was sometimes called the “ugly brown girl with a bush on her head.” And I’d come home bawling my eyes out. Racist bullies do a lot of damage, I’m sure you all know that by now. When I came back to Pakistan, I taught kindergarten and high school students. I found out that skin color is still a huge issue in our culture. Girls are made to feel horrible about their complexion if it’s dark. So I decided to write a little poem for the little girls in elementary school with some doodles. I read it to them in the playground. I’m glad things started to change after that.
Here it is.
When I was four feet and five inches,
Kids at school would say,
“Hey Mehreen, buy yourself a paper bag!
Your face ruins our day!”
I asked them why they thought so,
My mom said I was pretty swell?
“That’s cause your hair is bushy!
Plus your skin’s dark as hell!”
So I wore the paper bag to school,
I wore it day and night.
I thought I’d be accepted
If I was out of sight.
Then I grew up and left home,
For college and other big plans,
I made friends around the world,
I even made some fans!
I learned that people are beautiful
If they love, respect and care.
What matters most is inside.
Not my skin or hair.
So if a girl is tall and pink,
But she’s rotten and she’s rude,
She’s not pretty in any way.
I’d rather have her boo’ed.
And if a girl is small and dark
And her heart is made of gold,
Trust me, she’ll be plain beautiful
Even when she’s old.
Now here’s a little secret.
Brown is a beautiful shade.
Of warmth, strength and sweetness
This strong color is made.
But that doesn’t matter,
Oh it doesn’t matter at all.
If someone treats you for your skin tone,
They’re not worth the fall.
You’re beautiful and you’re lovely,
Because you are you.
Aw, man, this rhymes too nicely.
Because it’s really true.
Your skin is just a cover,
Your skin is just some meat,
It doesn’t make you bitter
And it doesn’t make you sweet.
What makes you gorgeous and lovely,
Comes right out of here.
So now you know you’re perfect.
Oh, you’re beautiful, my dear.
Thought I’d share it here after it got published in South Africa for girls and WOC. To everyone who’s ever felt bad about themselves: Stop. You’re beautiful.
Shadeism sucks. To all the brown and black women in the world.