From September 2010

Activism: Call Your Senator Right Now. Urge Them To Pass The Dream Act

Note: This is a guest post by Ahlam Said

Dear Family and Friends

I can’t sleep.

In just a couple of hours, congress will make a choice that will affect the lives of 2.1 million young undocumented residents, who till this moment, are stifled by a broken immigration system. I pray that you will join me in challenging our leaders to live up to promise of this nation by calling the senators listed here and asking them to vote yes on the DREAM Act this morning. For those of you unfamiliar, the DREAM Act is a bipartisan proposal, which would create a pathway to citizenship for thousands of young students who were brought to the United States years ago as children.

I will spare you my tongue-tied explanation by introducing my hero: Alaa Mukahhal. I had the privilege of working alongside Alaa when she interned at IMAN’s communication department. Alaa has agreed to share her story [below] with the rest of the world. Her story teaches us many lessons, the most important being courage and justice. I pray that we can step up during these last critical hours, not only for Immigrant Rights, but HUMAN rights.

After you read her story, I hope you will join me by taking a few mins to call the senators listed here and urge them to pass the DREAM Act. PLEASE DO THIS FIRST THING IN THE MORNING:

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Sexual Harassment, Egypt, and the Hijab

Two Men Stand On A Bridge Over The Nile River, Cairo, 2006    (Photo: Javed Memon)

Note: This is a guest post by Dr. Susan Carland. She lectures in the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University in Australia. She is perhaps best known for her work on Salam Cafe. This was originally published at her blog @

This is a really interesting post for a number of reasons, by Jack Shenker in the Guardian:

Women in Egypt get hi-tech aid to beat sexual harassment

A hi-tech weapon has been unveiled in the battle against sexual harassment in Egypt, where almost half the female population face unwanted attention from men every day.

HarassMap, a private venture that is set to launch later this year, allows women to instantly report incidents of sexual harassment by sending a text message to a centralised computer. Victims will immediately receive a reply offering support and practical advice, and the reports will be used to build up a detailed and publicly available map of harassment hotspots.

The project utilises an open-source mapping technology more commonly associated with humanitarian relief operations, and the activists behind it hope to transform social attitudes to the harassment of women and shame authorities into taking greater action to combat the problem.

I think this initiative is awesome.
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Sex And Muslims

Note: This is a guest post by WoodTurtle and was originally published on her blog, where she shares experiences in Islamic feminism and modern motherhood.

Well now that you know what’s been on my mind lately… here’s a little something on Sex in Islam and Sex with Muslims.

You don’t often hear about Muslims and sex. Maybe that’s because we always seem to be having babies — and you all know how much sex a couple with a baby (or two, or three…) is having.

But in the Media, the topic of sex in Islam is second only to niqaab and terrorism. Primarily because hetero sex, sexual expression, sexual freedom, sexual exploitation, and sexual stereotypes at times deals with female liberation VS male dominance, and the Western Media really, really wants to liberate Muslim women. How on earth can a woman who’s covered from head to toe in that black thing be having sex? Good sex? Enjoying sex? Selling sex? Kinky sex? How on earth indeed. How on a bed, in a car, on a train, in a shower, with herself, with more than one partner, with a same sex partner? Muslims? No way.
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islamic-muslim marriage contract free

Free (Awesome) Islamic Marriage Contract For Download

Muslim marriage is a contract, not a sacrament. Though it has importance as the only religiously sanctioned way for individuals to have legitimate sexual relationships and to procreate, marriage is a civil agreement, entered into by two individuals or those acting on their behalf. – Kecia Ali @ The Feminist Sexual Ethics Project

Young Muslims tend to hear a lot about how great Islamic Marriage Contracts are. At conferences, lectures, and even on the internet we hear about how, because they are civil agreements, both the bride and groom can add stipulations.  For instance, Fatema Mernissi made famous the story of Sukayna, the great granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad who was pretty much a badass and stipulated all sorts of things in her marriage contracts: Read more

Non-Desi Like Me

Note: This is a guest post by Adam Sitte

Part of me wants to apologize for the relative melodrama of this title. I concede, of course, that my own experiences pale in comparison to the racially-based oppression John Howard Griffin recorded in his famous account of segregation in the American South. That said, all we have to share is our own perspectives and individual tribulations, and I feel the banality of my own need not suppress their relevance. There is a tacit expectation that converting to a new religion necessitates an alteration of your own culture.

Arabs dress you up in thobes and want you to smoke hookah, while Desis assume you’ll love Bollywood movie nights and bhangra. Read more