Over the Christmas and New Year season, Quraysha Ismail Sooliman, South African Muslimah scholar and lecturer in Political Studies at the University of Pretoria, was on her way out of the country with her family. At Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, she and her daughters were stopped at passport control, and one of her daughters was asked to remove her headscarf in order to be properly identified. The same happened upon their return, when her second daughter was asked the same, both times in an abrupt and condescending tone.
Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category
Recently, the South African Justice Ministry opened the latest draft of the Muslim Marriages Bill (MMB) up for public comment and called for submissions on the bill’s contents.
Along with this came the media furor over the Muslim community’s reaction to the idea of the government recognizing Muslim marriages as Muslim marriages and providing legislation for Muslims according to both constitutional gender equality and the dynamism of fiqh. The point of this post is not to assess the Shar’iah compliance of the bill, but to highlight the voices in the media that have spoken out against blatant dismissal of the bill and called for critical engagement, especially since most of the issues deal with gender equality and women’s rights within marriages.
Published at Muslimah Media Watch, Muslim Matters and Racialicious
Several weeks after Eid al Fitr and before Eid al Adha, it’s a good time to analyze the recent media embroglio about women and Eid prayers in South Africa. The ways in which South African Muslims interact with the media has changed drastically in the last few years with the rise of social media, and this has reflected itself especially in what has been called “the desktop gender jihad” (women using the internet to fight, lobby and advocate for their rights).
In the weeks following Eid al-Fitr, a group of South African women from different cities and affiliated with different groups put their heads together to make a statement: Women have the right to attend Eid prayers. Traditionally, South African Muslim women in the north have been barred from attending the prayers, as part of the dominant mindset of women as a source “temptation” and “distraction.” Muslims in the South, especially in the Cape, have always had women as part of their congregations. These differences are sometimes attributed to ethnicity and sometimes to madhab (school of law).
Published in Al Qalam newspaper
A group of young Muslim women, working under the brand of Faithworks, have launched an exciting documentary screening project, the aim of which is to showcase alternate expressions of Islam, fostering inter and intra-religious tolerance.
Months of tireless work to secure licenses and funding to screen the movies and grapple with the logistics, have finally paid off, and the response from the Johannesburg community has been overwhelming.
Muslims are not a monolith, and the world over, articulate their faith in diverse ways. Using the power of film, Faithworks hopes to showcase some of these different expressions, as well to explore divisive issues, especially related to the arts, gender, spirituality and politics. (photo via Safeeyah Kharsany)
Published at the Voice of the Cape website
Everyone who knows me – knows that I have a crusade against sexist/misogynist/chauvinist men (and women for that matter), especially that kind that tries to bar women from Islam’s places of worship – mosques. If you know this about me, you will know that I was initially extremely irate, then quite hopeful at the well organized salaah facility at the World Cup Opening match.