Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

Recently, deadly protests have broken out across Iran after authorities supposedly detained a woman, Mahsa Amini, and eventually killed her for violating Iranian laws regarding the Hijab. The killing of this woman and the brutal nature of Iranian authorities is surely horrifying and detestable — if it indeed happened as they say. Initial reports stated she died in police custody and soon escalated to state that she was brutally beaten. Continue reading Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

Indonesia’s Moderate Islam Forum and the BJP

On Friday, August 26, 2022, The Print published an article regarding a summit planned by the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest population of Muslims, hoping to “quell the ideas of radical Islam and extremism and promote moderatism.” Language like this already rings alarm bells, considering the notorious Prevent and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)’s strategy of delineating arbitrary markers of radicalization, and entrapping Muslims under what becomes effectively a police state. The nail in the coffin, so to speak, is the presence of a central committee member, Ram Madhav, a BJP politician who once served as General Secretary of the party and is a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The BJP is India’s ruling party, and current Prime Minister Modi was an architect of the 2002 Gujarat massacre of Muslims. Continue reading Indonesia’s Moderate Islam Forum and the BJP

Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

The history of the modern Middle East is often narrated as a story of power struggles between competing ideologies. One such set of competing ideologies is Islamism and secularism. The aim of this paper is not to explore these ideologies in the light of Middle Eastern history and argue in favor of either one of the two; instead, this essay will attempt to explore one of the factors that enables this dichotomization in the first place. The conceptualization of Islam as a “religion” creates the possibility of characterizing actors as “Islamists” in opposition to those characterized as secularists. I argue that this “religion-making” is intricately linked to the workings of the modern state which makes “religion” essential to its existence as secular. Continue reading Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

Roe v. Wade and the Hikmah of Islamic Prohibitions

The overturning of Roe sparked a strong clash between both the opposing sides of the political spectrum and has been a matter of great debate and controversy. Individual states now have the power to ban or limit abortions, which will become illegal in about half of the states in the U.S. Healthcare professionals can be criminally charged for performing an abortion. This article will shed light on the significance and impact of this ruling, and will discuss the perspectives and proposed solutions at both ends of the political spectrum. Continue reading Roe v. Wade and the Hikmah of Islamic Prohibitions

Islam and Progressive Politics: Considerations on Pluralism, Liberal Hegemony, and Foreign Policy

Here, I argue that progressivism appears to have rekindled neoconservatism (not surprising, as many current progressives were on the neoconservative bandwagon not too long ago), but this time without the “security” guise that Americans have grown tired of, instead with a pivot towards democracy and freedom. The War on Terror can be conveniently replaced with the war for democracy. This causes massive international damage to Islamic countries, who will face severe economic, political, and possibly even military pressure from adventurist foreign policies. This should challenge our assumed alliance with the Democratic Party, and that general justifications given for strongly allying with progressive coalitions at home, namely the possibility of pluralism and international restraint, are both false. Continue reading Islam and Progressive Politics: Considerations on Pluralism, Liberal Hegemony, and Foreign Policy

India’s Hijab Ban, Part II: Defining Islamic Identity

In the previous section we explored a general trend in contemporary thinkers who — while recognizing the flaws in the existing democratic-constitutional-secular-liberal regime (the ideal in international politics) — locate these flaws in something external to the regime as a kind of consequence of history. Legal scholar Faizan Mustafa and historian Irfan Habib are two prominent examples from the legal and political theory fields who have strong commitments to secular democratic projects. They view the existing BJP government as simply having violated the basic social-contract which underlies constitutional rule (namely,  adhering to the rule of law). Continue reading India’s Hijab Ban, Part II: Defining Islamic Identity

Should Labour be Chasing Hindu Fascist Votes?

In the most recent local elections in the UK, Labour gained a couple of flagship councils from the Tories, including Wandsworth, which had been in Tory hands since the 1970s (including through the Blair years).  However, it lost two councils it had held for some years to the Tories, namely Croydon in the south and Harrow in the north-west. In Croydon, the Labour council has had to make major public service cuts as a result of a financial crisis; in Harrow, the loss has been attributed to losing the local Indian vote. While this was in part due to a crisis involving bin collection, it was also because the local Hindu community considers the Labour party as patronising and too close to Muslims. Writing in the New Statesman,  Kavya Kaushik, noted that the party loses Asian votes once Asians become wealthier (both in Harrow and in other areas with a large Asian vote such as Southall). As one constituent told Kaushik when campaigning there, “you vote Labour in Southall but then you make money, move to Isleworth and buy a Mercedes” then you vote Tory. (The author calls Pinner “Harrow’s Isleworth,” popular with Harrow Hindus who have “made it,” but Isleworth is in a different borough to Southall.) Continue reading Should Labour be Chasing Hindu Fascist Votes?

Pronouns: Progressivism’s Preposterous Plight

He/him, she/her, they/them, ze/zir — the options grow daily. One can simply wake up one day and assume the identity of a boy, the next claim that they are a girl, and the day after neither, and announce their pronouns as a part of their introduction, expecting an unquestioned adherence to affirm self-identification. This is despite the fact that there is no definition on their part of what a woman or a man actually is aside from the recursive argument, “anyone who identifies as such.” Continue reading Pronouns: Progressivism’s Preposterous Plight

I Welcome the Overturning of Roe, But There are Problems

As a Muslim woman, I welcome the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, there are two glaring problems that I believe Muslims must address. Just as there were un-Islamic ideological premises that guided court to Roe, overturning it returns the question of moral and legal status of abortion to states who still fail to reckon with abortion adequately or provide economic and social support to families Continue reading I Welcome the Overturning of Roe, But There are Problems