Wednesday, November 27, 2013

these men sit in the public
with their legs wide open
grazing our knees
suffocating our comfort
and we move to the furthest corner of our seat
further and further away
until we no longer exist

- Aysha

Friday, November 8, 2013

lest we forget the forgotten

lest we forget
all those not white enough to be mourned for
those victims whose names you will never recite
body count sky high
sky could no longer hold them
so you tried to shrink their deaths
into numbers
lest we forget
the countries where you have hidden your sins:
afghanistan, iraq, vietnam
nuclear ash on flander's fields
oil pipelines between the crosses
the dead still feel earth trembling
wondering when it will stop
lest we forget
opium wars
honoured with a blood stained poppy 
that you wear across your chest
a reminder of all those killed
by your imperialist tanks
a reminder of countless charred bodies 
who were denied life
worthless life
worth less life
lest we forget
i'm trying to remember
the daughters of mohamed wazir:
murdered while they slept
an entire generation
now shrouded in white
buried with their country
why do you say 
lest we forget
when they have already forgotten 

- Aysha

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

rant re: radfemmes

Everyone, especially people who consider themselves "radical feminists" needs to piss off with their attitude towards women who dress modestly. Your arguments that modesty are actually a result of patriarchy, and that women who dress modestly are somehow subservient to years of patriarchal tradition is in and of itself patronizing and untrue. That is actually taking a reactionary position. I'm sorry if you are/were shamed about the way that you dress, or are/were forced to "cover up". (I'm not here to judge anyone who dresses differently). However that has not been my (and many other) women's experience. Asserting that the concept of modesty (in any form) is "disgusting" is a PRODUCT of patriarchy and asserts the Western hegemonic narrative. You are undermining my knowledge of my own religion (or others personal beliefs) as well as assuming that I am intellectually incapable of interpreting my religion in a way that is NOT patriarchal (rather I find it empowering). In this hypersexualized society where women are objectified in EVERY way, I feel more comfortable when people cannot see my body. It's bad enough to have ACTUAL patriarchy police women's bodies, but to add women (esp. those who are "feminists") to that list is just sad. I don't understand why people feel ENTITLED to comment on what women wear/don't wear. I choose what parts of my body people can see, I choose WHO can see it. Please understand that. 

*side note* Islamically, the concept of modesty applies to both women AND men.

- Arshia

Sunday, March 24, 2013

To Veil or Not to Veil

There seems to be an unequivocal misunderstanding regarding Muslim women and the veil within the western context. Islam as a religion is 1400 years old but the values and traditions hold true to this day, one of which is the issue of hijab or the head scarf. The discourse surrounding this issue is generally dismissive and unsympathetic. The hijab and niqab has continually been portrayed as a tool to oppress and control women. We see examples of this in places like France where the face veil has seen much controversy and was ultimately banned in the public arena. In Canada, it was also banned from being warn at poll stations in Quebec and in 2011, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced new rules that would ban the wearing of face coverings when taking the citizenship oath.

Although there are women who have been made to wear hijab against their will that is not a true reflection of the teachings of Islam or how most women feel regarding Hijab. The vast majority of women, especially women in the west, don the hijab out of modesty and respect for themselves. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him said: “The best of you are those who are the best to their women," [at-Tirmidhi] and thus it is incumbent upon all Muslims to actively seek equality among the sexes and treat their women with the utmost respect. Addressing the issue of women’s rights and feminism are crucial components of Islam, so where does all the confusion come from?

People have often taken it upon themselves to speak on behalf of Islam and Muslim women everywhere stating their views about this ‘oppressive, patriarchal piece of cloth’,  The irony in all of this is that many of these people identify as “feminists” (and I use that term loosely regarding such women). Feminism, an ideology that is meant to empower women, create equal opportunity for women, and break down the patriarchal forces that preside has unfortunately been co-opted by western influences of what a liberated woman should look, dress, and act like. The opinions of your average Muslim women are often silenced. Were you to ask a young Muslim girl today if she chose to wear the hijab she would most definitely say yes. She would be proud of her hijab because it represents self-respect and dignity. It represents liberation from society’s standards of beauty. It represents the freedom to choose what part of her body you get to see. Wearing the hijab is a choice and women have valid reasons for doing so. To reduce Muslim women to submissive and demoralized creatures who cannot think for themselves is an insult to our intelligence. The hijab gives us our sense of security, it is our sense of confidence. 

Muslim women everywhere are tired of having non-Muslim women (and men) tell them what makes them happy. As people who identify as feminists and are supposed to be working towards the inclusion and liberation of all women, how is alienating women who wear Hijab accomplishing such things? We are only doing ourselves a disservice when we allow differences to become barriers between progress. We all face the same challenge of patriarchy as women, but to take away her right to dress as she pleases, does that not equate to the same oppression as patriarchy? How is coercing a woman out of wearing her hijab any less oppressive than coercing her into one?  

This is not to belittle women who do not wear hijab nor does it make them any less Muslim; ultimately it is a choice. Women are judged for showing skin just as much as they are for covering it. The judgemental actors at play create unhealthy relations between people. It is often said that ignorance breads fear, so let us rid ourselves of this irrational fear of the unknown. The key is to move passed these judgements and to work together to create a cohesive and inclusive society free of ridicule. 

Post By: Arshia Lakhani