Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged muslim women

Gladdy’s Wake

It took me a while to really sink my teeth into Gladdy’s Wake. The book weaves in and out of three generations, each tying together through family, hints of religion, and the story of Nawal Habib, a devout Muslim. Nawal (once Janie Kelly) is suspected of terrorism, an act that reunites her with her estranged brother, Frank (now a priest) and hospitalized father, Daniel (a once devout Catholic); both of whom she left to eventually reinvent herself as Nawal Habib. The story runs through Nawal’s family tragedy, her rebellion, the birth of her son, and eventual religious transformation, all the while introducing the reader to her grandfather, James Kelly, a womanizing Irish immigrant interested in fast cash with no real ethical principles, lest it regard his passion: Gladdy Sage.

My Sisters Made of Light

When I attended the book signing for Jacqueline St. Joan’s novel My Sisters Made of Light, I knew nothing about the book aside from its inspiration: a chance encounter between St. Joan, an American domestic violence activist, and Aisha, a Pakistani activist. St. Joan was moved by a shared sense of purpose to write Aisha’s story—the story of a teacher who has orchestrated secret efforts to rescue women condemned to death for so-called honor crimes in Pakistan for the past twenty-five years.

Untold: A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad

Although the wives of the Prophet are held up as examples for Muslim women to follow, little is told about the human beings behind the women on pedestals. We all get told the same stuff—how Khadija supported her husband, Aisha’s work as a jurist and teacher—but the discourse focuses on their actions, not their persons. Tamam Kahn’s Untold aims to tell the human stories of the Prophet’s wives—and succeeds. In the preface of the book, Kahn touches on her intentions: upon meeting strong Muslim women in Morocco, she wanted to tell the stories of strong women, including the back story. Indeed, what makes for a strong woman isn’t just her praiseworthy behavior, but also her imperfections, her humanity.

Velvet Jihad: Muslim Women’s Quiet Resistance to Islamic Fundamentalism

Central to Islamic scripturalist assertion, or "Islamic fundamentalism" as it is often referred to, is the notion of the ideal Muslim woman, whose status, roles and functions are defined by rules and norms deriving from a narrow, restrictive and patriarchal reading of the Islamic scripturalist tradition. The ‘ideal’ Muslim woman in Islamic ‘fundamentalist’ discourse is defined as being submissive to male authority, while being modest and virtuous in a patriarchally-defined sense. She is to be carefully controlled and monitored, at all times, by patriarchal authority.

Sex and the City 2

Allow me to save you $8.


For those familiar with women’s “lifestyle” magazines, the call to be “sexy” in some way or another is not new. We women need to have “sexy” everything: attitude, legs, skin, armpits, you name it. So pervasive is this message that I’m surprised that no one has spontaneously combusted from sexual arousal at the sight of a women’s magazine devotee.

Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East

At first I hesitated to write this review. I am a non-Muslim, Western woman writing a review of a book written by a (presumably) non-Muslim, Western woman about Muslim women in the Middle East. As I read the book, however, I became much more comfortable with the idea. Isobel Coleman’s book, Paradise Beneath Her Feet, is the result of nearly ten years of research and personal interviews with women from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith

In her new book, entitled Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith, Emma Tarlo captures the diversity in the way that Islam is practiced against the backdrop of multicultural Britain.

Transforming Faith: The Story of Al-Huda and Islamic Revivalism Among Urban Pakistani Women

In Transforming Faith, Sadaf Ahmad explores the role of Al-Huda, a women’s Islamic religious school, in promoting the spread of a particular kind of Islam, especially among educated middle- and upper-class women in Islamabad, Pakistan. Ahmad sets the scene by situating her topic in an historical and global context. She provides a broad overview of the various branches of Islam, and she tells the history of Pakistan’s self-conception as an Islamic state.

Veiled Voices

When people think of Muslim leaders they rarely envision women; however, many women are have made their mark as religious leaders in Islam. Veiled Voices presents the lives of three such women, allowing them to tell their own stories filled with struggle, triumph, and irony. The film centers on Ghina Hammoud from Lebanon, Huda Al-Habash from Syria, and Dr. Su’ad Saleh from Egypt.

Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression

Ida Lichter’s Muslim Women Reformers ambitiously highlights the work of Muslim women around the globe involving an array of interrelated issues, including lack of gender equity in education and the workplace, domestic violence, human trafficking, biased family law practices, and rape with impunity.

The Madwoman of Bethlehem

Before I started to read The Madwoman of Bethlehem, a story about a woman’s struggle against her patriarchal culture, I wondered whether it would be depressing. It wasn’t.

Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women

_We are not [wo] men for whom it is a question of either-or. For us, the problem is not to make a utopian and sterile attempt to repeat the past, but go beyond it.

Inside The Koran

Inside the Koran is an excellent insight into Islam through the interpretations of a vast category of people from ayatollahs, clerics, and scholars to farmers, activists, housewives, and modern Muslim women.

The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East

The brash leather-clad sex columnist who hosts her own television show, The Biography of Love, is: a) a Parisian whose show airs in France b) an American whose show airs in the U.S. c) a Kuwaiti whose show is broadcast throughout the Middle East The surprising answer is C.

New York Times 'Half The Sky' Issue

In July, I wrote a post about Nicholas D. Kristof's announcing a "special issue" of the New York Times Sunday Magazine that would cover women in the developing world. Well, that issue is now available online, and will be arriving to the doorsteps of NYT subscribers in a few days.

The Mosque in Morgantown

Reading the official synopsis of The Mosque in Morgantown, I quickly got the impression that it was a documentary film that revolved around the battle between journalist-activist Asra Nomani and “the extremists” in her hometown Morgantown, West Virginia.

Dunya and Desie

Dunya and Desie is a 2006 Dutch film with English subtitles from director Dana Nachushtan. In the same vein as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Dunya and Desie is the fun story of two best friends from opposite upbringings and how they find what they are looking for in life.

Pray The Devil Back To Hell

Imagine all the worst atrocities that can be committed against women. Think of all of the greatest evils that stain a country with corruption and greed. Then, in the direst of situations, imagine how a group of women could change the face of blood and hopelessness. This is the story of Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Not the devil with a pitchfork, the devil referenced in this film is the evil that we all fear—women and men alike.

American Muslim Women: Negotiating Race, Class, and Gender Within the Ummah

Jamillah Karim takes an extremely complex and contentious set of topics—race, class, gender and faith—and skillfully examines them within the framework of the ummah, or the Muslim community.

Displaced Allegories: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema

Professor Negar Mottahedeh's critical study of post-revolutionary Iranian film industry, Displaced Allegories, is an intelligent, stimulating, and well-written analysis of "a woman's cinema" after 1979. The cinematic industry has been widely criticized by Iranian feminists for its problematic and stereotypical representation of women.

Ten Things I Hate About Me

I was excited when the book Does My Head Look Big in This? came out a few years ago. In that book, author Randa Abdel-Fattah tells the story of Amal, a young Australian Muslim woman who decides to wear hijab and navigates the challenges of expressing her identity as an Australian Muslim.

Love in a Headscarf: Muslim Woman Seeks the One

Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first heard the title, my immediate reaction was to roll my eyes. “Not again!” I thought.

The Jewel of Medina

There was a lot of manufactured controversy over The Jewel of Medina. As a practicing Muslim, I fully expected to hate it based on the very idea that it is a fictionalized account of a revered woman: A’isha, wife of our Beloved Prophet. The media made a bit of noise about how it took a particular event in A’isha’s life and twisted it into a “sexier” story. Like most Muslims, I expected it to offend me. I admit I went into reading this novel with a bias.

Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror

An outstanding, courageous, and straight-from-the-heart book by a very remarkable woman, _Now They Call Me Infidel _gives an inside view of the sociopolitical and religious facets of Middle Eastern countries. Nonie Darwish is the daughter of Colonel Mustafa Hafaz, a high ranking Egyptian intelligence officer who was killed and hailed as a "Shahid," the highest honor bestowed on a Muslim that can be achieved by being killed during Jihad against the enemies of Islam.