Love in a Headscarf. A book by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

This book got a warm recommendation by one of the biggest Danish news papers.

Shelina Zahra Janmohamed blogs at spirit21, and she is the winner of brass crescent awards for best blog and best female blog.She writes:

I took the book to a number of publishers whose commissioning editors loved the story, but couldn’t see it fitting with the existing mould of books about Muslim women. “We need an ‘alias’ of a book that is already out there so people understand how it relates to previous books,” they explained, meaning it should be either a forced marriage story or one of escape from Islam.

With such black and white views about the stories that Muslim women are permitted to tell, how can it ever be possible to create an understanding of our diversity and complexity?

I hope my book brings a fresh perspective to the discussion about Muslim women. But there is a serious question to be asked – will it provoke the Muslim community to look into itself and wonder why these lazy stereotypes exist? Sometimes as Muslims we lack an intellectual honesty about ourselves, and are not brave enough to tell our stories as human beings on a journey, with all our flaws. If publishers are guilty of monolithic misery memoirs, then Muslims must also take some of the blame for not sharing our universal experiences in a language and context that everyone can relate to.

To find out more, click here.

U.S. Academic Boycott Call

USACBI Mission Statement (excerpts)

Responding to the call of Palestinian civil society to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel, we are a US campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). – see

PACBI and the entire movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (representing the overwhelming majority among Palestinian civil society parties, unions, networks and organizations) emphasize fundamental Palestinian rights, sanctioned by international law and universal human rights principles that ought to be respected by Israel to end the boycott. We struggle to achieve an end to Israel’s three-tiered injustice and oppression: 1) occupation and colonization in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory; 2) denial of the refugees’ rights, paramount among which is their right to return to their homes of origin, as per UN General Assembly Resolution 194; and 3) the system of racial discrimination, or apartheid, to which Palestinian (all non-Jewish) citizens of Israel are subjected to.

The principles guiding the PACBI campaign and the three goals outlined above are also points of unity for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USCACBI). We believe it is time to take a public, principled stance in support of equality, self-determination, human rights (including the right to education), and true democracy, especially in light of the censorship and silencing of the Palestine question in US universities, as well as in US society at large. There can be no academic freedom in Israel/Palestine unless all academics are free and all students are free to pursue their academic desires.

We are also responding to the Open Letter to International Academic Institutions from the Right to Education campaign at Birzeit University in Palestine (January 17, 2009), calling on the international academic community, unions and students “to show support and solidarity with the people of Gaza by calling upon their respective governments to impose immediate boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel.” – see

As academics working in the US, we wish to focus on campaigns in our universities and in institutions of higher education to advocate for compliance with the academic and cultural boycott, a movement that is growing internationally across all segments of global civil society.

This call for an academic and cultural boycott parallels the call in the non-academic world for divestment, boycott and sanctions by trade unions, churches, and other civil society organizations in countries such as the US, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the UK, Brazil, South Africa, and New Zealand.

As educators and scholars of conscience in the United States, we fully support this call. We urge our colleagues, nationally, regionally, and internationally, to stand up against Israel’s ongoing scholasticide and to support the non-violent call for academic boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions.[...]

Endorsers (so far)

1. Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University
2. Mohammed Abed, California State University, Los Angeles
3. Wahiba Abu-Ras, Adelphi University
4. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Montclair State University
5. Lisa Albrecht, University of Minnesota
6. Hamid Algar, University of California, Berkeley
7. Naser Alsharif, Creighton University
8. Evelyn Alsultany, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
9. Floyd Anderson, State University of New York, Brockport
10. Ian Barnard, California State University, Northridge
11. Anis Bawarshi, University of Washington
12. Lincoln Bergman, University of California, Berkeley
13. Tithi Bhattacharya, Purdue University
14. Bruce Braun, University of Minnesota
15. Timothy Brennan, University of Minnesota
16. Steve Breyman, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
17. Robert Brooks, Cornell University
18. Anna Brown, Saint Peter’s College
19. Bill Buttrey, University of Southern California
20. Steve Cameron, North Iowa Area Community College
21. Scott Campbell, New York University
22. Rand Carter, Hamilton College
23. Piya Chatterjee, University of California, Riverside
24. Dennis Childs, University of California, San Diego
25. Bouthaina Shbib Dabaja, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
26. Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
27. Lawrence Davidson, West Chester University
28. Nicholas De Genova, Columbia Univ
29. Lara Deeb, University of California Irvine
30. Alireza Doostdar, Harvard University
31. Eleanor Doumato, Brown University
32. Ronald Edwards, DePaul University
33. Nada Elia, Antioch University, Seattle
34. Nava EtShalom, poet, University of Michigan
35. James Faris, University of Connecticut
36. Grant Farred, Cornell University
37. Sasan Fayazmanesh, California State University, Fresno
38. James Fetzer, University of Minnesota, Duluth
39. Manzar Foorohar, California Polytechnic State University
40. Paul Foote, California State University, Fullerton
41. Robert Frager, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
42. Cynthia Franklin, University of Hawaii
43. Keya Ganguly, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
44. Jess Ghannam, University of California, San Francisco
45. Bishnupriya Ghosh, University of California, Santa Barbara
46. Him Glover, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
47. Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University Long Beach
48. Avery Gordon, University of California, Santa Barbara
49. Marilyn Hacker, City University of New York
50. Christian Haesemeyer, University of California, Los Angeles
51. Elaine Hagopian, Simmons College
52. Sondra Hale, University of California, Los Angeles
53. Leila Hamdan, George Mason University
54. John Hartung, State University of New York, Brooklyn
55. Salah Hassan, Michigan State University
56. Frances Hasso, Oberlin College
57. Nicholas Heer, University of Washington, Seattle
58. Lyn Hejinian, University of California, Berkeley
59. Annie Higgins, Wayne State University
60. Chris Highley, Ohio State University
61. Jim Holstun, State University of New York, Buffalo
62. Sally Howell, University of Michigan, Dearborn
60. Mahmood Ibrahim, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
63. Ibrahim Imam, University of Louisville
64. Pranav Jani, Ohio State University
65. Amira Jarmakani, Georgia State University
66. Kenneth Johnson, Pennsylvania State University, Abington
67. Brian Johnston, Carnegie Mellon University
68. Pierre Joris, State University of New York, Albany
69. Mohja Kahf, University of Arkansas
70. Rhoda Kanaaneh, New York University
71. Tomis Kapitan, Northern Illinois University
72. Susan Katz, University of San Francisco
73. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
74. Assaf Kfoury, Boston University
75. Issam Khalidi, Independent Scholar
76. Kathleen Kinawy, University of Southern Maine
77. David Klein, California State University, Northridge
78. Yael Korin, University of California, Los Angeles
79. Dennis Kortheuer, California State University, Long Beach
80. Felix Salvador Kury, San Francisco State University
81. Mark Lance, Georgetown University
82. Werner Lange, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
83. Amanda Lashaw, University of California, Davis
84. David Lloyd, University of Southern California
85. Georgette Loup, University of New Orleans
86. Paul Lyons, University of Hawaii
87. Graham MacPhee, West Chester University
88. Shireen Mahdavi, University of Utah
89. Sunaina Maira, University of California, Davis
90. Harriet Malinowitz, Long Island University
91. Ahmad Malkawi, University of Kentucky
92. Khaled Mattawa, University of Michigan
93. Todd May, Clemson University
94. Ali Mazrui, State University of New York, Binghamton
95. Bryan McCann, University of Texas, Austin
96. Daniel McGowan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
97. Jad Melki, University of Maryland
98. Martin Melkonian, Hofstra University
99. Mark Mendoza, Miami University, Ohio
100. Targol Mesbah, California Institute of Integral Studies
101. Ali Mili, New Jersey Institute of Technology
102. Jessica Morris, University of Louisville
103. Fouad Moughrabi, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
103. Aamir Mufti, University of California, Los Angeles
104. Bill Mullen, Purdue University
105. Donna Murdock, University of the South
106. Mara Naaman, Williams College
107. Marcy Newman, An Najah National University, Palestine
108. David O’Connell, Georgia State University
109. Judy Olson, California State University, Los Angeles, CFA-LA
110. Sirena Pellarolo, California State University, Northridge
111. David Naguib Pellow, University of Minnesota
112. James Petras, Binghamton University
113. Kavita Philip, University of California, Irvine
114. Julio Pino, Kent State University
115. Edie Pistolesi, California State University, Northridge
116. Deborah Poole, The Johns Hopkins University
117. Gautam Premnath, University of California, Berkeley
118. Jessica Quindel, Berkeley High School
118. Peter Rachleff, Macalester College
119. Aneil Rallin, Soka University of America
120. Junaid Rana, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
121. Adolph Reed, University of Pennsylvania
122. Steve Roddy, University of San Francisco
123. Ilia Rodriguez, University of New Mexico
124. Sonia Rosen, University of Pennsylvania
125. Suzanne Ross, United Federation of Teachers, Clinical Psychology
126. Marty Roth, University of Minnesota
127. Lori Rudolph, New Mexico Highlands University
128. Steven Salaita, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
129. Rakhshanda Saleem, Harvard Medical School
130. Basel Saleh, Radford University
131. George Salem, University of Southern California
132. Rosaura Sanchez, University of California, San Diego
133. Eleuterio Santiago-Diaz, University of New Mexico
134. Bhaskar Sarkar, University of California, Santa Barbara
135. Aseel Sawalha, Pace University
136. Simona Sawhney, University of Minnesota
137. Seleem Sayyar, Emory University
138. Robert Schaible, University of Southern Maine
139. James Scully, University of Connecticut
140. Evalyn Segal, San Diego State University
141. Anton Shammas, University of Michigan
142. Matthew Shenoda, Goddard College
143. Setsu Shigematsu, University of California, Riverside
144.Magid Shihade, University of California Davis
145. Snehal Shingavi, University of Mary Washington
146. Ella Shohat, New York University
147. Yumna Siddiqi, Middlebury College
148. Andor Skotnes, Sage College
149. Scott Sorrell, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
150. Ted Stolze, Cerritos College
151. Patricia Stuhr, Ohio State University
152. Kenneth Surin, Duke University
153. Simone Swan, The Adobe Alliance
154. Juan Carlos Vallejo, State University of New York
155. Stefano Varese, University of California, Davis
156. Dorothy Wang, Williams College
157. Richard Wark, University of Maryland
158. Brad Werner, University of California, San Diego
159. Jessica Winegar, Temple University
160. Mansour Zand, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Are you a Morale-Booster or a Morale-Buster?

Sister Faatimah on using our tongue wisely-

Muslims in every corner of the globe are faced with trying times. The recent onslaught upon the civilian population in Ghazza is having ripple effects in our communities here at home, in ways that are both unexpected and outdated. Some Muslims have been heard to say, “Why should we be worrying so much about what goes on in Sudan, Kashmir, and Palestine, Thailand, Philippines, and Afghanistan when there are so many Muslims suffering here?” Some of us feel that being too strongly critical of Israel’s action, which even the United Nations objects to, may make us appear anti-Semitic and worse. Our fears, I am sure we all can realize, pale besides the fear of those dying and being maimed today, and crossing a myriad of checkpoints just to get to the hospital. While we are at pains to convince the non-Muslim world of the compassion embodied in Islam, we fail to extend this compassion to our very own Muslim brethren. When we fail at compassion for our own, why would any non-Muslim believe that we really and truly feel compassion for those beyond the reach of the so-called magnificent Ummah?

To be sure, there are Muslims facing dire straits in the United States. We, in the wake of September 11, are faced with routine “random” searches at airports. Quite a few of us have been pulled off airplanes because maybe we carried a prayer rug that was rolled up the wrong way. We may have family back in our home countries who are faced with leaders who are leading nothing but chaos into villages and cities alike. And so, we may feel that because we can bear the suffering that has been placed upon our shoulders, so should our brothers and sisters in lands unknown. We fail to realize that while we expect an outpouring of pure, unadulterated support for the trials we face, we likewise owe the same level of support to the rest of our Ummah, and indeed to all human beings in suffering, regardless of the person’s faith.

Reporter Embedded With the Taliban

Brother Naeem, back from his Ramadan hiatus-

My problem with the jihad being waged by the Taliban is illustrated in this passage of the article:

“Ibrahim’s recent injury, it turns out, was the result of a clash between his forces and a group of foreign fighters under the command of Dr. Khalil. The foreigners wanted to close down a girls’ school, sparking a battle. Two Arabs and 11 Pakistanis commanded by Dr. Khalil had been killed by Ibrahim’s men.”

These fighters may spend most of their time praying in the masjid (as mentioned in the article), but they have no problem turning around and killing each other over differences in religious interpretation.

How very typical of this Ummah.

From Reporter Embedded with Taliban.

NOW is the Time to Learn Arabic!

A student of knowledge over at Tayyibaat has a post on motivating ourselves to learn the language of the Qur’an (and Sunnah and a lot of scholarship!), and a cherry-picked set of resources to realize that motivation.

We all strive to become a companion of the Qur’an, but who are its true companions? The companions of the Qur’an are those who studied it, memorized it, implemented it and lived by it. It is not possible, in the least bit, for one to become a companion of the Qur’an and not know Arabic. Learning the language is the starting point of a life long journey with the Qur’an.

Many of us want to take the proper steps to learn Arabic, but do not know where to start. What is the solution? Where do we begin? The best option is to study overseas, however many of us do not have that option to learn Arabic, so inshaAllah we’ll cover in this article some easy steps one can take to begin the process of learning Qur’anic Arabic if they cannot travel to do so.

Everyone has different opinions on where to begin the journey of learning the language, so I will only mention what has helped myself and others I know and inshaAllah the discussion can continue in the comments. Learning Arabic has two main steps. Firstly, learning grammar and secondly, learning vocabulary. A student can either begin with grammar first, and then move on to vocabulary or study both at the same time.

Followed by a number of resources that cater to different learning styles.

Read the whole post here. For those serious about learning Arabic, this is a gem to be bookmarked.

Iran’s Brain Drain

Shahrzaad discusses the stellar quality of undergraduate Iranian engineering schools and laments the resultant brain drain to the West and Gulf:

Yes, SUT (Sharif University of Technology) is good, however It does not mean it has good services or good chances for the future or ready jobs for graduated students.

SUT is good, bcs it has good students. Those genius and brainy students who really endure difficulties and try their best in whole their life, bcs of their love for learning and for the love of their country, Iran. At last, there is a day that they realise, their homeland does not really need their brain..


One Muslim woman reflects on her personal Jihad to seek education and earn in accordancewithherrights, as defined in theShariah.

The problem of a Muslim woman like me who aspires to pursue her education and career is like a two edged sword. One is her family which is resistant to come out of the so called man-made tradition and the other is the outer world which has negative opinions about Islam.