drzaiustheape asked:

In your picture talking about how in the 100 thousands more women are abused or some shit along the lines of that. I think you need to compare those 'statistics' to countries like Saudi Arabia and China where women are really disadvantaged. Fuck you

sorayachemaly answered:

Newsflash: Women Are Not In A Competition For Human Rights

Here’s an idea: If you hear about a horrific injustice perpetrated against girls and women, try not to use that story as a weapon to silence other women who are fighting their own battles against violence and discrimination. 

When a South Korean ferry capsizes and hundreds die do you see media pundits tweeting that the victims of boat crashes in the U.S. should stop talking and take a hard look at what a really terrible disaster looks like? When prisoners in Egypt die, do they say to those raped or shackled while giving birth in U.S. jails, “See, those prisoners over there have it really bad”? When members of the LGTBQ community in Russia are brutally assaulted, do you hear people say to those here, “Now those people, they have something to complain about”?

But, women? Well, like you, everyone’s an expert on exactly what level of misogyny and violence is acceptable. You sound like media pundit Tom Bevan who recently tweeted: “Real war on women: Pregnant Pakistani woman stoned to death by own family for marrying the man she loved.” Within hours of Bevan’s tweet, journalist David Frum shared the sad and enraging news about two Dalit girls, gang-raped, who hanged themselves from a tree: “The next time somebody talks about ‘misogyny in American society,’ forward them this.”

What are you, six?

This is a “stock” formulation, a knee-jerk response for many people, especially conservatives.  There are people suffering far more violence and social ills elsewhere, always, and we should think about that. But, it’s immediately insulting because it implies that those protesting violence and talking about sexism in the United States (and the rest of the developed world) are too stupid to understand that there is a spectrum of violence.

Here are some FACTS about rape ‘here.”

Here are some FACTS about domestic violence “here.”

Your statement ignores the glaring fact that the spectrum we live with, globally, is one where women aresubject to gender-based violence. There is nowhere that this is not true. Everywhere, we face the political, legislative, and legal regulation of our bodies and reproduction in ways men don’t and we live, daily, with the real and abiding costs of avoiding or living with violence perpetrated almost exclusively by men. Many men apparently still doubt this, even after millions of women tell them that it’s true.

Last week this commentary was more visible because in the days since Elliot Rodger’s killing spree the trending of #YesAllWomen catalyzed unprecedented media conversations about gender and misogyny. Quick as a flash the Misogynistic Theory of Women’s Relative Rights made its rote appearance: Women “here” are so much “better off” than women “over there.” Pick your “here,” “better,” and “over there.”

Women are not in a competition for female human rights.

The implication is that we, “here,” are supposed to be comforted that two girls were raped and hanged themselves in India. Do more men in India, per capita, throw acid on women than men in the United States douse them in gas and light them on fire? Every woman on a South African women’s soccer team has been raped, isn’t it better that on our national team chances are only two or three? I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is a “reasonable” and “balanced” thing to suggest. What is the point of this equation other than to put on display the sexist notion that women’s safety and rights are relative and contingent on other women’s lack of safety and rights? What is it about the notion of non-negotiable rights, human rights, for women, that is so hard to understand?

In case it’s not clear, this is what that way of phrasing says to the people who work to end this violence:

  • Women’s rights are a zero sum game played by women only, apparently outside of the scope of human rights.
  • Your concerns, “here,” are trivial.
  • We treat “our” women better than “they” treat “their” women. You are “lucky.” We could be doing this to you here.
  • There is a just-right goldilocks temperature for global gender-based violence and the cultural subordination of women. Really. I’ll decide what it is.
  • I am hugely privileged and have no real idea what I am talking about, but feel I have the authority to speak.
  • Stop talking. Stop talking. Stop talking. (Actually, “Stop whining” is more the suggestion of the “I’ll show them what’s really bad.”)

Comparing women’s security and freedom in this way does nothing useful or helpful at all. Instead, it demonstrates an inability to consider privilege and power when it comes to matters involving women.

Have a nice day.

Pretty Dresses and the Evil Eye: Reem Abdel Razek’s Eid Story

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It was Eid morning and through Facebook I was able to look at pictures of all the stunning Eid caftans my friends posted. I opened my closet and tried on my caftan and a couple of dresses that I had bought this year. It was quite lovely seeing my clothes neatly folded, taking up considerable space in a closet that was always empty when I was a child. Not in a million years did I imagine owning so many clothes, many of which look new. Growing up, I was used to hand­me downs from the older boys in the family. I dreaded wearing them because many of those same boys bullied me, and it stinks to get beaten up in your bully’s castoff shirts.

It wasn’t like my parents never bought me new clothes; they bought me one new outfit once a year before Eid al­Fitr. Mother, being profoundly superstitious, lived in fear of the evil eye; a sinister look usually caused by envy that has the power to cause great misfortune. It was a superstition shared by many, and everyone dealt with it differently. Mother preferred that I wore hideous clothes so that no one would ever have any reason to envy me and thus I would always be protected.

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She always bought me my Eid al­Fitr outfit from the back of carts and not stores. Those outfits always bled into my skin and for days after Eid my skin would be blue or red or purple or whichever the colour of the outfit was. Father, didn’t share Mother’s fear of the evil eye. He believed that people must always look presentable when meeting family members and that having his daughter runaround in clothes that bled colour everywhere reflected poorly on him in front of elders in the family. On my sixth Eid al­Fitr, I asked my parents for a new outfit that came from a store and not a cart. Father agreed while Mother remained against it.

We went to a clothing store, and I tried on a few different dresses. I felt girly and princessy and happy. He bought me a beautiful dress. As soon as Mother saw it she begged me not to wear it. “Something awful will happen to you if you do,” she said. But I promised her to recite prayers at the Eid party for protection. I was in love with this dress to the point where thinking about it consumed most of my day dreaming time, every chance I got I would peek into the closet to look at it, and it made me euphoric. If I could’ve, I would’ve played and slept and eaten in it, and never have taken it off. Similar to Miss Havisham in Great Expectations or my cousin Alaa, who cried with excitement when her mother bought her new slippers and wore them everywhere all the time until they got muddy and torn and fell apart.

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Eid began and ended as beautifully as I expected. I tucked my dress neatly in plastic and hung it in the closet. I was happy. School started after the holiday. There was one crucial thing that I loved about school; uniforms. In my uniform, I felt somewhat equal to the other girls and it was quite a comforting feeling. Aside from getting to wear uniforms, I disliked school. I got picked on and beaten quite a bit and was given an odious nickname “white girl” by teachers and students—who probably had no idea that my unusually fair complexion was partially due to anemia and malnourishment—The teachers were always angry and yelling. 

"What is this? Why are you spelling girl without an e?" screamed the English teacher while shoving my notebook in my face.

"There’s no e in girl," I said.

"No e in girl? I told you there was. I wrote it on the board last week. Do you think you’re the teacher?"

"No ma’am."

"So is there an e in girl?"

"There isn’t."

"That’s it! Put your hands on the board, someone get me a broomstick!"

She took the broomstick and whacked me with it four times, each time asking once more: “is there an e in girl?” Each time I gave her the exact same answer.

As soon as I got home, I coiled up in the fetal position on the couch.

“Why are you still in your school uniform?! Go change!” said Father, oblivious to my being coiled up and sad.

“I’ll do it in a minute,” I said.

“No, you’ll do it now.”

“I can’t do it now; I am too sad to move.”

“How dare you talk back!” he said, lifting me in the air. “When your father tells you to do something you say yes I will and go do it!” he yelled and threw me against the wall with all his might.

I landed on my left arm with a popping sound and sharp pains that got me screaming and crying. Mother heard the noise and ran in.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“Your spoiled brat of a daughter doesn’t listen and when she gets the punishment she deserves, won’t shut up!” said Father.

As they were arguing, I tried to move my left arm but couldn’t so I used the other arm to carry it.

"It’s not moving,  it’s dead,” I said.

“What do you mean it’s not moving?” she said with concern.

“Don’t indulge her; she is obviously making this up to gain your sympathy and avoid being punished,” said Father.

They went to argue in another room, and I fell asleep in that position. The next day, I woke up to hear both of them screaming at each other.

“I’ll take her to the hospital,” said Mother.

“You know you can’t do that,” said Father. He was afraid of what people would say. Father, who worked as a physician, built an amiable image of himself outside of our home, and something like lifting his daughter and throwing her would hurt that pleasant image of a kind, calm, and very together doctor.

“I’ll tell them she fell,” said Mother.

“What if she blabs?”

“She won’t, I promise!”

After doing Xx-rays at the hospital, they found out my arm was broken. Father was becoming more and more apprehensive. While things like this aren’t taken that seriously in Egypt, in a small city like Port Said, breaking his child’s arm could damage his medical reputation.

Mother came with me to school and talked to my teacher. “You know how weak and pale she is; so simply rolling off the bed at night just broke her arm,” she said to my Arabic teacher. At school, I wasn’t just too pale anymore; I was bruised and in a cast and even the meanest of the girls who used to bully me looked at me with sympathy. A third grader walked up to me asked what happened.

“I fell,” I said.

“You fell?”

“Yes, I fell; now leave me alone!” I said. I attempted to run away but lost my balance and fell in the mud. I expected the girls in the yard to laugh and mock me as they usually did but instead everyone was silent, and I heard an older girl say “that poor kid!” Nothing is worse than having your own bullies take pity on you, like you’ve become so tragic and feeble that even the cruelest of children can’t justify hurting you anymore.

"I’m fine, I’ll be moving my arm in no time, so you shouldn’t feel sorry for me or anything," I told the girls as I got on the bus.

I told Mother about what had happened at school and asked when I might be able to move again.

"Reem, we just don’t know yet, you might never be able to."

"Oh." I saw how sad that made her and wanted to cheer her up. "Well, Mother, if I can’t move it again, I think it’s only fair you buy me a robotic arm."

"What?"

"You know, like, in grendizer, those things are cool!"

We both laughed and then she turned serious. “I think someone saw you in Eid al­Fitr and gave you the evil eye because of that damn dress,” she said. She fetched a pair or scissors and began to cut my dress into small pieces. “It must be destroyed and rid of its evil,” she said over and over again, while I sat there with my broken arm, watching the destruction of the only source of joy I had that year.

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https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-young-egyptian-asylum-seeker-attend-school#home

Read more of Reem’s writing at http://reem-unveiled.blogspot.com/ and http://www.centreforsecularspace.org/sexual-violence-and-islamist-propaganda/

Also, please try to support her crowdfunding campaign to go to school while she seeks asylum by sharing or donating: 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-young-egyptian-asylum-seeker-attend-school#home

Your trusty admin here! Eid Mubarak to those celebrating this holiday with their families and communities, or just alone. Plenty of secular Muslims or atheists from Muslim backgrounds still like to celebrate the holidays they grew up with.

Here, have a couple of gratuitous selfies—me in my Eid regalia.

I have a queue of submissions I’m getting around to posting when work lets up a bit. Stay tuned!

Guest Ex-Hijabi: Novelist and Professor Jacinda Townsend

Check out Jacinda’s novels and stories at http://jacindatownsend.com/

I had converted to Islam a couple of years earlier because it seemed, from the outside, like a religion where people of all races were truly equalized. But once I converted, that facade crumbled: one thing I quickly learned was that people considered almost all aspects of Black culture haram. Kwanzaa was haram, as were African box braids, and Public Enemy was haram—none of these things had anything to do with religion, yet they were haram. I was wearing my hair in box braids, and then I stopped perming and took my hair completely natural. The hair on my head, I decided, couldn’t possibly be haram, and I wanted to show it to the world.

H.’s Story: An Ex-Muslim and an Ex-Hindu in Love

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Content Note: This story depicts racism and bigotry launched by H.’s family towards her Indian Hindu boyfriend.

This picture was taken on Canada Day, 2014. We were sitting by the beach, listening to live music playing in the distance, having a picnic, and enjoying being outside on this warm, scenic day. My partner looked up at me and told me I looked beautiful, and then he proceeded to take our selfie. I felt happy, at peace, in love. I thought about how wonderful it is to share one’s life with another, to revel in each other’s joy, happiness, sadness; to experience all the ebbs and flows that life has to offer.

After taking this picture, my partner put his phone away and said it was for our personal collection, just for us. At that moment it hit me; we had no one to share our joys and happiness with. This most perfect moment had to be kept to ourselves, not to be re-told or shown to anyone who matters to us, especially our families. For you see, even though it looks like we’re just a young couple in love, enjoying life, our very existence as a couple shakes the very foundations of Islam; I, a Muslim Pakistani, being with a Hindu Indian.

The first time I told my mom about Sai, her first question to me was “He’s Indian? He’s…a…Hindu?” I explained to her that, just like me, Sai was an atheist, but I couldn’t deny that he had been raised in a Hindu household. That’s all my mother needed, to shower him with hatred and disgust for each time she would encounter him. I had heard it all growing up: “Hindus are our enemies, we don’t mix with them, we don’t eat at their house; if they offer you meat, don’t eat it, who knows what God they sacrifice their meat to; Hindus are dirty and they are all going to hell; you are a kaafir if you choose to be with a Hindu, etc. etc.”

It’s different though, when you have to hear these hateful things about someone you love. I loved Sai, I wanted to be with him, he made me happy, but my mother and brother never saw it that way. They saw me as rebelling, as going through a “phase”. They tried to help me, they tried to highlight all of Sai’s shortcomings; he wasn’t a Canadian citizen, so he was using me for that and would leave me as soon as he got his citizenship. He was trying to corrupt me and take me away from my family and religious roots, that his influence would take me away from Islam. They commented on the color of his skin, and how he could never even dream of being with someone like me; fair-skinned and holding a Western passport. It hurt, every time they said something like that, it felt like a dagger to my heart.

But my mom was right about one thing; Sai did take me away from my family and from Islam. I couldn’t have done it on my own. He accepted me when no one else would; he listened to me when I was sad, when I was doing badly in school, when I was lost in life. He never said to me that if I wear shorts, he’d leave me because that’s not what good Muslim girls do. He didn’t force me to eat at only Halal restaurants, to only keep the company of women because “bad” girls hang out with men. When I didn’t eat pork or bacon when I was Muslim, he would never order it when we went out, or eat it around me, because he knew I wasn’t yet comfortable with the idea of eating it, even though he had no qualms about it. When I was with him, I was free, I was away from all the toxic hatred that my family would try to fuel in me towards him and towards anyone else who was not like us - Pakistani Sunnis from Lahore. I wanted to be free, and in that process, I had to leave behind the people who were supposed to love and accept me for who I am, who were supposed to love me “unconditionally”.

I didn’t hate him then, and I don’t hate him now. What I do hate is when our friends, mostly Indians and Pakistanis, look at us and ask “So your parents are okay with this?!” It’s a very powerful thing, the acceptance and validation most of us constantly seek from our families. We always have a hard time explaining to our friends how difficult it has been for us to be together, and that our parents are not, in fact, okay with all this. But if I had to choose between being with my family and growing in hatred and intolerance, and being with Sai on the most beautiful day at the beach, him looking up at me when his head in my lap as I caress his hair, well, the choice is simple.

I choose happiness.

Anonymous asked:

If it wasn't for the bravery and courage of this blog, and other ex-Muslim/mah outlets gaining momentum online... I really would have committed suicide from the isolation I've faced in my life. Dead serious. Seriously. You're one of the reasons why I've kept going today. Thank you. Really and truly.

I can’t tell you how this pleases me to hear. This is after all why we make these projects. I’m sure you already know this, but just in case: if you live in North America and are in need of an ex-Muslim community, consider joining the Ex-Muslims of North America, which is a safe place for people like us to share, vent, and be listened to.

Mahmoud’s Story: A Rather Average Ramadan Day

A labneh sandwich made from sneaked ingredients.

I grew up in a religious atmosphere but I brought most of the pressure from my parents onto myself because I demonstrated early on that I was a religious and obedient kid. I began praying while living in Palestine (West Bank) without orders from my mom. I did it to satisfy my desire to be a “good boy”. This dutiful worship continued even after moving to the US and it wasn’t until I began college that doubts in Islam began to spring up in mind. When I began drifting away from Islam it was noticed immediately by my mother and she became sad that her ‘perfect’ son, the source of her pride and esteem, became just like any other Arab boy.

This is my second Ramadan as an ex-Muslim and unfortunately it’s also during summer break so I can’t be munching away at school. I would say that the hardest thing is dealing with the paranoia of getting caught and trying to act normal. Every day I get awaken by my mother before dawn to eat a breakfast-style meal with the family (a traditional Levant-style spread). I then go back to sleep and wake up around 7 am, before anyone else in the family. I then sneak into the kitchen to quickly drink any coffee left over from the previous night in the coffee pot, and as there is no time to heat it up or add cream and sugar I just drink it cold and black. Last summer, including Ramadan, this used to be the time that I would carve an apple (or even a potato) to make an apparatus that I can smoke out of then go to the basement and smoke a bowl or two (blow the smoke out of a stack of dryer sheets) then eat the apple and play some video games until about noon when I would get another apple and repeat the same steps 3-4 more times (yes, the apple with ash residue is considered gross by some. But not me). This Ramadan is harder because I got caught smoking for the 2nd time last month so I’m pretty much out of chances. My mom is always suspicious of my every move. She expects that I would break my fast or smoke again (she controls the latter by drug testing me now). So it’s definitely more of a challenge to sneak in food. Thirst is something I don’t worry about too much because I usually drink water during the time I’m supposed to be making wudu’ (after my mom reminds me to pray).

One thing I like to do is go into the kitchen when there’s nobody on the first floor and sneak one ingredient at a time into my pants and then into my room. I usually do this over the course of an hour and then make a sandwich/small lunch inside my room and eat it discreetly. If I sense that the risk is too high I’ll just try to sneak in an apple or two but since eating an apple makes too much noise, I’ll go the bathroom turn on the air vent and shower and eat them there. I try to not eat too close to dusk because that would make me seem not too hungry and raise eyebrows if I eat too little at that time. After eating, my mother, siblings and I go to the mosque to pray taraweeh until 11:45 pm (my dad goes to sleep early because of work the next day). I then come home, go back to sleep and repeat the cycle.

So that’s my regular Ramadan day as a closeted ex-Muslim. I have it much better than most and have no complaints. The thrill of sneaking around to eat (and formerly, smoke) is well worth the risks. The only risk that outweighs it though is angering my mom. Even though her thinking is backwards (i.e. Islamically), I care about her feelings regardless of whether they’re based on nonsense or not. So I try to keep things rather tame and pretend to be a Muslim.

To many, it might seem pointless and petty. I’ve been an out apostate of Islam for over 8 years now; what’s the point of my ordering a plate of bacon and a cheap-vodka dirty martini for a 7:30 AM breakfast at the Atlanta airport?
My reasons have to do with my past, my present, and my future.
In the past, my eating was policed as well as self-restricted because I was not only a Muslim from a strict Muslim family, I was also fat throughout my life. In addition, certain family members of mine seemed bizarrely obsessed with what was socially acceptable as a certain sort of meal and what was not. The porcine nature of the food and the boozy nature of the drink aside, the idea of a beverage and a small pile of meat without, say, rice or bread, as a mean, would shock them.
Currently, though I am out to my family, I do have to tiptoe around their rules so as not to offend them. I don’t consume non-Zabihah meat in their presence, let alone pork or alcohol. It means forgoing what I’d rather eat at restaurants in favor of what they’d approve of my eating. It’s not the biggest tragedy in the world but it is annoying.
Turning to my future, I want to continue to gain more control over what I consume. I want to be able to have whatever food I want for whatever meals I want at my sole discretion. I also want more airport meals in my future — not because airport food is the best, mind you, but because I want to continue to travel as a speaker to conferences and events.
So, despite my out status, my Haramadan Breakfast of Champions is still a victory for me.Stay tuned for more #Haramadan posts soon!

To many, it might seem pointless and petty. I’ve been an out apostate of Islam for over 8 years now; what’s the point of my ordering a plate of bacon and a cheap-vodka dirty martini for a 7:30 AM breakfast at the Atlanta airport?

My reasons have to do with my past, my present, and my future.

In the past, my eating was policed as well as self-restricted because I was not only a Muslim from a strict Muslim family, I was also fat throughout my life. In addition, certain family members of mine seemed bizarrely obsessed with what was socially acceptable as a certain sort of meal and what was not. The porcine nature of the food and the boozy nature of the drink aside, the idea of a beverage and a small pile of meat without, say, rice or bread, as a mean, would shock them.

Currently, though I am out to my family, I do have to tiptoe around their rules so as not to offend them. I don’t consume non-Zabihah meat in their presence, let alone pork or alcohol. It means forgoing what I’d rather eat at restaurants in favor of what they’d approve of my eating. It’s not the biggest tragedy in the world but it is annoying.

Turning to my future, I want to continue to gain more control over what I consume. I want to be able to have whatever food I want for whatever meals I want at my sole discretion. I also want more airport meals in my future — not because airport food is the best, mind you, but because I want to continue to travel as a speaker to conferences and events.

So, despite my out status, my Haramadan Breakfast of Champions is still a victory for me.

Stay tuned for more #Haramadan posts soon!

101 Sins I Commit During the World Cup and Ramadan Just in One Day

This guest post is from the brilliant Kaveh Mousavi, who is closeted in Iran. You can find his work over at his Freethought Blog, On The Margin of Error. He submitted this to me a couple of weeks ago, but I have sinned in my delay in posting new submissions. This the first in the Ramadan series, with more Ramadan posts to follow, and you can find them all with the #haramadan tag. I apologize for the delays. I have been swamped. I bow in penance.

101 Sins I Commit During the World Cup and Ramadan Just in One Day

1)      I eat.

2)      I drink.

3)      I smoke weed.

4)      I masturbate.

5)      I have sex (if I can get some).

6)      I don’t cheer for the Iranian national team.

7)      I’m secretly happy that Iran’s team lost.

8)      I feel disgusted at people’s zeal over football. There’s one thing to enjoy a sport, there’s another thing to treat it as more important than any event in the world.

9)      I secretly laugh at football players praying.

10)  I secretly want to slap every doctor who comes on TV and says “fasting is good for you”.

11)  I abhor the fact that people seem to eat more not less.

12)  I secretly want to slap every person who says “if you eat in front of me it’s a violation of my rights”.

13)  I abhor walking in the streets. Everywhere you see more and more signs of religion.

14)  I abhor the fact that people who fast think they have a right to be assholes.

15)  I notice the fact that food becomes scarce in this supposed month of hunger and patience.

16)  I abhor the fact that I have to justify the fact that I’m not fasting to every fucking religious person.

17)  Speaking of fuck, I curse.

18)  I lie. I lie about who I am, and sometimes the fact that I fast. That’s a sin.

19)  I am a hypocrite.

20)  Blasphemy. Fuck loads of blasphemy.

21)  I don’t pray for people when they ask me to.

22)  I think it’s stupid that they call this month “God’s feast”.

23)  Every time that someone says “We’re proud of our national team” I’m certain I’m one step closer to becoming a serial killer.

24)  I listen to Satanic music.

25)  I use the opportunities provided by arguing over fasting to try and deconvert people.

26)  I try to convince Muslims not to fast.

27)  I don’t feel nationalistic.

28)  I don’t feel one with my people. Actually I feel more alienated.

29)  I feel angry at a god who isn’t there.

30)  I feel angry at people who are there.

31)  I hate Islam more than usual.

32)  The spiritual speeches are revolting to me.

33)  I continue being an atheist.

34)  I drink alcohol.

35)  I touch dogs.

36)  I touch atheists. Myself included.

37)  I laugh at the hyperbolic awards Allah grants those who fast. You’d get into heaven if you fast this month even if you’ve committed genocide, apparently.

38)  I don’t know what to say to Muslims who complain of stomach problems during this month.

39)  Muslims are especially sensitive about their religion this month, and I’m especially insensitive.

40)  I look at the hairs of women.

41)  I look at their flesh too. Like, forearms.

42)  I would look at their naked bodies too, if they wanted to show.

43)  I think sinful thoughts.

44)  I watch porn.

45)  I write. My writings are 101 sins in themselves.

46)  I feel suffocated with every “happy Ramadan” I receive.

47)  I have no fucking idea why Muslims are so hostile and defensive this month. I wonder if they are aware of the stupidity of their display.

48)  I think “Fuck all the western media and their entertained exotic coverage of this absurd month”.

49)  I think “Fuck my culture.”

50)  I wish Allah had forbid shitting during day as well as eating and drinking and cumming and inhaling smoke.

51)  I enjoy the candies though. They’re the good part.

52)  I don’t like Star Wars. That’s a nerd sin and not a Muslim sin, but a sin nevertheless.

53)  I read the Koran again. The only catharsis is mocking the book.

54)  I laugh aloud.

55)  Sometimes I cry.

56)  When the time for Iftar comes I feel sad and alone, excluded from all the happiness it brings along.

57)  I laugh at clergies who go to the rooftop to spot the moon. Use calendars, fuckers.

58)  Seriously, there’s an official “moon spotting agency”. I laugh at that.

59)  People help charity more during this months and I think that’s not worth shit.

60)  A liberal sin: I somehow agree with Anne Coulter. I think our attitude towards football is a sign of our moral decay.

61)  People are so desperate for happiness; they use even our loss to Argentina as an opportunity to be happy. I don’t feel happy.

62)  We are a sad nation pretending to laugh and smile. I don’t pretend.

63)  I think of all the political prisoners. Are they fasting too?

64)  An atheist sin: When people pray for political prisoners and wish them a happy Ramadan, I wish I could join them, I really wish I could.

65)  The sound of Koran doesn’t sooth me.

66)  During this month I’m a bundle of contradictions and I don’t give a fuck.

67)  I think One Direction is an underrated band.

68)  I’m not proud to be Iranian.

69)  Work days are shortened, economy is further fucked, and I really think this fucking month is not worth it.

70)  I find the way journalists treat football pathetic. Fanboys and Fangirls.

71)  I think TV shows made for Ramadan are more horrible than syphilis.

72)  The chief entertainment of me and my atheist friends is mocking this month.

73)  Restaurants and coffee shops are forced to close. I think that’s stupid.

74)  There was this clergy who was asked a question by a man. The man said I can’t fast because it distracts me from studying for my exams. The clergy offered him to travel the whole months because those traveling do not have to fast. I sinned just by listening to this crap.

75)  It’s true that celebrating Eid is as cultural as it is religious. It’s also true that I equally hate the culture.

76)  I had this friend who fasted during Eid, the only day that Muslims are not allowed to fast. I admire him although what he did is basically silly.

77)  I can’t think of one good thing about this month. (Except candies).

78)  Whenever I can I don’t pretend I’m fasting, and I enjoy it when this upsets Muslims.

79)  No other time I’m so intimately aware that I don’t belong. A Diaspora at home.

80)  I want to think of one thing I can hold to and I can think of none.

81)  Many Muslims don’t fast. Even they assume I do, and I resent that.

82)  At Eid I can’t think of something to celebrate.

83)  I want to say “fuck you” to Non-Muslims who show interest in knowing about Ramadan. That’s seriously not nice. I shouldn’t feel that way.

84)  I’m not really a nice person this month. I don’t like myself as an atheist even.

85)  I’m happy that this month will pass soon.

86)  Did you know that the days are longer at this time of year so fasting is harder? I am amused by this fact.

87)  How would Muslim astronauts fast? I wonder about that.

88)  I don’t respect their religion.

89)  There’s no way I can find it in me to respect Ramadan as a custom of a proud people.

90)  I wish I could eat pork.

91)  I acknowledge the fact that our national team sucks.

92)  Like it sucks so hard it completely deserved the result it got.

93)  World Cup and Ramadan – a combo of alienation for me.

94)  But I wonder – is alienation really so bad?

95)  I actually feel proud – at least I thought for myself.

96)  The list form is an internet sin, right?

97)  This distorted digressive list is a good representation of my mind.

98)  At heart, I’m much less charitable that I am in rational arguments.

99)  But oh – let the people mention the Green Movement, and I feel I’m one of them again.

100)  Against all odds I still hope. Isn’t hope a sin?

101)   I am sinner. A sinner is who I am. It is my identity.

I will have sinned at least 3030 times by the time this month has ended.

See you all in Hell, my human friends.

Jameela’s Story: Defying the Hijab

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As soon as I came to London from Afghanistan at the age of 9, I was forced to wear the hijab, I was brainwashed and abused - I won’t go into details. And the older I got the worse it got. 

I was constantly reminded of marriage, how I should behave and was threatened that if I disobeyed them they will cane me and they even threatened to kill me if I ever thought of running away. I was a slave, I was forced to pray too, every aspect of my life was controlled. I could not have Facebook or Twitter, but I secretly had Twitter and one day they found out I had Instagram, I was beaten, and was made to kneel and apologise for my “slutty behaviour” and was given a final warning that they will take me out of university. Getting into university was hard because I had to beg and I had to have excellent grades to be even considered, it was my only alternative to staying at home. 

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When I started university I had to give in my timetable, I was not allowed contact with the opposite sex, my biological parents used Islam to justify their actions, saying that men and women should not be in the same room otherwise they will commit zina. They even forced me psychologically and physically to hand over my student finance loan and grant for “only sluts have money” and “you have to support the family”.

As I was getting older, talks of marriage became increasingly frequent, and so my biological mother also raised the issue of a wife’s “duties”.  I asked my biological mother what if a woman says no, she replied saying “no such thing”. 

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I met someone on Twitter last year who understands me, cares for me, and loves me, and I feel the same way about him. I fell in love and there was no way going back, I did not want to get married to someone against my choice. Girls in the Afghan culture get married off early and there were many proposals from Afghanistan and Pakistan and my parents were planning to go there on “holiday” and they said they will take me with them too. 

My partner is Jewish, and my biological parents have always referred to Jews as “filthy” and used Islam to justify their hate against Jews. I wanted to escape that hell, and I did. 

I bought a ticket to France and left. The first thing I did the moment I got on the train was throw the hijab in the bin where it belongs. I hate the concept of hijab, it is a symbol of oppression, created by men to chain women and anyone who speaks out against it is “disciplined” by ways of corporal punishment and/or rapes.

Me and my partner have got numerous death threats, and I was threatened with rape too. I recently got a message saying that I will be found and killed and my primitive biological father once told me that he is willing to kill for honour and he is more than happy to go to jail since “Queen Elizabeth, Her Majesty” will look after him. He calls himself a “proud” British citizen yet supports the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, every known terrorist organization. 

Now I am free, independent and I lead my life the way I want and with whom. I dress the way I want, I eat what I want, I control my life, I would rather die fighting for my principles than live on my knees.

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The World Behind the Veil: What Listening to Women Taught This Man

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This is a guest piece by Mazen Abdallah, an ex-Muslim, comedian, and teacher. He is an American of Syrian-Lebanese origin who lives in Lebanon, and would like to talk about how the Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal has influenced his perception of the culture around him, and the drastic differences in the ways female and male bodies are perceived. 

I’ve never really asked veiled women or ex-veiled women about their experiences with the veil. There are a number of reasons for that. The first is that I come from a culture where the veil was totally normal. So asking someone about it would be really weird, it’d be like asking why someone wears shoes. The second reason was that I assumed I knew the story already. To me, there were two categories: Women who were forced to veil and women who did so by choice. I never really thought past it at all. Over time I saw the nuances more and more, but for some reason I didn’t really ask anyone for the full story. I debated the veil’s societal role, I passionately argued with people about the rights of women, but I never stopped and asked a woman ‘Hey, what is/was it like for you to wear a veil’. Even when I thought I was this progressive, cultured guy advocating the rights and critiquing a society that would curtail the freedoms of women, I didn’t make an effort to actually understand the lives of women who had worn the veil for any reason whatsoever. To me, it boiled down to ‘someone is forcing you to do something that you do not want to do’ and it became this basic matter of personal freedoms. But there was so much more that I wasn’t seeing. The fact is, many women develop a complex relationship with the veil because it represents so many different things: identity, family, spirituality, personal development. It was so much more than either doing something or not doing it.

First of all I realized that, a lot of the time, it wasn’t necessarily forced upon the children by their parents. Some women decided to wear it as part of a philosophical decision in their exploration of Islam. Some were emotionally blackmailed, pressured by their families and their communities. Some came into contact with pro-veil ideology. Others wore it to fit in. That’s one of the things I learned: The veil means different things to different people.

But one common narrative came about as a result of it. I realized how much emphasis was placed by Islamic culture on conservative dress and being presentable in a certain way.

Every kid is forced to do things by their parents. Like, put on this sweater before you go outside, do your homework, etc. At the end of the day, that’s what parents do, they put their feet down. So if you think about it that way, maybe the veil isn’t so bad. But when I started reading Ex Hijabi Fashion, I realized that parents don’t just walk in, hand the kid a scarf and tell them they’re wearing it now. They’re giving them a philosophy, an ideology. They’re telling their girls that they need to cover themselves up, to be modest, to avoid attracting attention from boys. In some cases they’ll get in the heads of these girls and make them feel shame because of their bodies. I was forced to do a great many things when I was a kid. I’m a grown-ass man and my mom still puts her foot down. But I was never made to feel conscious of my body or exposing it.

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I never really looked that much into the veil. To me, it was about covering up your parts so that men wouldn’t be tempted by you. And once the veil came off, boom, not religious anymore, not veiled anymore, problem solved, let’s move on. But the women I read about on Ex-Hijabi fashion had gone through so much more than covering up. They had been made to look at their own bodies in a shameful way. To feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in their own skin. Even some that had veiled of their own volition would start to feel this way about themselves.

We all have body issues, hell, I have a bunch of my own. But I never felt this need or desire to cover myself up and obscure a part of me. Like, I probably should. I’m overweight, and fairly conscious about my man-tits, but past that I have like no problem taking off my clothes. Even if I’m in company, I end up taking off my shirt or (if I’ve been drinking) at some point my pants and I have no problem with it. Obviously guys have a threshold for that sort of thing so I’m eventually asked to put my clothes right back on, but past that I don’t really mind having them off. And I realize, I’ve felt embarrassment about my body plenty of times, like you would with a house you haven’t properly cleaned up. But I’ve never really felt shame. I’ve never really felt that it was wrong of me to expose my body. I laughed like a madman every time I made a dick of myself in public in a way that involved nudity, and it just didn’t matter. And hell, a lot of guys I know were also like that, whipping their dicks out for comic effect or mooning each other. We never had anyone tell us we should be ashamed of our bodies.

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The veil isn’t the problem here, the problem is the culture that the veil emerges from. What surprised me in some cases was that the family wouldn’t really be particular about the veil, but they would have their own strict set of modesty rules that shamed women. You didn’t need to have a veil on to feel shame.

Ultimately my eyes were opened to the diverse range of experiences women faced with the veil. It opened my eyes to the way that being asked to cover up and be modest, demure and conservative affected them and changed their outlook. It opened my eyes to the fact that veiling sometimes had little to do with their families but had more to do with their own body image or ideology. And I think, before we start talking about the veil and what it means in society and who can wear it and ‘oh look at this fatwa’, we should maybe ask women what they think.

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Women Attacked for Their Islamic Clothing

Just submitted:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/28/women-targeted-attacks-muslims

With regards to the rise in attacks against Muslim women, an article published yesterday in the most popular British newspaper. 

"More than half of Islamophobic attacks in Britain are committed against women, who are typically targeted because they are wearing clothing associated with Islam, new data reveals”

Anti-Muslim bigotry at its finest; where people who are publicly perceived to be Muslim are subjected to attacks. This is against everything this project stands for; the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination, where nobody will attack you, denigrate you, or mistreat you for your clothing or beliefs. 

Because far too many people are controlled, policed, and restricted, including many of our contributors, I call on everybody who reads this journal and believes in its cause to condemn violations of bodily autonomy to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, hijabis and ex-hijabis alike.