French burqa and niqab ban: Are Muslim women being scapegoated?

I could talk and talk about what I feel is a shocking abuse of human rights and a massive error on behalf of the French Government. However, I have had many discussions with people who strongly disagree with me.  So, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on this forum…

Click here for a fascinating read about a woman’s first hand experiences of living in France as a niqab wearer. She explains why she will continue to wear a veil despite the new ban. The Guardian’s Comment is Free: Belief also includes some interesting debates about the ban.

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What does it feel like to wear the niqab or burqa? Do people react differently to you?

Below is an extract of a feature about when I wore the niqab for the day. I’sha, a Muslim revert, who works at the East London Mosque, taught me how to wear it. I’d like to hear from anyone who has an opinion on the niqab, burqa or hijab. How you feel or imagine it would feel wearing it? Do you agree with my reactions?…. Continue reading

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Are men responsible for the misinterpretation of sacred texts? Why aren’t there more female religious leaders?

A recent article in The Times by Religious Correspondent, Ruth Gledhill said: “Ancient Bible scholars ‘framed’ Eve as the architect of ‘Original Sin’. Far from being responsible for the ‘Fall of Man’, she was actually the wife of God himself.” Continue reading

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A life dedicated to prayer: Why is this so hard to fathom?

A few weeks ago I interviewed a novice nun at the enclosed Tyburn Convent on Oxford Street for The Times Online (see below). She has vowed to a life dedicated to prayer and says she wants to be “completely separated from the world.”

One of the comments on the piece said “How very,very sad” and another, “You should get out more”. Is this fair? What are your thoughts? Why is it so difficult to make sense of a woman who, in the modern world, chooses to seclude herself and dedicate her life to God? Continue reading

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Why are so many British women converting to Islam?

The number of Muslim converts in Britain has doubled in 10 years and nearly two thirds are women. There are over 100,000 converts in Britain today, according to a Faith Matters study by Kevin Brice, of Swansea University. The study also found 5,200 people converted to Islam in the UK last year.

Below is an article I wrote for The Times on this issue. I’d love to hear your thoughts as there has been a lot in the press on conversions to Islam recently… Why has Islam become popular in recent years? Are people converting to other faiths too – is this under reported? Why do more women convert than men?

I’sha, once a punk, says she scandalised her family more by becoming a Muslim


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According to a new poll, Muslims get a lot more prejudice than any other minority group. Why is this?

Just over half of the 5,054 respondents in the ‘Fear and Hope’ survey by Searchlight Educational Trust (SET), released last month, said they believe that Muslims ‘create problems in the UK’. Comparatively, only six per cent said the same for Jews.

The survey concluded that “there is a widespread fear of the ‘Other’, particularly Muslims… this can lead to feelings of animosity and potential violence”.

Why is this and what can be done about it?

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