Okay okay, so I missed the #midweekinpso this week! But I was on a mini break over in Andalusia having literally, one of the best holidays ever! While its nice to be back (especially when the weather’s nice and warm here in London for a change), I can’t help but feel anxious that I won’t be able to travel again for at least another year, because of my Masters :( Oh well..time for photos!
1. I finally got to see the Alhambra! Its honestly more than what I imagined it would be. Every corner of the fortress palaces are exquisitely decorated with stunning Islamic geometry tile work and huge elaborately guilded walls.
2. Cordoba is such a gorgeous place in Andalusia! Obviously theres the beautiful Mosque-Cathedral, but getting a little guided tour on the Islamic history of the city revealed all the hidden gems. We bumped into a few statues of prominent Islamic philosophers and inventors, a preserved Andalusian home and a few other relics we would’ve otherwise missed.
(the preserved Mihrab in the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral)
(Remnants of Arabic verses in the arches)
(Statue of Ibn Rushd, a great Islamic philosopher, mathematician, scientist, the list goes on…)
3. So theres a small area in Granada called the Albayzin where we went to pray Jummah (the Friday prayer), and right next to it we stumbled across a centre of Islamic Studies. Well, of course I had to go inside and check out the library! It was home to scores and scores of Arabic books, works on Islamic history, Sufism, volumes of Tafsir. It was amazing!
I’ll be sharing more photos over on our Facebook page and my Instagram, so keep an eye out :)
- A x
Have you guys visited Andalusia?
AFGHANISTAN’S TEEN GIRLS TURN THE CAMERA ON KABUL
This eye-opening and important film recently caught my attention and is definitely worth watching.
These are the recent and personal, real-life video diaries of three young women living in Kabul, filming their lives, encounters, places, views and ideas.
They’re fierce and inspiring in a place that is fragile and full of tension. One moment I felt threatened just watching it as when one of the girls asked a young man in the street what he would do to his sister if she was out in the park he said that he would ‘behead her’…
Every step they take, move they make and word they say are policed by men and women who accuse them.
What a place to live…
DANCING IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY - SHEEMA KERMANI
I get profoundly moved and inspired when I hear about dancers like Sheema Kermani dancing in places where they’re at risk of being persecuted and even killed for their art form.
This insightful article by Sunil Kothari recently opened my eyes to the situation of dance in Pakistan. Fearless artists like Sheema ji are truly courageous and show us the meaning of art as activism.
"I agree that if there is someone from Taliban in the audience, he or she may plant a bomb and blow us up. But we are prepared for such risks"
RANG RANGIA - MAATIBANI FT. KOMAL RIZVI
I’ve followed ‘Maatibani’ for a long time now and absolutely love their video and music production!
Here’s a brand new duet with Nirali Karthik and Komal Rizvi on vocals and a whole host of musicians from different regions coming together on a funky, original track with a beautiful meaning :)
Check out their YouTube channel for more fantastic music and videos <3
REHMAT RAYATT PHOTOGRAPHY - PROJECT CALL-OUT
Back in July we had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with incredible photographer and videographer, Rehmat Rayatt. She’s on the look-out for creative South Asian women aka. BROWN GIRLS to feature in a new project platforming personal stories.
The work will be uploaded when a number of stories have been collected but we were thrilled to be featured :) we had such an awesome time shooting down by the canal in Bethnal Green!
Check out her work on her website and Facebook and drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in being featured!
AMBREEN SADIQ - ONE OF BRITAIN’S FIRST FEMALE MUSLIM BOXERS
I loved this recent article on boxer, Ambreen Sadiq. Not only has she fought and won numerous fights in the ring but she’s fought through the prejudice that some of her family members have about her profession.
After appearing in the local newspapers and a Channel 4 documentary about her journey, Ambreen faced criticism and even death threats from men and women in the Muslim community. But she says that it isn’t the religion that causes the problem…
““A lot of Muslim people say it’s about religion,” she says. “But I think it’s more about the culture and how people have been brought up. Men and women are treated equally [in the religion]. In the culture, it’s like the women should be at home cooking tea. The men put the food on the table.”
Now Ambreen’s story has been transformed into a play that is featuring at Edinburgh Festival - ‘No Guts, No Heart, No Glory’ check out the trailer here:
“It’s great that I can get my story out there,” says Sadiq. She wants to spread the message that Muslim girls can do whatever they want – whether dance, ballet, boxing, or football. “I think girls should be doing anything they want to be doing,” she insists.
SUFI COMICS - CUTE AND CREATIVE PEARLS OF WISDOM
Both Aaminah and I are totally in love with Sufi Comics! They have so many cute and colourful comics about devotion and love for the universe in all its manifestations. <3
Check out some of our favourites in the photo set above and there’s evena range of beautiful books available on their website too!
RUZWANA BASHIR - ‘THEY’RE NOT VICTIMS, THEY’RE SURVIVORS’
We recently received a heartfelt message about the reports about Pakistani men sexual abusing and grooming 1400 girls in Rotherham and believe it’s extremely important to raise awareness of this issue.
Ruzwana Bashir, CEO of Peek.com in San Fransisco, was actually born in humble old Skipton, a Yorkshire town in the North of England. She recently came forward with a statement that she was sexually abused as a young girl and worked to bring the abuser to justice.
Here is another excellent piece about the issue of abuse within Muslim communities here in Britain but actually the majority of the girls in the Rotherham case were white.
One pattern emerges though, the perpetrators are mainly of Pakistani descent and many Asian girls feel ashamed to bring their cases forward. Now this isn’t a call to stereotype Pakistani men in anyway but we have to look at the deeply entrenched patriarchal structure that says women should be ashamed if they are abused and that perhaps men feel that it’s valid to treat women this way.
I’m sure there are support networks out there for women to come forward and talk to and it would be great to know more about these organisations to spread the word about where girls and boys can go for anonymous support. It would be great to see prolific people like Ruzwana take more action and perhaps set up an organisation to take the issue forward and make a change about how abuse is dealt with in the community.
We pray that the survivors have the strength to overcome their abuse and that the abusers come to justice.
Your blog is like looking inside my own mind, I love that there are other girls taking an interest in our rich culture. I felt like I was the only one, watching Jodha Akbar and dreaming of kundan pieces in the english rain. Btw you guys are gorgeous!
Ahh wow <3 thank you :)
No, no, don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one…
I was so excited when I found Sakina Design, a home decor website with a beautiful range of products inspired by Islamic art. I spent at least an hour perusing through their stock, from unique tableware to thought-provoking wall art, mentally designing my future home :)
Art has had such a fundamental role in the growth and expression of Islam, and Sakina Design elaborately capture the beauty of Islamic art, and the practicality of having inspired pieces in your home.
Guided by ihsan, the Islamic concept of perfection and excellence, we select only materials of the highest quality, promote eco-friendly materials and practices, and give back to the community through donations and volunteering.
My favourite has got to be this Alhambra rug:
What a gorgeous piece for the living room.
Check out the website and follow Sakina Design on Facebook to learn a little more about Jontie & Pik (the founders) and their journey!
- A x
Finally a week at home! Busy, busy, busy but definitely blessed so must stay grateful :)
Here are some things that have really rocked my boat this week, oh yeah!
1. Can I just say that I’m in love with what Homegrown is doing? It’s a fantastic website that features so much awesome, artistic content. Recently they’ve started a series of collaborative photography projects with brands, photographers and bloggers and the results have been outstanding. I love this feature with Arjun Kamath and Ritu Arya in Bangalore:
2. Next it’s the SINGH Project who have recently caught the attention of mainstream media with their powerful portrait series of different Singhs in the UK. I loved this BBC interview with Amit and Naroop, the creators behind the project - they seem so down to earth and passionate about what they do!
3. On the Sikh theme, I finally managed to sit down and start reading 'Her Name is Kaur'. It’s so powerful. The concept, the stories, the themes, the way it’s written by all of the women have so far been so moving! It’s like reading a story of myself too in a way. It’s so relatable and so awesome to see that there are women out there fighting the good fight and thinking in ways similar yet different to me too. I love it! Watch out for a full review when I finish it! :)
Hope you’re all having a wonderful first week of September!