The Forgotten Women of Kashmir

Guest writer Sri Varre writes about the half-widows and widows of Kashmir, the forgotten women of conflict.  Background Growing up in a South Asian household with prominent patriarchal standards, I have been asked on numerous occasions to stay silent. I have been trained to always serve elders and guests first. I have been urged to always say “yes” and ask no questions or protest with my … [Read more...]

Looking Back: Silent Genocide Against the Indigenous Women of Peru

The silent genocide against the indigenous people (mostly women) of Peru is often overlooked and forgotten. Like many political conflicts, the intersectional oppression of women (written as 'womxn' in this post) is a violation of their basic human rights. The events that have led to and resulted in the targeting of indigenous womxn should not be dismissed nor buried in the pages of history.  This … [Read more...]

Hidden Heroes of the Kashmir Valley: The Resilience of Widows and Half-Widows

The hidden heroes of the Kashmir valley are the women, the widows and half-widows, who have struggled to survive in a protracted conflict. For 70-plus years, these women have endured incredible hardship and lived with the tragedies of war, often with no support from their local governments.  Brief Background Since the Kashmiri conflict’s inception, it is estimated that over 70,000 people have … [Read more...]

Letter from Palestine

Guest blogger Sarah Tranquilli travels inside Jerusalem for an inside look at an ongoing conflict and its people. This is her story. What is Palestine? Before moving to Jordan for six months to study Arabic, I made a list of all the countries I wanted to see during my time abroad. My list included many different places, but there was one in particular that I knew I had to go to - … [Read more...]

Ramadan Reflection: The Gift of Life In the Time of a Pandemic

While COVID-19 continues to afflict innocent people around the world, this Ramadan is a reminder of the gift of life and the uncertainty of death. As some members of our community are dying or struggling to fight the virus, the fasting month is a blessed time to reflect on the tests and tribulations of life. For most Muslims, death is a natural part of life and the pious reflect on the Afterlife … [Read more...]

Making the Most of Ramadan During COVID-19 And 6 Reasons To Fast

Ramadan during COVID-19 presents unique challenges and benefits (6 reasons to fast are listed below). What Muslims can do to make the most of Ramadan during COVID-19 is the focus of this post to help the community, including myself, appreciate the blessings of this holy month.  During the daylight hours, Muslims fast around the world, and are reminded of life's fragility and the need to … [Read more...]

Interview from Kashmir on the Spread of COVID-19

The never-ending conflict in Kashmir is a life defined by daily struggle and survival, which now includes the spread of COVID-19 throughout the pristine valley. While most Americans are self-isolating, Kashmiris know this better than anyone else. They are accustomed to living through long (almost unbearable) curfews and a life of isolation from the outside world--and at times, alienation from … [Read more...]

A Young Woman’s Perspective on Living in a Time of COVID-19

Before my second birthday, the worst terror attack the nation has ever seen took place in my childhood state of New York. Before my 13th birthday, 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old were killed thirty minutes from my school. Before my 18th birthday, scientists put a 15-20 year timer on our planet’s health. Now, before my 20th birthday, I am quarantining in my childhood bedroom … [Read more...]

Have You Seen The New Women in Terrorism Thriller, The “Kalifat”?

Like so many Americans, I am self-isolating and went to Netflix to find a new women in terrorism thriller called "Kalifat." The episode-turning story is complex, at times confusing, but carefully planned. Each scene reads like a thriller novel as an array of characters struggle to stay alive (the lead protagonist, Pervin wants out of the Kalifat, or the Caliphate). Other (young) men and women are … [Read more...]

Women in Morocco Fight Violent Extremism: Part Two

In this guest blog, Yasmeen Ally provides a first-hand account of women in Morocco, who fight violent extremism. With knowledge of Islam, these women are able to counter intolerant ideas and stop the spread of religious perversion. The following post is informed by Ally's research and visits to Morocco.  Women's Religious Role in Islam Women in the early centuries of Arabia and Persia … [Read more...]

Women in Morocco Fight Violent Extremism: Part One

With knowledge of Islam, women in Morocco are fighting the hateful ideology espoused by violent extremism. In this guest blog, Yasmeen Ally gives a first-hand account of women standing up for peace to save Morocco from intolerant ideas and the spread of religious perversion. The following piece is informed by Ally's research and visits to Morocco.  Brief Background The Kingdom of Morocco is … [Read more...]

The Kashmir Valley in Pictures: Download Your Free Look Book

One of the world's most militarized zones is stunningly beautiful--a place most people will never visit--which is why I created a free look book or the "Kashmir Valley in Pictures" so that you can see pristine landscapes and passionate people. Even women scarred from the local, protracted violent conflict are heartwarming and live with hope. I have been lecturing on Kashmir for decades. My recent … [Read more...]

United Nations Commission on The Status of Women Session 63 Explores Violent Extremism & Women

Violent extremism can have a devastating impact on women’s social protection and services. Media coverage of violent extremism often focuses on terrorists, military, law enforcement, political issues. But, the realities for women in areas of violent extremism, often conflict as well, are the decline and reduction of basic social protection and services. On March 12, 2019, in a unique panel held at … [Read more...]

The Number One Book We All Need To Read And Here’s Why

In the New Year, the number one book that I suggest we all read is The Rabbit Listened, and here's why. The best-selling children's story teaches the very simple principle of empathy. In today's climate of rising conflict and ugly wars, it's important to listen to understand the root of violence and then offer sound solutions. To be honest, I don't read many children's books. I prefer the hard, … [Read more...]

Meaningful Discussions on Terrorism Will Continue To Matter in 2019

We live in an age of terrorism, which is why meaningful discussions on Islam will continue to matter in 2019. Violence from religious groups as well as violence perpetrated by far-right extremist groups will continue in the New Year. For decades, I've been teaching and lecturing on violent behavior, focusing primarily on women in conflict as well as searching for answers on the key question: Why … [Read more...]

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