Sunday 26 August 2018

Samina Ali: What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman's hijab?

Published on Feb 10, 2017 by TEDx Talks
YouTube: What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman's hijab? | Samina Ali | TEDxUniversityofNevada
In recent times, the resurgence of the hijab along with various countries’ enforcement of it has led many to believe that Muslim women are required by their faith to wear the hijab. In this informative talk, novelist Samina Ali takes us on a journey back to Prophet Muhammad's time to reveal what the term “hijab” really means -- and it's not the Muslim woman's veil! So what does “hijab” actually mean, if not the veil, and how have fundamentalists conflated the term to deny women their rights? This surprising and unprecedented idea will not only challenge your assumptions about hijab but will change the way you see Muslim women.

Samina Ali is an award-winning author, activist and cultural commentator. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days, won France’s prestigious Prix Premier Roman Etranger Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction. Ali’s work is driven by her belief in personal narrative as a force for achieving women’s individual and political freedom and in harnessing the power of media for social transformation. She is the curator of the groundbreaking, critically acclaimed virtual exhibition, Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices.


Wikipedia: Samina Ali
Samina Ali is an American author and activist. Samina serves as the curator of Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices, a global, virtual exhibition for the International Museum of Women (IMOW), now part of Global Fund for Women. She is the co-founder of American Muslim feminist organization Daughters of Hajar. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days, was awarded the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger award from France and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and Daily Beast.

official web site: Samina Ali
Samina Ali is an award-winning author, activist and cultural commentator. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), was the winner of France’s prestigious Prix Premier Roman Etranger Award and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction. The book, about a young woman’s arranged marriage and political awakening, was partly inspired by Samina’s real-life experience growing up bi-culturally in Hyderabad, India and St. Paul, Minnesota.


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Sunday 19 August 2018

My Author Profile at Spank the Carp

The short story web site, Spank the Carp, asked me to write an author's profile by answering a series of questions.

AUTHOR PROFILE William Quincy Belle
William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following, which so far he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem." You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness floating around in cyberspace.

Why do you write?
I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t sculpt. I can’t play a musical instrument. Why I do something is really based on a longer list of things I can’t do. As opposed to the polymaths, the Renaissance Men like Galileo, Da Vinci, etc., I’m more of an idiot savant, although there are some who would question the use of the word savant. Like many who took to blogging as a form of self-expression, I’m imbued with a high degree of self-importance; what I say matters. I’m a legend in my own mind.

Question: What’s the definition of an egotist?

Answer: Somebody who doesn’t think of me.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that I am merely a single grain of sand on the beach of life and my contribution to the background cacophony of seven billion voices is just a blip meriting an allusion to the posterior of a rodent: Who gives a rat's ass? However, I’m reminded that we’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time. I do this to amuse myself and will continue to do so as long as it does amuse me. Hopefully, along the way, what I do amuses one or two other people. It feels good to make somebody smile. A guffaw is a bonus.

What other creative activities are you involved in?
What other “creative” activities? There are those who feel creative is an inaccurate description of my illogical, non sequitur stream of consciousness, who rather see this as the failure of the psychiatric profession to develop the necessary therapeutic methods for dealing with whatever the heck is going on in my head.

Who is your favorite author and why?
William Quincy Belle is an author of startling depth and imagination... Oh, I’m sorry. Is this not where I write my own sales copy?

Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
I turn on my computer and get a cup of coffee. I open Microsoft Word and take the first sip of the day. I look at the opening default blank page then check my email. I glance at the blank page then check the news feed. I go back and type a few words, then do backspace, backspace, backspace and go to YouTube to see what random videos have been served up. I take another sip of coffee and adjust the cushion I use for lumbar support.

This can go on for another forty-five minutes to an hour before I stand up to pace back and forth in front of my computer desk, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing my existence. I’m convinced the gods of inspiration are toying with me and my literary muse is really an evil siren luring me onto the rocks of distraction. Oh goodie, I haven’t seen this cat video before.

Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
Carpe diem. I firmly believe we should all seize the day. No, wait! You were talking about the fish not the Latin. I should have gone into politics. I like to give an answer before I understand the question.

I’m not sure why you ask about the carp. According to the 2014 pop song by Meghan Trainor, “It’s all about the bass.”

You called this a writing prompt: the literary equivalent of military training. Drop and give me a hundred.

That’s seventy-five. I will now meander on, filling in whatever’s necessary blah, blah, blah, to get my count to an even hun-

My thanks to the editor, Ken S., for putting up with my (literary) shenanigans. I'm reminded of an old saying: You're never too old to be immature.


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