Freethinking Stokie

A blog by a British, Pakistani, North Staffs woman providing analysis and discussion on the issues that our local media struggle with.

Quote: Stokely Carmichael

Quote: Stokely Carmichael

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Muslim Convert Privilege

Kristiane Backer - Former MTV host and convert to Islam.

Kristiane Backer – Former MTV host and convert to Islam.


When will converts to Islam recognise their privilege? They haven’t lived through what “born Muslims” often experience from the day that they enter the world, yet they patronise and tell us that we have no right to be angry at our ex co-religionists. They paint pink fluffy pictures and tell us that what we see the majority of Muslims practicing is not “real Islam”.

Don’t get me wrong, Islamophobia (anti-Muslim, irrational, unwarranted bigotry) combined with race based prejudice DO exist. That’s why this Woolwich attack got labelled a “terror attack” immediately (brown man) whereas there was strong desire from the media to label Anders Breivik anything but a “terrorist”. “Insane” “lone madman”, these were the kinds of terms used.

I just wish that the Kristiane Backers and Yvonne Ridleys would recognise their privilege. Their experience doesn’t define my experience growing up in a Muslim household from birth. They chose to join the club. I did not.

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BBC Today: Bradford’s cousin marriage boom

‎”Bradford has three times the national rate among children for disabilities including deafness and blindness.”

“On the face of it the risk is not great – a 4% risk of having a child with an abnormality if you marry a cousin, compared with 2% among the general population. But with **repeated** cousin marriage, the risks stack up in families with sometimes devastating results.”

Click here to read the entire article.

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“Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women in the world” by Zara Jamal

Brides-to-be wait during a mass wedding ceremony in Karachi. SOURCE: Reuters

This brilliant article in The Atlantic, tells the firsthand stories of six poor, working women of different ages, backgrounds, and life experiences in the Pakistani city of Karachi, where the author of the article grew up and met them. In the interviews, the women tell us about their lives and struggles within a cycle of poverty and, often times, sexual abuse and violence.

It’s amazing how  so many of these deeply misogynistic and abusive attitudes towards women have been transported all the way to England, more specifically, to Stoke-on-Trent.

“According to a 2011 poll of experts by the Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll, Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women in the world. It cited the more than 1,000 women and girls murdered in “honor killings” every year and reported that 90 percent of Pakistani women suffer from domestic violence.

Westerners usually associate the plight of Pakistani women with religious oppression, but the reality is far more complicated. A certain mentality is deeply ingrained in strictly patriarchal societies like Pakistan. Poor and uneducated women must struggle daily for basic rights, recognition, and respect. They must live in a culture that defines them by the male figures in their lives, even though these women are often the breadwinners for their families. “

“With female literacy at 36%, many women are too uneducated to know their rights.”

Click here to read the entire article.


Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my blog. I’m a British, Pakistani woman of Muslim heritage who recognises that not all Pakistanis or Muslims in Stoke-on-Trent necessarily agree with what is happening around them in their communities. Literalist, fundamentalist ideologies are on the increase, women are becoming more and more disengaged with wider society and fundamentalism is holding communities and individuals hostage in the name of religious piety.

The main purpose of this blog is to help people who feel isolated, feel less so. This is a space to empower those who feel like their voice is being drowned out by sharing ideas, information and resources. This is a place to meet other people who think like you do.

Whether you are religious, non religious cultural Muslim, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, Agnostic, Atheist or a former Muslim, you are welcome here. I am pro-equality, pro-women’s rights, anti-racist, anti-stereotype and pro-LGBTQI. Hence, if you oppose any of these values and are annoyed by what I write, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to comment on my posts with any feedback or constructive criticisms (not abuse) or email me at If you do decide to send me abuse or threats, expect me mock you and laugh hysterically.

Thanks for visiting 🙂

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