Copyright © 2003-2011, Aishah Schwartz. Permission granted to circulate among private individuals, groups, or in not-for-profit publications in full text and subject title. All other rights reserved.

March 23, 2007

For Immediate Release

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Muslimah Writers Alliance Director to Appear on Channel Islam Radio in Support of Islamic Initiative at Johannesburg's Rand Show

Aishah Schwartz, Yvonne Ridley, Na'ima B. Robert, and Idris Tawfiq unite on Channel Islam Radio in support of a new initiative to be introduced by Channel Islam International (Cii) at the 112th Annual Rand Show. The Cii Islamic Information Center will provide information conveying the true beauty of the message and teachings of Islam, with a special emphasis on dispelling misconceptions.

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) March 23, 2007 -- Channel Islam International, a part of the Cii Network of South Africa, is embarking on an initiative to take Islam to the masses at one of South Africa's premier events, The Rand Show, which runs from March 30 through April 15, 2007 in Johannesburg.

Now in its 112th year, The Rand Show is a highly anticipated event, attended by over one million people from all walks of life and religious affiliations.

At this year's event, Channel Islam International will sponsor an Islamic Information Centre. The premier initiative will focus on providing information conveying the true beauty of the message and teachings of Islam, with the hope of also dispelling any of the misconceptions those passing by the Channel Islam booth may have.

In promotion of this year's Channel Islam Rand Show initiative, Aishah Schwartz, Founder and Director of Muslimah Writers Alliance (
MWA), has been invited to join Idris Tawfiq, a former British Catholic Priest who accepted Islam, Na'ima B. Robert, author of "From My Sisters' Lips", and Yvonne Ridley, a journalist who accepted Islam in Afghanistan, for a live radio event on Friday, March 23, 2007 between 8:30 and 10:00 pm South Africa time (2:30-4:00PM EST). The program will be available online through Cii's website at

The program's guests will share with listeners their thoughts on the importance of introducing Islam to others and how initiatives such as the Cii Islamic Information Center can be instrumental in the educational process.

Raised in Michigan as a Christian, Ms. Schwartz, after learning about Islam through the internet, made her Shahada at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. in April of 2002. Now fulfilling a commitment she made to God over 20-years ago at a Baptist University in Ohio, Ms. Schwartz is dedicated to serving the Muslim community as a civil and human rights activist focusing on women's issues through her writings.

Her work is often published at Naseeb Vibes, the largest internet-based E-Zine, with over 320 thousand subscribers. A catalogue of Ms. Schwartz's intriguing Islamic journey series of articles can also be found at her personal website She is also a member of the Muslim American Journalists Association and the National Association of Women Writers.

Cii is a diverse media brand, driven by a fresh, young company which spotted a clear and consistent gap in the global media market, especially in English language media: up until now, there has been no concerted effort to target relevant, useful information to the global Muslim community.

Cii fills that gap, providing high quality Islamic content to more a million listeners worldwide.

In South Africa especially, Cii reaches a relatively affluent target market, with the result that there is great opportunity to leverage the relationship for the greater good of Muslims around the world.

Today Cii is known to be a pioneer in Islamic satellite audio broadcasting and has become the benchmark which is setting the pace for the proliferation and growth of Islamic media globally.

Channel Islam is a part of the Cii broadcasting network.

Established in 2006, MWA's mission is to inspire Muslim women to collaborate with one another for the common good of the Muslim Ummah, and to be of support to one another in fulfilling their aspirations to become established writers. Applying Islamic principles, boundless enthusiasm, experience and resourcefulness to every project embraced, MWA members are dedicated to one another's success.


Aishah Schwartz Biography

Yvonne Ridley Biography

Na'ima B. Robert

Idris Tawfiq, Former British Catholic Priest Returns to Islam

The Rand Show History



Company Name: Muslimah Writers Alliance
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Phone: 1-866-405-5981

Copyright © 2007 MWA
Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on Internet sites and to publish in full text and subject title in not-for-profit publications. Contact author for all other rights, which are reserved.

March 06, 2007

To Advocate or Abdicate: Muslimah Writers Alliance Stands in Defense of Islam

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

March 5, 2005

By Aishah Schwartz

I received an email this week from a friend who writes for a mainstream media publication in Miami, Florida. She was writing to tell me that sometime mid-March she would be interviewing the infamous Ayaan Hirsan Ali, and asked me what I 'thought' of the interview candidate. I had to admit the necessity of Googling the interviewee's name before offering my reply; and so I did.

Interestingly enough, on March 4, 2007, the New York Times published a book review, by Ian Buruma, on Ali's most recent Islam-bashing publication, 'Infidel'.

There is irrefutably enough evidence in Buruma's review to leave one with little doubt that the author/victim, former Muslim-turned-Atheist, was irrefutably left with a jaded view of the religion she was born into. It is here that we must be reminded that to turn away from the truth because of what others do or don't do based on misperceptions of what is Islamically right or wrong, is a decision that must not to be entered into lightly, as its ramifications far outlast the time spent in this life.

Instead of turning her back on Islam, might it not have conceivably been much more productive for Ali to have channeled her anger and resentment over the experiences of her tormented youth, into striving to rectify that which she found to be inherently wrong?

How many women could she have helped by advocating for reforms and education vs. merely helping herself as she embraced the romanticism of the West depicted in the Danielle Steel romance novels she purports to have based her dreams of salvation upon?

Ah, but then again, to be truly Muslim, one must want for others what they want for themselves.

However, I digress.

To continue, I reflectively embarked upon responding to my friend's request regarding her interview candidate and wrote the following:

My initial curiosity would be to learn what the intended focus of the article resulting from the interview would be. Depending on the editor's concept, and/or depending on what angle the writer might be going for if he/she were freelance, or if the writer were merely writing an opinion piece, any number of varying possibilities could be presented given the amount of pre-existing material on the interviewee.

I suppose focusing on a person with a background such as Ali's is just the kind of thing mainstream media would be more inclined to publish, particularly as it would be yet another slap in the face to the existing American Muslim community, given the fact that she has renounced Islam and is now seemingly dedicated to bashing the religion whenever opportunity presents itself.

Lets face it, we all know that generating negative buzz where Muslims are concerned is more likely to sell advertising space and newspapers, than publishing anything that might suggest members of the American Muslim community might be achieving, or striving to achieve, anything that could possibly be considered as having a positive impact on the community-at-large, and thereby - *shock and awe* - deeming them worthy of recognition.

In my experience as an American Muslim, I have learned that one of the things that Muslims, particularly immigrant Muslims, seem to appreciate about the United States, is that, if something is seen as being inherently wrong, i.e., in respect to civil or human rights, American's will embrace their Constitutional right to do something about it.

Now, what that tells me is, that Muslims are not unaware that there are problems within their communities, particularly where it regards interpretation of the religion's teachings. However, the governments of many countries that we see Muslims immigrating to American from, do not allow such liberties as freedom of speech, press, or to peacefully demonstrate.

On the contrary, many foreign governments work harder to suppress attempts toward positive change, and either refuse, balk, or flat-out have to be lobbied into, addressing humanitarian issues; the result being akin to a feeding frenzy for mainstream media to continue delivering the spin that Muslims are nothing short of barbaric.

As can be seen from the chronological log of media coverage pertaining to the travesty of justice in the forced divorce case of Fatima and Mansour Al-Timani in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, news of which the Saudi Gazette reports has also reached this years Economic Forum in Jeddah, and from the hundreds of signatures and correlating comments memorialized through the Say 'No' to Forced Divorce - 'Yes' to Reforms online petition drive sponsored by Muslimah Writers Alliance, the true voice of the Muslim community is being heard.

The Muslim community does recognize when things have gone wrong, and is willing to call out the wrong-doers.

And finally, we can be unified for the sake of eradicating injustice - when given a platform. A platform, as might be gleaned from the forced divorce case news log, that U.S. mainstream media has notably abstained from granting us.

The forced divorce of Fatima and Mansour Al-Timani was the initial catalyst for the online petition drive that strives to reunite the couple, however, it goes on to also address the root of the problem - the issues that created the fiasco to start with - guardianship, tribalism, and misinterpretation of the teachings of Islam.

I spoke with Nimah Nawwab Saudi poet, activist and Young Global Leader, on the subject, and she stated, "The appellate court upheld forced divorce of Fatima and Mansour Al-Timani has not only deeply traumatized this family, but it is creating a domino effect with devastating social ramifications."

The couple's attorney, Abdul-Rahman Al-Lahem, who was recently nominated by the UK's Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards committee for this year's Bindman's Law and Campaigns Award, has petitioned Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, requesting that the Al-Timani case be forwarded to the Kingdom's High Court, the only recourse left to the couple.

Commenting further, Nawaab stated, "The Al-Timani case brings to the forefront the problem of the evolving abuse of guardianship (wali al-amr). An abuse affecting the rights of women throughout the Kingdom in marriage, travel, education and work."

"It has been reduced to nothing more than a means of control, whereby even distant male relatives to whom guardianship rights have trickled down due to family circumstance, unwittingly places the fate of women in the hands of men who do not have their best interests at heart," Nawwab concluded.

Long after the case of Fatima and Mansour Al-Timani is settled, for better or worse, and it may very well be for the worse, as eluded to recently in the Saudi Gazette, the online petition drive will continue to accrue signatures until the necessary reforms pertaining to guardianship over women are addressed - with or without mainstream media support.

The President of the Human Rights First Society of Saudi Arabia recently invited me to join the organization's membership. I accepted. The simple fact that this organization has 3,285 members inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alone, speaks volumes in-and-of itself.

The global Muslim community does recognize that all is not right with the world. And we are trying to present a united front in an effort to make a difference; one member, one voice, one signature at a time.

The Say 'No' to Forced Divorce - 'Yes' to Reforms online petition drive has, to date, accumulated nearly 1,000 signatures representing the collective voices of Muslims from over 38 countries, 56 non-U.S. cities, 21 U.S. States, and 45 U.S. Cities.

As the Muslimah Writers Alliance petition and Burmura's book review emphasize, the experiences of Fatima Al-Timani and Ayaan Hirsan Ali - have nothing to do with the true teachings of Islam.

Aishah Schwartz is a freelance writer and director of Muslimah Writers Alliance, Washington, D.C.


Article References:

Against Submission, by Ian Buruma

Muslimah Writers Alliance Forced Divorce Case Chronological Media Log

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Forced Divorce Case, Muslimah Writers Alliance

Forced Divorce Now a Forum Issue, by Sabri Jawhar, The Saudi Gazette

Nimah Ismail Nawwab

Saudi Attorney in Al-Timani Forced Divorce Case Nominated to Receive Award

Say 'No' to Forced Divorce - 'Yes' to Reforms

Online Petition to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz

Copyright © 2007