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Posted On: 10 March 2010 05:05 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Qatar’s Muslim women bloggers carve out a place in cyberworld

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In a society where women find it difficult to air their voices, blogging seems to open new doors to express their views on various issues. From the current international issues to religion, hijab and much more, hundreds of Muslim women have been venting out their personal opinion to the outer world through blogs. The Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP), yesterday, brought together three leading female Muslim bloggers based in Qatar for a panel discussion. Talking at the sidelines of the event to The Peninsula, the bloggers explained how the World Wide Web and blogging has changed their lives. “Traditionally, women do not have a place for expressing themselves in a male dominant society, and this is predominant in the Muslim society” said Shelina Zahra Janmohamed. “Males tend to look down upon women and their ideas. Through blogging, women have come out of the cocoon into the wider world.” Janmohamed, the popular award-winning blogger of Spirit21, writes columns at EMEL magazine and the Muslim News and regularly contributes to The Guardian, the BBC and Channel 4. She is much in demand as a commentator on radio and television and has appeared on programmes including Newsnight and The Heaven and Earth Show. The liberty Muslim women find in blogging was stressed by Amal Al Malki, Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, and Shabina S Khatri, a Muslim American journalist, freelancing in Doha. “Blogging gives a huge relief from the patriarchal society we live in. However, though we can express our feelings, an internal censorship is still needed when you have the whole world watching out on you,” said Al Malki. She had previously written some articles online, and recently set up her own blog. Her post on Hijab as a traditional requirement, rather than a religious one, in the region, had created a heated online debate. “With wider audience, blogging also helps to reform the stereotype images people have about the people. Many of the people are surprised when they see Muslim women out there on the Internet, our views on various issues are closely scrutinised and followed,” said Khatri. Blogging has helped to change the attitude of these women on different issues.