Mufti Menk Talks About How Nicki Minaj Follows Him On Twitter

"Mm-mashallah" – Nicki Minaj on Plain Jane (Remix) with Muslim A$AP Ferg

Mufti Menk Talks About How Nicki Minaj Follows Him On Twitter

“Mm-mashallah” – Nicki Minaj on Plain Jane (Remix) with Muslim A$AP Ferg

By

Mareena Emran
Photo of Mufti Menk shaking hands with a president, but with Nicki Minaj's face over him. / Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

 

It’s pretty common to hear Islamic phrases like “Assalamualaikum” and “MashAllah” in your favorite rap hits, but the recent discovery of rapper Nicki Minaj following popular Muslim scholar Mufti Ismail Menk on Twitter has turned the Muslim community on its head, with many speculating about Minaj’s personal religious beliefs. It’s honestly left us all in shock.

Mufti Menk of Zimbabwe is an esteemed Muslim figure on social media who is known for his motivational lectures and large platform following.

Although the entire situation may have confused many of us, Mufti Menk decided to voice his own view on the situation in a short YouTube video, explaining that Minaj following him on social media is something that is nobody’s business except her own.

 

“SubhanAllah, she happens to be following a lot of people on Twitter and Instagram…in the entertainment industry, and at the same time, for some reason, follows me,” said Mufti Menk. “Now, people are very inquisitive, but trust me, you don’t need to know.”

He also included in his statement about Minaj following him that not everyone who follows him necessarily agrees with him, and that it’s possible that Minaj is perhaps looking at Islam from a new perspective by following his Twitter page.

“Not everyone who follows you agrees with you,” said Mufti Menk. “Some people follow you because they disagree with you and they just want to see what you do. In this particular case, whatever the reason is, big deal?”

Mufti Menk’s follow up video has gained over 420k views as of August 18th, and has also been circulating around Instagram and Twitter, reaching thousands more.

The news of Minaj following Mufti Menk has received mixed reviews over the internet, and a lot of young fans have stormed TikTok with videos of their reactions as well.

With all the TikToks, Tweets and memes being made about the situation, Mufti Menk hopes that his followers understand the importance of spreading positivity regardless of Minaj’s religious affiliations.

“I’m happy, and I pray, InshAllah, that it’s a means of goodness for everyone, and a means of guidance for one and all,” said Mufti Menk. 

So, the question still lingers, is Minaj making plans to go to Izlam? We won’t know until she makes a legitimate statement, but her Plain Jane remix may have spoken for itself.

READ MORE: Netflix Cancels Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Patriot Act’ After Six Seasons

Netflix Cancels Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Patriot Act’ After Six Seasons

American-Muslim comedian Hasan Minhaj announced that his political comedy Netflix show, Patriot Act, will not be renewed for another season.

Netflix Cancels Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Patriot Act’ After Six Seasons

American-Muslim comedian Hasan Minhaj announced that his political comedy Netflix show, Patriot Act, will not be renewed for another season.

By

Rania Rizvi

American-Muslim comedian Hasan Minhaj announced that his political comedy Netflix show, Patriot Act, will not be renewed for another season. 

“What a run. @patriotact has come to an end,” wrote Minhaj. “Thank you to @netflix and everyone who watched.” 

While some fans are happy to see Minhaj moving on from the show to start other projects, many upset fans believe the show was deliberately cancelled due to the controversial nature of the topics discussed. 

From being banned in Saudi Arabia for discussing the alleged corruption of the royal family to delving into the highly polarizing debates on police, marijuana, and the American prison system, Patriot Act dared to cover some of the most polarizing topics in politics today. 

Even the title of the show, Patriot Act, showed that Minhaj was not one to shy from controversy. Minhaj’s powerful play on words of the USA Patriot Act, a controversial policy implemented by the Bush administration that has historically been abused to unlawfully criminalize Muslim post-9/11, made a statement that encapsulated not only Minhaj’s willingness push the envelope, but to punch back at beasts like religious injustice.

 

 

However fans believe that this fact, along with Minhaj’s Muslim, “POC identity” are the reasons for its cancellation. 

“Netflix cancelling Patriot Act is not just an indication of the fact that they don’t want to center voices of color, but instead (I think) an indication of the fact that Hasan Minhaj and [his] team took risks and made people uncomfortable — and that was too much for Netflix,” tweeted a disgruntled fan. 

The show premiered on Netflix on October 28, 2018, and within two years, Minhaj produced 39 episodes that covered a wide range of sociopolitical issues presented in an interactive, talk show format. Prior to coronavirus, the show was filmed in New York City in front of a live audience, before switching to the more one-on-one format of the last season. 

Ranging from covering topics as serious as the aforementioned ones to overpriced designer products and the slave-like work culture of the video game industry, the show’s content diversity and edu-comedy style allowed Minhaj to reach millions and educate others about critical issues around the globe. 

Many fans have even said that the show’s episodes are so informative that they’ve been able to complete assignments and get As on final projects because of Minhaj. 

Regardless of the show’s cancellation, Patriot Act

has undoubtedly created waves that nobody was anticipating. Minhaj’s brazenly unabashed and witty commentary combined with his energetic stage presence made Patriot Act not only popular, but an influential force on Gen-Z. 

More importantly, Minhaj’s unwillingness to stick to the status quo of making stereotypical “brown jokes” and belittling his ethnicity for the sake of “relatability” has set a new precedent for POC creators to own their identities as a part of their experience, not as the punchline. 

Fans took to Twitter to reflect on the show fondly. 

“I loved Patriot Act because the show challenged the status quo… they taught their fans to stand up for what’s right, whether or not that was popular. Forever grateful,” tweeted a fan.

 

While the show may be cancelled and the next moves of Minhaj are unknown, fans are hopeful that he will deliver. Many of the top comments under Minhaj’s Instagram post are positive, stating that they “can’t wait for what’s next” and believe that this is “just the beginning” for Minhaj. But until then, we are just going to have to watch the reruns (Netflix, at least let us reminisce, it’s the least you can do).

READ MORE: Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down The Yemen Crisis On ‘Patriot Act’

How One TikToker Is Shutting Down The “Basic Black Kurta” Eid Fit Trend

Black kurtas are a staple for basic Muslim men during Eid. Here's why one TikTok star is tired of being basic.

How One TikToker Is Shutting Down The “Basic Black Kurta” Eid Fit Trend

Black kurtas are a staple for basic Muslim men during Eid. Here’s why one TikTok star is tired of being basic.

By

Mareena Emran
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Eid is a special time in the Muslim community for a number of different reasons. From the special Eid prayer, down to securing the Eidi bag, this occasion is unlike any other. But even with all of the festivities, there’s one super important piece to making the celebration feel complete: your Eid fit.

With just a quick glance, it’s pretty typical that you’ll find your Instagram and Twitter feeds flooded with black kurtas, but 20-year-old Emad Ahmed changed the game this year.


Ahmed had no hesitation ensuring that he wowed the crowd with his outfit for Eid Al-Adha, sporting a bright pink kurta with a bedazzled seam and collar. He featured his suit in a TikTok video which gained the attention of nearly 30,000 people. His video now has over 3,000 likes, and was even duetted by a number of other Muslim TikTok creators who wanted to follow Ahmed’s footsteps in switching up their outfit choice for the holiday.

“I was kind of afraid of how my friends would react,” Ahmed said. “There’s a big culture around toxic masculinity, but I was just like, ‘you know what, let’s make a statement, I’m just going to go for it,’ and I posted the video.”

Prior to posting his Eid fit video, Ahmed had voiced his concerns through a private TikTok video about the black kurta trend on Eid, explaining how it feeds into the culture of Desi stereotypes and sexualization of men. 

“I personally believe that guys shouldn’t be sexualizing girls, especially on a platform like this (TikTok),” Ahmed said. “There are so many big TikTokers who are just like, ‘Oh my God! When a guy walks into a room with a black kurta he looks so clean, so hot,’ and I think it’s dumb, because you wearing something is not going to define how good looking you are. I think people are missing the entire point with this black kurta stuff.”

Ahmed also went on to talk about the pressure of fitting into modern societal gender norms.

“I know a lot of guys that are so sensitive, in Western society especially, that when girls say something about them, they feel pressured to do exactly that, just like wearing a black kurta,” Ahmed said. “If a girl thinks that black kurtas are hot, boys will feel the need to wear a black kurta (to impress them), when in reality, it should all be about pleasing yourself and spreading positivity around you.”

After posting the private TikTok, Ahmed was approached by another creator, Nabeel Mian, to collaborate via the duets feature on the app, telling Ahmed that he would support by wearing a bright colored kurta as well.

“The morning Emad posted his kurta video, he had actually commented on his video tagging me that he wants to see what I’m wearing for eid, and with this, I had an idea and thought of making a duet with him,” said Mian. “My eyes landed on this new sky blue colored kurta and I thought it would be perfect to wear alongside my buddy Emad.”

Ahmed and Mian’s duetted video paved the way for more duet videos to be made, and also gave the two creators a chance to connect and bond with one another. The video amassed around 8,000 views and around 2,000 likes.

“I found Emad about a month ago around when he first started, I could see he was going to grow very big so I wanted to support him through it,” Mian said. “I did this to hopefully inspire people to join with us and start a chain so we could still do a collaboration. Sure, girls can say they love it all they want over social media, but we all know being unique and different is what truly stands out over anything else. Emad’s video is a perfect example because he was able to attract social media without following the standards it had set out.”

Both Ahmed and Mian hope to continue changing the face of Desi and Muslim TikTok with more collaborations. They both hope to break the chain of toxic masculinity on the platform while also embracing their individuality through their content.

“This generation will be the generation to break stereotypes, and doing so is very important, because our culture in the past has always been worrying about what others would think and say about us,” Mian said. “My question to everyone is whether they would feel better if they were to follow a trend or start a trend. I’m sure it would mean much more to them to start one. If that is the case for them, then that can only be done by embracing a unique fashion sense to truly stand out and be noticed.”

READ MORE: Plant-Based Diet, Islam And Eid: What’s The Deal?

The Stigma Of Menstruation In Muslim Households

We spoke with the chair of the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University, Atiya Aftab, about the stigma of menstruation in Muslim households.

The Stigma Of Menstruation In Muslim Households

We spoke with the chair of the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University, Atiya Aftab, about the stigma of menstruation in Muslim households.

By

Syeda Khaula Saad
Art - Ameena Muhammad

 

There is a lot of shame embedded into the upbringing of Muslim women. Through patriarchal cultural practices that have been passed down and mistaken for “words of Allah,” we are raised to be shrunken. And oftentimes it isn’t until we’re sitting in the midst of our adulthood desperately trying to unlearn the feelings of disgust we feel toward ourselves that we realize how heavy the weight of misogyny has become. And it starts off young. 

We are often taught that the foremost “confirmation” of our womanhood is the first red droplets we see on our underwear at the beginning of puberty — this moment, known as menarche, signals the start of menstruation. At meager ages of 11, 12, 13, we are told “You’re a woman now!” and the first reasoning? Your body has the ability to bear children. But rather than celebrate it, it’s met with secrecy. We are told to disguise cramps as “stomachaches,” to sneak pads into our pockets as we go to restrooms, and to do anything to avoid letting men in our homes become even slightly conscious that we are menstruating. In Muslim households we are drilled with the idea that we are “impure” in the eyes of Allah and that we should steer clear of the men in the house entirely. But Middle Eastern Studies Program and Political Science adjunct professor and chair of the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University Atiya Aftab says these views come from culture, not religion. 

“A menstruating woman is not seen as dirty or lesser due her menstruating status,” Aftab tells Muslim.co. “In Islam, menstruation is not seen in any way as a divine punishment.” She explains that these interpretations have been morphed from religious traditions surrounding the status of a menstruating woman. For example, a woman on her period is exempted from fasting during the month of Ramadan (though she is expected to make up the fasts at a later time) and she is also exempted from the obligatory five daily prayers. While this is often pointed at as a justification to regard menstruating women as “impure” or “dirty,” Aftab feels differently. 

“In the case of fasting, it is a hardship for a menstruating woman to abstain from food and water from dawn to dusk,” she says. “Hydration, nutrition, and possibly medication [is] needed.” Therefore, the same mercy that is given to those who are sick is extended to menstruating women. “With respect to prayer, it is required that a person who is engaged in the daily formal prayer must be in a state of ritual purity (wudu/ghusl),” Aftab explains. “A person who is bleeding — male or female — is not a ritual state of purity.” So, it is not the fact that the blood is coming out from the vagina that makes a woman unable to pray, but the fact that she is bleeding at all. 

So why are menstruating women so taboo in many Muslim households?  Most of the feelings in regard to menstruating women date back to pre-Islamic culture, Aftab explains. “Men would refuse to go near their wives, eat or drink with their wives, or sleep in the same bed when they were menstruating,” she says. And it wasn’t just Muslim households where this was occurring.

Negative feelings toward menstruation exist in Jewish households as well, where followers believed that even those who touched a menstruating woman would be deemed unclean. These same stigmas persist even today in many Asian cultures including in India, Pakistan, Japan, and Indonesia. 

But despite these negative generalizations about menstruation, many of the ones that exist in regard to Islam are more cultural than they are religious. In fact, Aftab says it is reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told his companions that, regarding their wives, husbands should “Do everything with her except for sexual intercourse.” (Muslim; ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari). 

In fact, Aftab recalls a beautiful story regarding the Prophet (PBUH) and his wife, Aisha.

Aisha related that: “The Prophet would recline on my lap while I was menstruating and he would read the Quran.” (Bukhari). And the Prophet and his wife Aisha shared the same drinking vessel while she was menstruating. Aisha stated: “I would drink while menstruating, then pass the vessel to the Prophet. He would place his mouth on the (same) place as my mouth and drink…” 

“The actions of the Prophet demonstrated that a menstruating woman was not impure or dirty and was fully capable of engaging in aspects of normal life in the following tradition,” Aftab says. In the same story, Aisha reported that: “The Messenger of God said to me, ‘Get me the prayer mat from the prayer area.’ I replied, ‘I am menstruating.’ He said, ‘Verily, your menstruation is not in your hand.’” (Muslim). If the wife of the Prophet had no issues expressing that she was menstruating, why do we encourage girls to hide their periods from their fathers, brothers, and eventually husbands?

The Prophet (PBUH) has laid a foundation to regard women with utmost respect — and a state of menstruation does not warrant a change in that. The perpetuation of menstruation stigma is hurting Muslim women in irreversible ways. Years after the fact, feelings of anxiousness and shame surrounding our bodies remain. It is up to both women and men to recognize where they might be perpetuating misogynistic practices surrounding women’s bodies and work to fix these mistakes. Menstruating is one of the most natural things that can happen to a woman. By shunning it and teaching girls to keep it a secret, we are teaching them that there is something biologically wrong with them. The outside world is already bent on bringing down the Muslim woman — there is no need to do the same within their own households. 

“Menarche should not be hidden, but celebrated,” Aftab says. 

What The ‘Peace Deal’ Really Means For Palestinians

Israel will halt annexation of Palestinian territories in exchange for establishing diplomatic ties with the UAE. Here's what this 'peace deal' means for Palestinians.

What The ‘Peace Deal’ Really Means For Palestinians

Israel will halt annexation of Palestinian territories in exchange for establishing diplomatic ties with the UAE. Here’s what this ‘peace deal’ means for Palestinians.

By

Samer Hassan
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

The leaders of the Zionist government of Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a deal that would normalize relations between the two governments. While the UAE has long maintained quiet relations with Israel, this public deal sets a dangerous precedence for the Middle East: one that says, we don’t care about your human rights track record, because profit and strategic cooperation trumps all.

Israel has shown the world that its efforts to annex Palestinian land in the Occupied West Bank were not only met with impunity but ultimately rewarded by a public treaty. One that establishes friendly relations between an autocracy that purports to have Palestinians’ best interest at heart, and a Zionist government that has referred to Palestinians as barbarians and vermin.

Israel has codified its unequal treatment of Palestinians. By building Jewish-only roads in the occupied territories, encircling whole villages inside a net of concrete walls, and systematically imprisoning hundreds of Palestinian children, the Zionist state hammers down all efforts to build a viable Palestinian future. 

According to the United Nations, illegal Israeli settler violence towards Palestinians has skyrocketed by over 70% in 2020 alone. This is a government that has bulldozed Palestinian attempts to build a hospital for COVID-19 patients, maintains over 147 heavily armed checkpoints, and continues to expand its separation wall deep inside Palestinian land. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised this new deal by saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers. Mabruk and Mazal Tov.” There is no peace in the Middle East because governments that ally themselves with the West are allowed to murder their inhabitants with impunity while pointing the finger at others that dare to seek justice. 

“During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories,” said Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, strategically adding, “The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.”

Netanyahu, Bin Zayed, and Donald Trump released a joint statement saying they hoped the “historic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East.”

To a Palestinian like me, this treaty has unequivocally ignored the calls of my people — a call that demands the world hold Israel accountable for its rampant destruction of Palestinian homes, murder of Palestinians who dare to organize, and efforts to label us terrorists and anti-semites when we call out Israel’s racist laws designed to keep us in perpetual poverty and dependency. By using the false narrative that this agreement will bring peace, the UAE signals to the world that it truly does not have the interest of Palestinians at heart. Crown Prince Bin Zayed is now officially complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. 

Middle Eastern governments need to show Israel that its efforts to apply sovereignty over the Occupied West-Bank comes with international consequences like sanctions, not treaties.


Samer Hassan is Palestinian activist who graduated with a degree in Political Science from Columbia University.

Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down The Yemen Crisis On ‘Patriot Act’

The episode in which was banned across Saudi Arabia last year, makes rounds on social media for its relevancy on Yemen.

Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down The Yemen Crisis On ‘Patriot Act’

The episode in which was banned across Saudi Arabia last year, makes rounds on social media for its relevancy on Yemen.

By

Nawal Qadir
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

The crisis in Yemen, while only recently trending, has been ongoing for years now, and comedian Hasan Minhaj has not shied away from it. As he does with most issues, Minhaj vocalized his concerns for the country on his show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, as a sub point during his episode covering Saudi Arabia, as the episode’s named. 

Minhaj gave a comprehensive run-down on the situation in Yemen, highlighting how the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, escalated the tensions in the country to its current boiling point. 

READ MORE: Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now

 

 

Now, the entire episode can be found on Netflix (in volume 2 of the show), but let’s talk about why it’s so important. Minhaj’s look into Saudi Arabia, and the atrocities it so commonly commits, is an incredibly lacking take in Western media, when considering the fact that it’s coming from a Muslim man. It’s accepted in the West, and America especially, that Saudi Arabia isn’t a friendly state to human rights, but what is most often overlooked is how destructive Saudi is to its own community. 

As Minhaj points out in the episode, the relationship that most Muslims across the world have with Saudi is a confusing one. We accept it as the hub of our religion, yet most of us are vocal of our opposition towards the country. Minhaj detailing the latter fact is incredibly important on a platform like Netflix, whose main audience is Western countries, given that much of the Western world’s perception of Islam and it’s followers is borne out of Saudi’s actions. 

By creating a space where Muslims can openly converse about their feelings towards a country that’s meant to serve as the center for their religion, Minhaj offers a chance to flip an outdated and largely untrue script. The one that says that most Muslims stand with Saudi Arabia in its oppression. 

In truth, most Muslims claim to Saudi extends as far as it being the country that houses Mecca, and we tend to be as outraged at Saudi’s actions as the rest of the world. 

What’s more, Minhaj’s show offers a reliable source to center the conversation about Yemen around. He truthfully depicts the major roles of, not just Saudi Arabia, but Iran and America in the crisis. 

The attention that’s been surrounding Yemen on social media lately, while important, is largely incomplete. Yemen isn’t just starving, it’s being starved. The conditions are born out of three major conflicts, propagated by three major countries who are all comfortable destroying Yemen as long as it continues to promise benefit for them. Minhaj’s show addresses these faults head on, laying the groundwork for genuine advocacy for Yemen to take place. If you haven’t already seen it, take a look because, believe me, it’s worth your time. 

 

UN Removes Saudi Arabia From ‘Blacklist Of Warring Parties’ For War Crimes In Yemen

This controversial decision comes after a Houthi rebel airstrike killed 13 civilians on Monday, which included four children.

The UN’s decision to remove Saudi Arabia “from a blacklist of warring parties” responsible for the countless deaths of Yemini children has been met with severe backlash according to reports by The New Arab

This controversial decision comes after a Houthi rebel airstrike killed 13 civilians on Monday, which included four children.

“Saudi Arabia was responsible for the deaths and injuries of 222 children in Yemen in 2019, the rebel Houthi movement for 313, and forces allied to the UN-recognised Yemen government responsible for 96 casualties,” according to Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition, which also has ties to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would, “be delisted for the violation of killing and maiming, following a sustained significant decrease in killing and maiming due to air strikes,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. 

Saudi’s constant delisting efforts exerted “unexceptable” pressure on the UN, with Riyadh even threatening to cut their funding. However, if the number of child casualties in Yemen continues to rise, Saudi and the UAE would be at risk of re-listing. 

 

 

Although many are aware of the Yemen crisis, some may be unaware of the extent of the situation. Here is a breakdown of what’s going on:

War and Intervention

The Northern Yemen-based group Ansar Allah, better known as Houthi rebel fighters, came in and took full control of the capital, Sanaa, in early 2015. Their control advanced southward from the capital down to the city of Aden. In March of 2015, Yemeni president Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia, and urged for an intervention. Saudi formed its coalition and launched a proxy war against the rebels, which has been going on for about five years, while the Yemeni president remains in Riyadh. 

Comedian and political commentator Hasan Minhaj explained the conflict, where he broke down the entire situation in less than a minute on his show Patriot Act.

“So take three wars, shove them into the Arab world’s poorest country, and that’s the conflict in Yemen.”

The United States has been supplying the Saudi government with weapons since the Obama administration, with the U.K. leading as the second largest arms exporter. 

Devastations

The ongoing war in Yemen has caused major devastations, some of which include:

Increased famine, with a Yemini child dying approximately every 10 minutes. 

A Cholera epidemic.

Worsening the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Multiple Instagram posts have been made in an effort to educate social media users of these extremities:

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by New Progressive Democrat (@newprogressivedemocrat) on

 

What Can You Do to Help?

Educate and inform others by sharing this article and other Instagram posts raising awareness about the Yemen crisis. 

Write to your MP to end the sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Donate and sign petitions at: https://yemencrisis.carrd

 

READ MORE: Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now

Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now

24 million in need of help. Millions displaced. 4 pandemics. Lack of food and medicine.

Yemen is the biggest humanitarian crisis our world currently faces, and its people are on the verge of extinction, with a staggering 24 million in need of urgent assistance

Over the past few days, the world has taken to social media to declare their outrage on the lack of coverage of Yemen’s state. 

What exactly is happening in Yemen?

Dire starvation, malnutrition, famine and constant fighting are just a few of the many predicaments the people of Yemen are facing. With their main ports being blocked off by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition a few years ago, the main source of food and medicine has been terminated. This has resulted in mass loss of lives due to severe starvation. 

Even before the war, 90% of the country’s food was imported. In Yemen, a child dies every ten minutes. To add to that, UNICEF estimates two million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition as of March 2020. The pictures you may have seen online of young children with merely skin and bones is a small representation of how quickly the situation has escalated. 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Muslim (@muslim) on

Disease in Yemen

Aside from the world’s most recent coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, Yemen has also been enduring a number of other diseases including malaria, dengue and one of the worst cholera epidemics. These have all been present in the country for the past half decade, and have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Due to the country’s more or less “nonexistent” healthcare system (as described by the UN) curing civilians is an anomaly. A population of nearly 30 million surviving on only 200 ventilators can give you a pretty good idea of how grim the situation has become. With many doctors and nurses having fled the country after not being paid for over two years, it’s no wonder that ICUs and hospitals are overflowing with crowds with not much help to be given. 

The poor living conditions of most Yemenis means huge families are squashed into small camps and sharing of water and bathroom facilities makes social distancing and precaution impossible. They can’t afford to wear protective masks and use sanitation against COVID-19. This has done nothing but increase the number of COVID-19 cases, which is only increasing. However, with coverage of the virus banned, it’s clear that the number of cases is much higher. 

How did the war start?

None of this is new. For the past five years since 2015 when war broke out, Yemen has become a bloody battlefield. To put it briefly, after uprisings from the public shortly after the Arab spring revolutions which swept the entire Middle East, the country turned into a war zone. After this their former president fled to Saudi Arabia, as chaos was unfolding, with the Houthi rebels seizing control of the capital. The Houthi rebels are a Shia group who oppose the Yemeni government, supposedly backed by Iran. The Saudi Arabian government subsequently saw this group as a threat to the country’s stability and thus formed a coalition backed by the Yemeni government. The coalition includes a number of Gulf States like Kuwait and the UAE. Also a big contributor to the coalition is the US, who have donated billions of dollars, and continue to do so. Other Western countries including the UK, France and Spain have contributed to the buying of weapons, which are used to kill innocents.

Ever since 2015, the coalition has been heavily bombing and sending airstrikes, in an attempt to destroy the Houthi rebels. Its estimated that hundreds of thousands of innocent Yemenis have died as a result of the ongoing fighting between the two groups

The ramifications of this political dispute have crippled the nation’s people, economy and healthcare system. Saudi Arabia is responsible for a number of unforgivable war crimes, and yet are still not held responsible. 

The UN recently took the coalition of their “UN rights blacklist” which essentially takes all blame off the coalition for their involvement with Yemen.

What can we do?

While the world has been embarrassingly slow to save the people of Yemen, the UN are working towards a peaceful solution, and have also issued a desperate plea for financial aid. But what can we do as individuals to help out our brothers and sisters?

There are a number of petitions you can sign which can help the people of Yemen practically, by potentially ending political disputes

Raise awareness: always stay informed about the situation and make sure to keep up to date with what is going on. Sharing videos and useful information on social media and with family will allow more people to find out about this hidden catastrophe, as mainstream media refuses to give it the attention it deserves

Donate money: if you need to give in charity, it’s now. A number of trusted charities are able to reach out and deliver humanitarian aid, which will no doubt help the people. Even if you’re just donating one dollar, or saving just one life, the people of Yemen need you now more than ever.

Click here for more resources on how to help Yemen.