PUBLIC STATEMENT: Allegations of Plagiarism against Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga
Following the publication of ‘a dua for the masses’ as our Poem of the Week on September 28th, we received several allegations of plagiarism against the apparent author, Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga.
It was immediately clear that ‘a dua for the masses’ reproduced phrases and ideas from an untitled poem by Zanzooba Magdoos published in The Feminist Wire (and also circulated widely by, for example, tumblr, Patheos, Badass Muslimahs, and the Islamic Alliance for Justice). Given the seriousness of the allegations, we wanted to give Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga a chance to present his case before withdrawing the poem in question or issuing a public statement.
Unfortunately, subsequent investigations by our editors have left us with little doubt that Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga is a serial plagiarist. In the last month alone, Redscar’s blog has published at least three poems plagiarised (typically with only minor alterations) from the work of other poets. In each case, the original poem belonged to a female writer of colour.
A plagiarised version of Chandini Santosh’s ‘From This Side of the Border’ (first published in the Bangalore Review, November 2013) appeared on Redscar’s blog in the same week. Access to the blog has subsequently been restricted.
It seems likely that further research will reveal additional incidences of plagiarism, and we feel that we’ve been left with no option other than to make this information public. Further action will follow after careful consultation with the writers and editors involved.
this is for muslim girls who won’t say astaghfirullah for removing khimar for seconds to replace elastoplasts or feel queenly,/ who got flogged for kissing at the city park, who considered suicide when the ummah/
wasn’t enough, for you who never gonna marry, for you, /who infuse every day with islam but still aren’t muslim enough for the ummah, for you who couldn’t wake up to pray/ because you couldn’t get
out of bed, who smoked shisha nine-tenths of the night. who went clubbing with christian homies, chanting tuḥibbīn an tarquṣī between tots/ for nadifa, for mahtem. for fatma, manahal, haliqa, uzma, nadia, faiza, shumaila, y’all; for you/ who feel
like nasrah who understand the hustle but the imam won’t, for you wearing jilbabs and hijab because it is easier than not, you who want to and you/ who are tired
of talking about it all again, you in short skirts, crop tops, in lime green abayas,/for you in all black, for you who know how to cover up a black eye before the halaqa, for the times you wondered if rape counts as zina, and if
it’s double sins because it happened inside the ummah,/ for you who cut yourselves open to feel something already lost, /for you who skip prayers to smoke or give happy ending massages to the readily
roused sheikhs who pay for your living, those blessers, those sponsors / for you who don’t pray unless reciting al fatiha during sex, who don’t want to talk about sex,/ you holding hands
in malls not because you’re cousins but because you find love in it, you who find revelation in the lines of your sweaty palms after reading poetry, playing music, singing more than nasheeds, this is for you/ who want more
than taqwacore/ who are stuck somewhere between night visions and dance clubs,/ you struggling to fuse worlds apart into peace be upon you and
pieces be into me, inches, six, seven, eight/ you who experience violence & refuse to say allahumma batik lahu, who never got to say mashallah because nothing inspires, never felt like saying allahu akbar
after taharrush, after haram/ who aren’t humble or thankful or patient, for you/ who are sick of your shit but are too exhausted to say it, surviving on the intimacy of inshallahs with spirits
too ancient to understand the separation of god/ and growth, whose faith has grown too delicate to have thrown back on your faces, whose faith
is too cosmic, too raw, too magical, too magnificent, too pure, too yours, too tethering, too nothing, too everything, to you, to have thrown back on your faces, for you/ this is