Welcome to the happy, spirit of the holidays edition of the roundup.  We’ve got one humbug, a scrolling message of peace, a Muslim Woman of the Year, and a warm and fuzzy video to bring happy tears to your eyes.

Enjoy!

  • Maggie Gilmour at The Star kind of presents both sides of a *nearly* non-existent niqab debate in Canada, saying:

    The burqa and niqab represent a tradition that views women as sexual objects, temptresses who, with the flash of an ankle, can bring men (weak creatures incapable of resisting this temptation) to their knees. It’s a repugnant value system and I reject it. So should all Canadians who embrace secular feminism. So let’s ban the burqa, the niqab, and while we’re at it, the hijab.

    Ouch. Humbug to you too.

  • The New York Times has a lovely article on Bay area Muslim artists who are using their craft to bridge Islamic and American traditions and cultures.  Playwrights, online magazine editors, hip hop record labels, and crafty home-made decorations are just a taste of how the Bay Area’s Muslim population ‘creates synergies’ through new art forms, breaking ethnic molds, and reclaiming the Muslim American narrative.
  • Have you heard of the brilliant Somali Dr. Hawa Abdi?  If you haven’t, here’s your chance to find out just how amazing she is. Being Glamour’s woman of the year is nothing compared to what Dr. Abdi and her daughters have accomplished. A practicing OB/GYN, with a law degree on the side, Dr. Abdi has confronted armed Somali militias, runs a 400-bed hospital, shelters about 90,000 displaced people from the civil war on her farmland, started a school mainly for girls, runs literacy and health programs for women as well as programs to discourage FGM, and runs a tiny jail to incarcerate men who beat their wives. Masha’Allah!
  • Muslim for Peace have a scrolling marquee ad in the middle of Times Square. Against a green backdrop, icons of a heart, the American flag, and a dove, this holiday message from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community reads: Muslims for Love, Loyalty and Peace.  About the campaign, Nushrat Qadir says,

    I really would hope that people will remember and keep in mind that Islam is a religion of peace, its teachings are of peace and that’s what it means, and that a few extremists do not represent all of us.”

    Qadir is also urging Muslims of all Islamic sects to join the campaign. “It takes more than just simply stating, ‘I denounce terrorism,'” she said. “You’ve got to do more. You’ve got to educate your youth, you’ve got to reach out to your community. You’ve got to go to all people and areas, and make sure that they have the proper understanding and teachings of Islam.”

  • Singapore declares a 182-year-old replica of a dargah to be a national heritage centre.  Built around 1828 by Chulia Tamil Muslims, the dargah is a replica of the original shrine of the Sufi saint, Shahul Hamid, found in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. It’s claimed thatShahul Hamid helped spread Islam to India.
  • Last month I linked to the story about Inuvik’s “Little Mosque on the Tundra” — the heart-warming tale of a mosque built in Manitoba, that traveled over 4,000 km to benefit a community of just over 80 people.  Nilufer Rahman has put together a wonderful photo video essay showcasing the Mosque’s triumphant arrival and the community that has come together to make it happen.
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