Welcome to 2011! This edition of the roundup is bittersweet, with religious exploitation, voices of change, spiritual revivalism, and racecars.  Here’s to hoping that this year will be great, filled with positive outcomes, bridge building, reduction in world suck and more totally awesome Muslim women kicking ass.

As always, if you come across anything of interest regarding Islam, Muslim women or Muslims in general and would like me to review it, answer questions, or just comment on it here, flip it to me via: w00dturtl3 [at] gmail [dot] com.

  • A man dressing like a blueberry hijabi is wanted by Ottawa police after a string of bank robberies. Wearing a blue jilbab and a matching blue headscarf that he uses to hide his mouth and nose while demanding cash from tellers, the man is otherwise described as dark-skinned, 5’4 with a slim build, dark eyes and bushy eyebrows. While wearing religious garments to commit robberies is not something the police see every day, they’re not calling his methods “bizarre.”Hopefully this also means he’s not going to ruin hijab for the rest of us.
  • The Gaza Youth Manifesto for Change speaks for itself:

    We are youth with heavy hearts. We carry in ourselves a heaviness so immense that it makes it difficult to us to enjoy the sunset. How to enjoy it when dark clouds paint the horizon and bleak memories run past our eyes every time we close them? We smile in order to hide the pain. We laugh in order to forget the war. We hope in order not to commit suicide here and now. We are a generation of young people used to face missiles, carrying what seems to be a impossible mission of living a normal and healthy life…

  • Did you happen to be in Toronto this past week? If so, hopefully you had a chance to go to the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference and Knowledge Retreat. Since 2003, this massive youth initiative has brought the brightest and best scholars to help keep extremism at bay by inspiring, educating and helping instill tolerance:

    This year’s theme, Reviving the 10 Commandments in the Modern World, links the common foundations of Judaism and Islam with speakers touching on how to reintroduce these rules into the moral decisions young Muslims must make. (source)

    We were unable to go this time around, but under the auspice of *shameless plug* The North American Spiritual Revival, the Hubby attended the pre-conference dinner. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf ate at his table and they spent part of the evening talking about teeth and how good dental hygiene not only helps encourage good speech, but the angels like hearing dua’a from a clean mouth. Miswaks for everyone! The Hubby also delivered my special message to the great scholar Sherman Jackson — that I love his work and long to study with him again. *academic swoon*

  • And finally, kicking ass hijabi style: the first Muslim female Formula One Racing Driver, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, knows a thing or two about cars. And speed. And mechanical engineering. AND she coaches a female soccer team called “Shinpads and Hijabs.” This woman has it going on.There’s something about the water in Australia. First it was the Burqini, then it was a professional female fooballer showcased in the Aussie FIFA 2022 bid, and now racecars. Brilliant.