It’s the Big Brother edition of the roundup — but we’re not talking quirky personalities forced to fight it out in a secluded mansion. No, more like Nineteen Eighty-Four with the harassing TSA, government marketing, and werewolves! Eastasia FTW!

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

1) Southwest Airlines has apologized after removing a woman in hijab from a San Diego flight. Irum Abbasi, mother of three, grad student, US citizen and cell phone user was trying to get rid of a telemarketer during the boarding, pre-flight check and said, “I’ve got to go” into her cell phone before hanging up. A flight attendant misheard her say, “It’s a go,” freaked out, told the captain that she found a suspicious passenger, delayed the flight to allow for TSA agents to board the plane and escort a very terrified and upset Irum Abbasi to secondary screening. Where they patted down her hijab, ignored her purse and cell phone, told her there was a misunderstanding and made her miss the flight.

Abbasi, who is originally from Pakistan, said the verbal apology “doesn’t make me feel better. This time they said we weren’t comfortable with the head scarf. Next time, they won’t be comfortable with my accent or they won’t be comfortable with my South Asian heritage.” (source)

She’s been compensated with a free flight voucher. How nice. Makes fear mongering that much easier to swallow. In other news, the same day as Irum’s incident, the prayers of three Orthodox Jews  freaked out Alaskan Airlines staff, who locked down the cockpit and escorted them off the flight.

2) April is almost here! And you know what that means: butterflies, spring showers, hard-boiled eggs, Easter chocolate, tulips and the enforcement of the France niqaab ban!

To gear up for April 11, 2011, the French government has started a public information campaign — distributing 100,000 handbills, and 400,000 pamphlets reminding people of the crime of “covering up one’s face in the public space.” So no more using medical or funny rubber masks, dressing up as bank robbers, ghosts, cowboys, playing peek-a-boo, wearing winter scarves, and oh yes, burqas. There’s also a nifty rabble rousing website reminding citizens that “hiding your face undermines the minimal demands of social life,” (like speaking or eating spaghetti in public) or the patriotic “The Republic lives with its face uncovered” (unless she has SARS).

But don’t fear — you can still do all of those things in your home, on your property, in your garden, in your car, and any other private designated area.

3) Wanting to learn more about Islam and experience life as a Muslim, the Reverend Steve Lawler decided to study the Qur’an, pray five times a day, fast for a week, and give up alcohol and pork — for Lent. Two days into his experiment, Lawler was told he would face punitive actions from the Episcopal Church if he continued with the rituals.

“I believe what he’s trying to accomplish or says he’s trying to accomplish, which is to deepen his understanding of Islam, is admirable,” the bishop said. “But you dishonor another faith by pretending to take it on. You build bridges by building relationships with neighbors who are Muslim.”

I don’t know about this one. The reverend isn’t researching for a newspaper article — he’s looking to understand another faith group. Is it dishonourable? Pretending? Neat? Respectful?

4) Blogger Mona Kareem has gathered a series of statements from the Saudi Women Revolution online writings and published an English translation of them on her blog. Saying:

After the recent importance of Social Media in creating change in our societies, a lot of Saudi women have been active on Twitter through the hash tag #SaudiWomenRevolution to write their demands of applying social equality in Saudi society, giving examples and telling stories on the injustice they are facing in their society.

Check out the link above, search the hashtag, or join the discussion on Facebook.

5) Finally, if you rooted for Team Jacob, or enjoy running through a scary forest at night in a red pleather dress, or if you just enjoy wearing red lipstick, and you happen to fall down and become surrounded by wolves… have no fear, HIJAB IS HERE!

Actually, the quote is, “Hijab… Confidence & Security.”

Also, a quick glance while in hijab quickly disperses any group of males who were going to secretly videotape you anyway. But you’re wearing hijab, so that’ll scare them off.

Today’s lesson: all men are wolves. Hijab will save you from a fantastic urban fantasy. Red lipstick is a no-no because it’s going to stain your nice white hijab.

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