I’ve been extremely wayward with the weekly roundup — but now that Ramadan is right around the corner, I’m hoping this regular feature will pick up again. So since some of the news stories are a little old, consider this a roundup for the month of July.
This week we’ve got a spectacular rundown of some pretty awesome people — including gay allies, activists, superman and ZOMG-Muslims-in-their-natural-habitat: America.
1) This awesome HuffPo article has made some serious rounds. In Why Muslims and the LGBTQ Community should be allies, Interfaith and Community Service Fellow, Chris Stedman, shares how his personal experiences working with the Muslim community have shown him how social exclusion becomes a space for common ground:
It is fear of the unknown that keeps us apart. Telling people that they can’t use the word “gay” in the classroom, or suggesting that Islam isn’t a religion—that it shouldn’t been seen as in the same realm as Christianity and other religions—and that Muslims shouldn’t be able to build a Mosque, prevents us from learning about one another… The time that a friend of mine had her hijab ripped off, and the time I was physically assaulted by a group of men who shouted “fag” at me, share a common root.
I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out “haraaaaaaaam,” and were suddenly silenced.
2) Rapid-fire – Muslim environmental and planetary stewardship:
- What happens why two really crunchy Muslims get together to start a site on serious halal food and animal rights? You get Beyond Halal.
- Meet the Mexican Muslim Tree Huggers.
- Engy Abdelkader at the HuffPo talks about animal rights and Islam.
- I haven’t read it yet, but I’d be remiss not to mention that there’s a new book on environmentalism and Islam, Green Deen: what Islam teaches about protecting the planet. Here’s an awesome image from the site that would send all the “Creeping Shari’a” fearmongers running.
3) Are you looking to get nikkaed? Want to renew your vows with a new marriage contract? Did you LOSE your marriage contract in the move to your new apartment and you’re really upset because you spent two weeks writing it as a progressive document, laying out equality in a lyrical style that was more of a love poem to your new Hubby than just a legal document promising that he’ll cook every weekend and always clean up after dinner? (sigh, where is it?) Why not try out the NEW Muslim marriage contract — tailored especially to better help empower women.
Of course the intention behind the Islamic marriage contract IS to empower women — this initiative however, after several years of consultation and research adds just a little more “oomph” in the ladies’ corner:
The main reforms include removing the requirement for a wali (marriage guardian) for the bride, who, as an adult, can make up her own mind about whom to marry; enabling the wife to initiate divorce and retain all her financial rights agreed in the marriage contract; and encouraging mosques to register to perform marriages (so that they are automatically recognised in British law without a separate civil ceremony)
Make up my own mind? Hooray! Jammie dodgers for everyone!
4) You’ve seen them on the bus, in shopping malls, movies and taxi cabs. You’ve even heard GOPs obsessing over them. You may even live next to one. Now, from the creators of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Hoarding: Buried Alive and Toddlers & Tiaras, comes TLC’s masterpiece of “reality” programming: All-American Muslim.
Answering what it’s really like to be Muslim in America, TV cameras will
sensationalise follow around five Muslim families and exploit capture them living their every-day lives. And just guess where the families come from. C’mon. Guess. Just guess. I’ll give you a hint: there’s a halal McDonald’s on every street corner. Give up? It’s DEARBORN!
I can’t wait! It could go so well. Or be really, really awful.
5) Finally, it’s a bird, it’s a plane… no, it’s the awesome, talented, seriously brilliant, intelligent and funky Fathima Cader! Last week, Cader spoke to Al-Jazeera about the Toronto District School Board Muslim prayer controversy. She kicked some serious ass, and is the only woman I know who could pull off wearing a Superman t-shirt on international television.