Happy Ontario Civic long weekend! We’re off to the beach and Carabana today — and since Ramadan is literally right around the corner, I thought this week’s roundup could be a little festive. So we’ve got happy stories on three things that define Islam: Ramadan, hijab and Yemeni women.

Enjoy!

1) Interested in showing off your Muslim pride this month? Why not go for some Allah bling, Ramadan Kareem cards, a new string of tasbeeh, or buttons to let everyone know what you’re really up to this month?

Etsy is always filled with fun, creative and crafty products. I’m not surprised that it’s flooded with Ramadan-inspired frivolities and keepsakes!

And if you want creative and snarky cards to gift your friendly neighbourhood Muslim, check out some of these choice ecards:

Hat tip to the amazing Asiah Kelley.

2) Speaking of Ramadan, two prolific and brilliant ladies from Altmuslimah, Asma Uddin and Shazia Kamal, write about proper etiquette during this holy month of fasting:

The Greeting. The next time you find yourself in line for the copier with your Muslim colleague, feel free to wish him or her “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem” or simply “Happy Ramadan.” We absolutely love it when people acknowledge Ramadan and are happy about it.

Halitosis. While God may tell us that the breath of the one fasting is like “fragrant musk” to Him, we know that you’re not God – and aren’t enjoying it. Understand why we’re standing a good foot away from you when speaking or simply using sign language to communicate.

Ramadan is a time for community and charity. There are iftar dinners held at mosques every night (you are welcome to join the fun – even if you’re not fasting!) and night time prayer vigils throughout the month. We give charity in abundance and make an extra effort to partake in community service.

What can I say? Funny, informative and fresh. You can read the whole thing at the Washington Post. While you’re at it, check out Asma’s The Role of Men in Religious Terrorism at Altmuslimah.

3) And just in time for Ramadan, it’s finally been announced that South African cricket bowler Wayne Parnell has converted to Islam. Reports say that he converted back in January and is unofficially changing his name to Waleed, meaning ‘newly born.’

(though, there’s nothing wrong with Wayne. It means ‘wagon-maker’ or ‘driver.’ That’s cool too)

The Tribune manages to report that Waleed’s Muslim team manager and team mates had no influence on his conversion, and that he’ll continue to respect the team’s endorsement of alcoholic beverages. Classy. I’m sure he’ll also be the focus of special attention when he plays Sussex while fasting insha’Allah.

Hey, mabrook bro! Welcome to the family.

4) Hijabs, hijabs and no more hijabs.

The Edmonton Journal has a cute new feature. ‘Welcome to my Wardrobe’ is a bi-monthly peek into the closets of Edmontonians known for their style savvy. This week they’re profiling Mona Ismaeil, a  Grade 5 teacher at the Edmonton Islamic Academy with a weakness for animal prints and high heels:

Ismaeil sees her hijab as a giant “Ask Me” sign for Islam, which she says is much more diverse than most people think it is.

“I wear it as an outward expression of my faith,” she says. “I want people to ask me about it — about the hijab, about Islam, about fasting, about everything about our religion.”

Girlfriend has a massive collection of Abayas. Which she totally rocks, by the way.

The very beautiful HAUTE HIJAB has an awesome post on 5 great ideas for organising your hijab collection. My vast collection of scarves are spilling out of my sock drawer and into the baby’s (unused) crib. I can barely open it without having at least 10 scarves fly out at me. The cramped space also promotes wrinkling and odors — and no one wants to smell like moth balls. So this post is particularly revolutionary for simply suggesting hangers and an over the door shoe rack. Simple. Clean. Pretty. There’s pictures too!

And eHow has a new instructional article on how to take off hijab once you’ve worn it. This is something women sometimes agonise and struggle over — fearing rejection and reprisals from their friends, family and community and possibly dealing with personal, religious guilt.

eHow gives taking off hijab a “Moderate” difficulty rating. It’s unfortunately, not as simple as just following a 5-step plan.

5) Finally, Yemeni women kicking ass.

We’ve got Zahra al-Harazi (a distant cousin on my husband’s side twice removed.. or the cousin of his cousin’s in-law… Whatever! Same region of origin in Yemen), who is a finalist in Chatelaine’s 2011 Woman of the Year! Go check out why she’s extraordinary.

And NPR has a fascinating piece on the photography of Amira Al-Sharif, who is working on a project documenting the lives of American women and comparing them with the lives of Yemeni women. Check it out.

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