Well folks, the weekend is over, but I managed to sneak in a Muslim roundup! This week we’ve got a whole pile of Muslim women kicking ass, breaking down stereotypes, and one doing the Gangnam horse riding move while driving and rocking her mobile in her hijab. Fierce.
1) Now this is a story all about how, my burqa got flipped, turned upside down! And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you about an Afghan rapper and her hair.
In an exciting article, the Huffpo covers (har har) the debut of Sosan Firooz, Afghanistan’s first female rap artist and her song, “Our Neighbors” which has just been released on YouTube.
According to the article, Sosan is breaking traditional rules for women — she’s also a television actress and recently performed at a music festival in Kabul (under segregated conditions of course). And she’s literally making history by letting her words and her hair flow freely.
She sings about repression of women, her hopes for a peaceful Afghanistan and the misery she says she experienced as a small child living in neighboring Iran… “We want an end to all cruelty against women and children,” Firooz chants.
Unfortunately, some of her relatives have shunned her — leading her mother to be careful about mentioning Sosan’s budding career and her father taking on the role of bodyguard. Both are fantastically proud of her. She’s just breaking into the music scene — so the best of luck to you my dear!
2) Another woman debunking the oppressed Muslim woman myth is the kick ass muslimah Hiba Akhtar who lays the smackdown on some of the larger assumptions about hijab. In her fantastic piece “to the woman who called my friend a “RAGHEAD” as she walked down the street,“Hiba addresses racism, modesty, diversity of Muslim women, and even “anti-slut shaming” and body policing:
Women like my mom, like my old teachers and others in the Muslim community where I live, cover completely by choice. They have careers, they vote, they own property and raise kids and basically kick ass. They consider America to be their country, and, if you told them to leave, they’d probably curse you out in their mother languages and threaten to hit you with an all-American baseball bat. And this is the beauty of America.
…Questioning and establishing dialogue opens the doors tolerance and understanding, two things women in America need more than ever if influential men are going to continue spreading ignorant shit about our very bodies and who we are.
My hijab is literally shaking like a pom-pom. Massive virtual high-five!
3) I’m a little late to the game, but I recently came across the absolutely breathtaking work of Kiana Hayeri. The Iranian-born photographer came to Canada (w00t!) to pursue her secondary studies and soon discovered that a camera could not only transcend language barriers, but tell a story by framing it with social commentary.
Kiana is determined to use her camera to give the Western world a glimpse of a side of Iran that the media does not cover. Her project that’s received the most attention is Your Veil is a Battleground. On the juxtaposed images of women veiled and unveiled for Phase Two of the project, Kiana explains:
Phase Two explores the different ways young Iranian women choose to wear the veil. Hijab is implemented as a fashion element, accompanied with distinctive makeup and colorful headscarves. Young women use these elements to empower themselves and to make a statement. One might argue that the makeup itself, is also a form of veil.
You can find more of her amazing work on her blog.
4) And winner of “why is this even news,” a Canadian, gay, Athiest, octogenarian, activist, retired zoologist has left Omar Khadr $700 in his will. Jack Hallam of Salt Spring Island hopes Khadr can put the money toward his education now that he’s been repatriated to Canada after spending a decade in Guantanamo Bay.
Hallam said he has set aside $700 for Khadr because he thinks the Toronto-born man has been treated badly by both the American and Canadian governments.
“I think the young man has been treated abominably,” Hallam told The Canadian Press on Saturday.
I’m not sure what’s more strange: media pointing out that Hallam is a gay Atheist or thinking that $700 will make a dent in the average Canadian tuition (but it’s a really sweet gesture).
In slightly related “why is this news” news: detainees in Gitmo may or may not have kittens. Or they just might have a case of the “draconian censorship blues.”
5) Finally, for your viewing pleasure, I give you Egyptian Gangnam style: Life is a big bowl of salad (with at least one avocado). My hijab for a proper translation!