contest


*drum roll* Please…

The winners of the Ms. Marvel giveaway are:

*confetti*

Congratulations!

The winners were chosen based on their comment number and were drawn by random.org.

I’ve contacted them via email and will be sending them their comic shortly.

Thanks to everyone who played along!

We're all superheroes!

We can all be superheroes!

When I first heard the news that a Muslim woman was the new face of Ms. Marvel, I was beyond excited. For the first time in years, I finally had a great excuse to walk into a comic book store, breathe in the ink and paper, and look at more than just the Doctor Who action figures. Finally, a comic about self discovery, super powers and fighting injustice that not only deal with issues of religion, race and identity — but celebrated the first Muslim heroine to headline her own major series!

What’s not to love?

The first issue opens with Kamala Khan, a teenage Pakistani-Muslim American, complaining about how everyone else around her gets to be “normal” — which in Kamala’s mind means being able to go to parties, be free from dietary restrictions, cultural expectations, and traditional gender roles.

Like many teens (and adults!), the poor girl doesn’t know who she wants to be, or how to become that person — and soon realizes that rejecting her morals and being something she’s not is horribly exhausting.

Kamala’s story is similar to many superhero narratives where an unpopular kid is suddenly granted an empowering and amazing transformative ability — literally. After disobeying her parents in order to attend a party, she’s exposed to a strange and mystical fog that grants her the power to change her body into anything she wants.

She wakes from the experience to find that she’s transformed into a stereotypical, blond bombshell superhero — complete with a revealing, sexy spandex costume. And while she painfully fluctuates between her true self and the stereotype, she wonders why she still doesn’t feel strong or beautiful — even though she’s become exactly what she thinks is strong and beautiful.

When her intimidating popular classmates show up, she feels incredibly uncomfortable – like she has to become someone else to be accepted by those around her. And to escape the feeling that she’s now trapped in a body that she doesn’t identify with, she shrinks to the size of an insect. Then, when a classmate is in danger of drowning, she embraces her new powers and saves the day.

Kamala quickly learns that looking the way female super heroes are normally portrayed in comic books and in movies (with epic wedgie-inducing leotards), doesn’t actually make her more confident. What’s meaningful to her and her sense of Self is having the ability to rush to someone’s aid. It’s not the costume that makes someone a hero, but the desire to help others: To save one life is to save all humanity.

In the second issue, Kamala embraces more of her internal superhero without compromising her morals (cue modest costume). But what I really love about the writing and issues of representation, exclusion and identity, is that it’s not coming off as inauthentic. This iteration of Ms. Marvel is creating characters that move beyond the overrepresented, negative stereotypes of Muslim women in a new and exciting way.

Kamala is geeky. She loves the Avengers. She’s short. She’s so much more than a Muslim stereotype.

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And in the third issue, when she’s not taking on super villains, she’s taking challenging barriers.

The fact that she’s dealing with issues like Muslim-American identity, mosque inclusion, and struggling with her faith is important – and not because Muslims should be airing their dirty laundry for mainstream community discussion. But because when it comes to representation, we’re frequently told that Muslim women are oppressed.

Kamala Khan shows us otherwise — and by doing so, sets the scene that there is no reason Ms. Marvel can’t be Pakistani or Muslim (or short and geeky too).


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Winners to be announced shortly.

Thank you to everyone for participating.

It took me WEEKS to find a comic store who’s still ordering the first issue. And I’m happy to say that for this giveaway we’ll have two lucky winners!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a valid email address (either in the comment itself or in the email field when you fill out the comment form).

The two winners will receive one copy of the first issue (third printing) for FREE!

I’ll announce the winners picked at random after the contest closes.

You have until midnight GMT on Friday June 6, 2014 to enter.

Good Luck!

*drum roll* Please…

The winners of the Snow White: An Islamic Tale giveaway are:

*confetti*

Congratulations!

The winners were chosen based on their comment number and were drawn by random.org.

I’ve contacted them via email and I’ll be sending them their book shortly.

Thanks to everyone who played along!

photo 2 (28)Terrified screams rip through a dark forest. Ghostly eyes leer and skeletal branches attack an innocent girl as she runs from a close encounter with death — and she soon falls to the ground sobbing. Later, when several strange “little men” offer her refuge in exchange for cooking and cleaning services, a twisted old woman tricks her into eating poison and she enters a death-like state. In revenge, the men chase the old woman off a cliff and hold a wake for the poor girl. While they mourn her, a charming, handsome, prince wakes her with a kiss and she happily falls into his arms.

It’s not the Snow White I remember from my childhood, so I was pretty shocked when watching it again in preparation for this post. But then again, the only things I really remember from Disney’s 1937 movie version were the seven dwarves happily singing “Heigh-ho,” Dopey’s big ears, and the famous kiss from Prince Charming.

Both the Grimm tale and Disney’s retelling are incredibly dark — filled with death, attempted cannibalism, sorcery, deception, attempted murder, torture and in the Disney version, child molestation. No really. Disney’s Snow White is 14 years old and the kiss to wake her was totally made up just for the movie.

In my review last month of Cinderella: An Islamic Tale, I spoke a little about the problems of princess culture. Snow White was Disney’s first princess, and she set the bar pretty high for an entire industry that includes a massive amount of marketing and story-telling over the past 80 years. But the life lessons we can glean from this particular story are less than positive.

Despite my respect for Snow White as a lovely person with an awesome voice and amazing power to communicate with animals, I’m not a fan of her story’s framing — which includes teaching that it’s okay to be with a man you barely know, and who kisses you when you are incapable of giving your consent; people with different forms of dwarfism are just for comedic relief; being a damsel in distress will help you in all aspects in life; wish really hard and you’ll get everything you want without working for it; and your beauty is your only worth, as evidenced by the fact that people will either kill you or love you for it.

So yet again, I was absolutely thrilled to read Fawzia Gilani’s, Snow White: An Islamic Tale. And while this book wasn’t necessarily written as an alternative to Disney, it’s how I’ve approached it, as I know how influential princess culture can be and how important it is to have Muslim representation and alternatives in children and young adult literature. And as the author shared with me through private correspondence:

“I am acutely aware that our children live in a world where there is a hegemony of secularism and a breeding of Islamophobia. Islam is an emancipatory way of life, if we can demonstrate that through stories, I think it’s a good thing.”

(more…)

*drum roll* Please…

The winners of The Wudu Cling are:

*confetti*

Congratulations!

The winners were chosen based on their comment number and were drawn by random.org.

I’ve contacted them via email and they will be receiving their gift from MyIslamicLife shortly.

Thanks to everyone who played along. Stay tuned for another exciting giveaway coming up soon!

wudu

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Winners to be announced shortly.

Thank you to everyone for participating.

(more…)

*drum roll* Please…

The winners of the Toddler Tales book series giveaway are:

*confetti*

Congratulations!

The winners were chosen based on their comment number and were drawn by random.org.

I’ve contacted them via email and they will be receiving their book shortly.

Thanks to everyone who played along. Stay tuned for another exciting giveaway coming up in May!

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