roundup


This week’s roundup is a little bit of a mixed bag. I’ve come down with yet another cold and perhaps it’s the extra lemon and honey that’s got me finding strange stories. Or maybe it’s just the Media just talking about Muslims again.

Yeah, after reading about Muslim women models, non-threatening Muslims, and left-field fatwas, I’m going with option #2.

Enjoy!

1) So, if a Muslim woman can win the Miss USA beauty pageant, why is it such a stretch of the imagination when a Muslim Modelling Agency splashes on the scene?

Launching during New York Fashion Week, UNDERWRAPS aims to become the first global agency representing the Muslim Female Fashion Model. Fashionista covers this story with an in-depth interview with fashion designer and founder of UNDERWRAPS, Nailah Lymus:

“[Muslim models] come from a background where they dress Islamically appropriate, but to be in this industry and to be a model you kind of have to forfeit that,” Lymus said. “That’s why I wanted to start this agency, so you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to lose who you are to be in this business.”

Natch, the Islamofashionsphere on Facebook and Twitter are all buzzing over the absolute paradox a Muslim modelling agency creates.

I see no contradiction between fashion and modesty. Muslim countries have hundreds of successful Muslim designers creating modest (and not so modest) styles for the discerning (and not so discerning) Muslim woman. Why not start another fashion trend leaning toward modesty from within the industry itself? As the tagline for the agency says: UNDERWRAPS – creating a fusion for inclusion.

(hey wait a second… sounds like creeping shari’a to me!)

*gasp* could you imagine a modest American Apparel? The mind boggles.

2) A group of professional Muslims have joined together to create the first annual Muslim English Spelling Bee! Registration is now open and apparently schools from across America will be joining in to host this event sometime in March or April. It’s theme is “connecting communities through eduction” and is open to Muslim students in public, private, home and Islamic scools.

With Muslims already participating (and *cough* winning) America’s national spelling bees… I just have to ask: WHY?

3) In response to the media fallout over the Shafia murder trial, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada has issued a fatwa against honour killings and domestic abuse. Apparently the fatwa was issued in my city probably at a mosque I frequent, though I had to read about it in the news…

Actually, I’m not sure why we need a fatwa, seeing that honour killing and domestic abuse already are against Islamic teachings…

Wait a second, who on earth is the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and why are they issuing fatwas in the non religious state of Canada?

Ok, sarcasm aside, my hijab goes off (oops!) to any imam who speaks against domestic violence and honour killings — especially when there are those who believe they have the religious right.

But here, instead read this amazing piece on the media sensationalizing the Shafia case and race on BitchMedia.

4) The New York Times covers the release of a new report claiming that terrorism by Muslim Americans is “a minuscule threat to public safety.” The report also finds that there is no single ethnic group dominating the 20 American Muslims charged in violent plots or attacks against America in 2011. In fact, 40% are converts.

*crickets*

Yeah. I don’t have much to say about this one.

(we told you so?)

5) Finally, lets end the weekend with a supurb little documentary outlining the contribution of Muslim Women in Europe. Former MTV host Kristiane Backer, female boxer Ambreen Saddique, leading Astrophysicist Rim Turkmani and more show us how they are Muslim Women of Influence.

It’s a short and (mostly) visual roundup today.

Sometimes there are just no (written) words when (moving) pictures can say it all.

Enjoy Muslims just being real!

1) Maryam Ismail has an interesting take on a recent panel discussion held during the opening of Sadaf Sayed’s iCover exhibition at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

Responding with “the modern Muslim woman is who she chooses to be” Ismail asks:

Where did this image of the oppressed Muslim woman come from and when will this battle against it stop? … Today, it seems there is the idea that under one’s hijab lies some mystical inner working, one that needs to be covered up by another layer of normality…

Why should it be a special event if a woman who wears a hijab decides to be a fencer or a ballerina? Is it out of the realm of faith? Some may not think so and others may not care. Then, there may be another premise: that wearing the hijab will show the world that Muslim women have arrived. However, I think that if this is the case, they may end up being the oldest debutantes at the ball.

Match point.

I have to say that I LOVE seeing awesome, strong Muslimahs rocking out in their hijab. But do I love them because they mirror what I do on a Friday night, or because they apparently SMASH current stereotypes of the submissive veiled (groan) woman?

Muslimah’s shouldn’t need a surfboard or a boxing glove to augment their hijab just to be considered normal. Discuss.

2) What is this? –>>

I think it’s a lovely, albeit unfortunate piece of Islamic Calligraphy.

What do YOU think it is?

Find out how community members’ dirty minds won the right to deface their mosque, and read more hilarious awkwardness at Wajahat Ali and Aman Ali’s new project: Hair in New Places.

(seriously… WHAT were they THINKING?!)

3) Wondering what REAL Muslims looks like. Without the pressures of hijabs, beards, surfboards or boxing gloves?

Interested in seeing just plain, normal, fantastic, boring, amazing, neighbourly humans who happen to be Muslim?

Well now you can with Todd Drake’s “Muslim Self Portraits” project profiling (haha) Muslims in North Carolina and Manama, Bahrain “to create self-portraits that share real, rather than seeming, reflections of self to a wider audience.”

4) And unless you’ve taken a self-imposed holiday from any form of social or digital media, you just might have heard about the Sh*it People Say meme that’s sweeping teh internetz.

Naturally, Muslims had to get on board.

I give you:

And my personal favourite, Stuff Hijabis Say:

 

You can’t argue with “is my hair showing?” “what is up with the drama in the MSA?” gritting your teeth through auntie interrogation and getting your dance on to Nari Narien!

Happy weekend everyone — here’s a new roundup for your reading pleasure.

This week we’ve got a mix of serious and whimsical pieces — from honour killings and HIV in the Muslim community to awkward parental sex talks and female whirling dervishes.

Enjoy!

1) Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, co-editors of the upcoming anthology Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, are just splashing all over the place with a little tongue-in-cheek and some wink-wink-nudge-nudge — if you know what I mean. In a fun piece on the HuffPo, these brilliant ladies expose the fact that due to his swarthy good looks and heroic treatment of Muslims in the Media, Muslim females everywhere are spending their nights with John Stewart from the Daily Show.

But can Muslim women really love Jon Stewart, who is — gasp! — Jewish? Honestly, that makes it even better. The Daily Show‘s Senior Muslim Correspondent Aasif Mandvi may be a suitable boy to bring home to our parents, but the element of forbidden fruit makes Jon all the sexier. (And, we suspect our moms might have a thing for Jon too.)

You damn well better believe it.

The HuffPo also published an exert from the above mentioned Love, InshAllah. Deliciously titled “The Birds, the Bees, and My Hole,” Zahra Noorbakhsh expresses how her mother’s straight-forward-but-not-so-helpful sex talk changed the way she related to her jeans and her male friends.

It’s a fantastically bitter-sweet story. Girl finishes high school and celebrates with a group of friends by going to the movies. One of those friends is a boy! Uh-oh! Watch the drama unfold when Mama finds out:

“Zahra, you have a hole. And for the rest of your life, men will want to put their penis in your hole. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, who is your ‘friend.’ Even at the movies, maman jaan, wherever—it does not change. Ri-anne seems like a very nice man, but he is a man. And all he wants is your hole. So, I will pick you up here at five o’clock. Have fun, maman jaan,” she said.

*shudder* I hated the sex talk I had with my dad. I think I blocked 98% of it out while he awkwardly talked about me not “giving IT away.” Ugh.

2) The Muslim community in Eastern Ontario has been shaken by the Shafia family murder case — where a husband, his second wife and son have been charged with the first degree murder of their three daughters and the husband’s first wife. When the trial first started there were plenty of mud-slinging debates if honour killings are actually a part or not a part of Islam.

It’s a horrific story and an enraging topic, so I’m glad to see people are making an effort to address violence in our community. Writing for the Gazette, Kingston Imam Sikander Hashmi unequivocally states that murder is off-limits in Islam:

For starters, murder is totally off-limits in Islam. Having an affair, a relationship or a boyfriend, not wearing the hijab, and so on – as dishonourable as these may be considered – are not cause for murder. Murder is prohibited to the severest degree and cannot be justified in any way, especially for girls who are under the care of their parents.

3) Joe Bradford, imam of the Islamic Center of North East Florida, blogged about an important consideration for many converts to Islam: changing your name to a more “Muslim” sounding name.

For many, “Muslim sounding” just means Arabizing your current name, or choosing a name based on an Islamic concept, Prophet, or Muslim historical figure. So Joseph becomes Yusuf. Katie becomes Khadija. I suppose you could use an English, French, German, <insert language choice here> translated name — but I’ve never met a Catherine who wanted to be called Faith. She usually chooses Iman.

In his post, Joe relates his struggles to adopt a “Muslim” name and then reclaim his parental-given name — and includes a couple of sweet anecdotes from his teachers along the way:

I appreciate that you have preserved your culture, your dress, your name; it is completely contradictory that we say Islam is a universal religion, and then tell people to choose Arabic names, eat Arabic food, and dress like Arabs. Sure we have regulations for dress, but that the how to wear, not the what to wear. Be you, that is the best example you can be; you’ll do more for Islam that way. Both Muslims and other faiths should know that we can have a person of knowledge named Joe; that is the universal nature of Islam.

Awwww! Love.

4) The HIV magazine Positively Aware has a brilliant article on a Chicago workshop which addressed “The Homophobia and Stigma Endured with being Gay, Muslim, and Living with HIV.” Three speakers relate their personal accounts and discuss the lack of HIV support in Muslim communities, experiencing Islamophobia or racism from non-Muslim service providers, and the need to  bring these stories to light.

It’s an uphill battle against an entrenched attitude that makes open discussion about homosexuality taboo among most Muslims. In fact, almost the same words of condemnation that appear in the Bible also appear in the Quran. Boyd acknowledges that the judgment and rejection can be “really psychologically damaging.” Just having someone with whom to talk about it openly is a great relief.

Read it. It’s important. Nobody in the community should have to hide.

5) And finally, what do you get when you put a 13th century Muslim mystic together with a bunch of contemporary women? A whirling colourful display of awesome dervishes!

Happy Friday everyone! It’s the last roundup of the year and while I though the Muslim news would be a little slow, we’ve got plenty of snark, *head desk*, bad hijab, and great hijab stories.

I’m looking forward to news items in 2012 which may include such gems as: “World doesn’t end in 2012. Muslims still think it’s 1433!” and “Muslim Women Call For More Female Imams Within Their Communities

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Like ZOMG guys! Hijab makes so much more sense now!

1) Why does the Media insist on creating illustrations desperately trying to simplify and explain the innumerable diverse religious and personal expressions four types of Muslim “head gear”?

This illustration appeared on an article in the National Post, reporting on the political reaction to the Quebec government’s decision to allow female prison guards to wear hijab. Because you know, the hijab (as “championed by the Muslim Brotherhood”) is just Step One in the slow Islamification of our correctional system. Before you know it, the traffic cop ticketing your car will be in burqa!

At least this is better than the BBC’s illustration — which shows women becoming significantly more pissed off and darker in skin colour, as more cloth hides their faces.

2) Awww, the Media isn’t all THAT bad — not when you have Mark Steel, a man with possibly the best natural superhero name, taking on false media reports about Muslims.

In an op-ed for the Independent, Mark Steel dishes out a whole lotta snark in response to The Sun’s admittance that some of their reporting on Muslims is… “distorted.” Noting that some stories are in fact complete fabrications, Mark Steel suggests:

But if reporters are allowed to make up what they like, [they] should be disciplined for displaying a shocking lack of imagination… there was a story about “Muslim thugs” in Windsor who attacked a house used by soldiers, except it was another invention. But with this tale the reporter still claims it’s true, despite a complete absence of evidence, because, “The police are too politically correct to admit it.”

This must be the solution to all unsolved crimes. With Jack the Ripper it’s obvious – he was facing the East End of London, his victims were infidels and he’d have access to a burqua which would give him vital camouflage in the smog. But do the pro-Muslim police even bother to investigate? Of course not, because it’s just “Allah Allah Allah” down at the stations these days.

3) Have you seen the reports on Victoria Jackson’s anti-Islam diatribe on her web-show “Politichicks?” Like, have you actually sat down to watch just how much the former SNL actress is full of horrific, ridiculous, ignorant cow-pies? After a 6 hour briefing on Islam and how the Muslim Brotherhood has “infiltrated the highest positions in government,” she had this to share with the world:

Islam is our enemy. Islam is not a religion of Peace. That’s a lie. It’s called taqiyya — and you’re allowed to lie for Allah.

And if you can actually get through the 11 minutes of putrid hate you might even learn that we also practice “Civilization Jihad” — where we creep into society and turn Americans against each other. Or that 1/7th of our zakat “goes to jihad… you know, murder.” She even “proves” that the “one white, right-wing, Christian extremist” has a Muslim connection. So natch, Timothy Mcveigh was a Muslim Terrorist.

You know, I just don’t have much to say about this. Islamophobia will never get better or go away. It’s just going to get worse.

By the by, 100% of my zakat goes toward women’s shelters. So STFU Vicky.

4) YAY! I get to start the New Year with a new favourite catch phrase: “vaginal vigilantism!”

Nushin Arbabzadah asks the most fundamental question of our time: Why the hell do male imams get to decide how women are supposed to feel? In a piece called, Why are imams telling us about nail polish?

…I saw a bearded imam on the stage preaching through the microphone to the female congregation. He was telling the hundred or so female believers what it meant to be a Muslim woman, as if the women themselves were clueless about this particular matter.

Judging by the women’s almost palpable concentration, they were deeply engrossed in the question, which was fair enough. But why listen to a man who, by virtue of his biological, social and cultural programming, was unable to know what it felt like to be a woman, let alone a Muslim woman – the innocent victims par excellence of this century’s relentless clash of civilisations. The irony of the situation was missed by both the female congregation and, naturally, the imam himself. The bearded man finished the sermon with the words: “And that’s what being a Muslim woman feels like.”

As a good friend recently said to me about imams talking about menstruation, “There are plenty of female scholars. Don’t worry guys. We got this.”

5) Finally, and as I have said time and time again, the Australians have got it going ON!

World News Australia has a cute little piece on Aussies sharing “Islamic fashion” online.

I want to shop at the Hijab House in a mall and be a hijabista too!

Oh baby it’s cold outside — so grab some tea and a “holiday” cookie and warm up to the weekly Muslim roundup.

We’ve got sexy Muslim women, tones of happy hijab stories, and a bunch of Muslim Christmas cheer.

Enjoy!

1) Sounding like it just rolled off the Sex in the City 2  screenplay, the National Post reports on the bOOming lingerie market in Muslim countries.

Behind their more modest street clothes, many women in Arab countries apparently are wearing North American lingerie…

Apparently Muslim women like sex too. And coffee. Shopping. High heels. Food. Chocolate. A nice back rub. Hats. Strawberries and Cream. And those cute finger sandwiches you get only at baby showers. How quaint!

Like Second Cup and Tim Horton’s, Canadian company La Vie en Rose has successfully broken into the Middle Eastern and North African markets — reporting that at least 90% of their Canadian collection is well-accepted in these regions.

Catching a quote from Alia Hogben, Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, the piece ends with:

There’s a common misconception that Muslim women aren’t fashionable or interested in glamorous clothing. The demand for lingerie likely was always there, particularly in the wealthier Arab countries… Just because women cover up in public on the street doesn’t mean that they don’t dress up spectacularly underneath those clothes.

Well said Alia. Well said. In fact, perhaps they don’t dress at all…! Cheeky!

2) Hijab rapid-fire:

3) Fox reports on a man now facing jail time in France for physically assaulting a female nurse who removed his wife’s face veil during an emergency C-section. The husband was first banned from the delivery room after he called the midwife a “rapist” for performing a routine exam — and threatened his wife with divorce when she told him to chillax. He was later arrested when he broke down the door to the operating room and punched a nurse in the face when she removed his wife’s niqab.

He’s been quoted as saying that:

…seeing his wife’s veil lifted in front of a male health worker was like seeing her “bare-chested” in front of another man.

But having her belly exposed and putting his hands inside her body to cut open her womb to save the life of his son and wife is a-OK. Just don’t look at her face.

Poor fellow was probably just a little nervous attending the birth and all that jazz.

4) A Muslim Christmas rapid-fire:

5) Finally, it can’t be Christmas without a little holiday message. Almost everyone on my Facebook list has posted this video — so it must be good.

Happy Friday everyone! ‘Tis the season, and since someone complimented my hijab saying that it was quite “festive,” I’ve decided to do a colourful roundup and save the heavy stuff for another time.

I mean I COULD talk about a new Immigrant guide in Quebec asking newcomers to not cook “smelly foods” or honour kill — but, that’s not only a “Muslim” thing.

And I COULD talk about Tarek Fatah’s horrific, self-hating, over-blown, incorrect, unfortunate understanding of 4:34, anti-Islamic rhetoric on honour killing — but my blood pressure would rise way too high for the health of “the little one.”

And I COULD talk about how Lowes pulled their advertising from TLC’s All-American Muslim because the religious right organised a letter writing campaign saying, “All-American Muslim is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values” — or I could just boycott Lowes. *toothy grin*

In any case, colourful pictures are more fun since I’m so easily amused. Speaking of colourful pictures, do check out Mezba’s FANTASTIC  Lego translation and interpretation of the Qur’an 4:34. Lego makes everything better.

Enjoy!

1) A Muslim cleric residing in Europe has announced that men should not touch, prepare or look at Hershey’s kisses, oranges, melons, avocados, doughnuts or any other food that resemble a woman’s arwah lest they become sexually aroused — is the nutty fatwa I would love to be commenting on today.

Instead, the cleric has suggested that women should avoid carrots, cucumbers and bananas because of their… phallic resemblance. Male relatives should properly cut up the offending fruit and serve their women in order to maintain proper social decorum and to keep women pure of thought.

Thankfully, Egyptian editor Muna Khan (and others) pointed out the ridiculousness of the fatwa — saying that it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt which unfortunately causes the media to jump on absolute nonsense instead of, oh I don’t know, covering “coherent debate on women’s rights in Egypt.”

The cleric also missed listing butternut squash, tamarind and the Washington Monument. Personally, I feel he failed to grasp the absolute irony of not only asking men to do women’s work — but also asking them to literally emasculate themselves by slicing off phallic symbols. Brilliant!

Unsurprising, the whole darn thing was pretty hoaxy to begin with.

(Stop snickering and getting all bothered over the picture. It’s ONLY a grapefruit. Credit.)

2) Inspired after experiencing misdirected Islamophobia, photographer Bharat Choudhary decided to showcase Muslim life in the United States and England — capturing Muslim’s life stories “as a platform to help Muslims and non-Muslims understand each other.”

Check out his gorgeous work, The Silence of Others at TIME Lightbox.

© Bharat Choudhary / The Alexia Foundation Iythar, an Egyptian-British artist, paints at her studio in east London, July 17, 2011. One of her paintings, top-left, is titled, The Way Sarkozy Intended It. “It is an interpretation of the burga ban in France,” she said. “It shows how the ban takes away the voice and identity of Muslim women, leaving them speechless and incomplete.”

Fierce, fierce, fierce!!!

3) I’ve talked about her before, but fencing queen Ibtihaj Muhammad is always welcome on my blog. ESPN has a great little video interview with her mommy — discussing Ibti’s desire to be the first American Muslim female Olympian in her sport.

Here’s what Mama Muhammad had to say about girls and sports:

I want (my girls) to be self-confident. I raised Ibti to be very self-assured. With sports, when you’re good at something, people are drawn to you — they want to be around you, you’re like a magnet. Ibti has made her identity as a fencer and an athlete. People respond to that, and it’s given her confidence.

You can read more of the transcript here (ESPN! Fix your video!)

4) Finally, who can resist auto-tuned nasheeds? Not me! Certainly not when the cute sister-brother team of Dima and Muhammad Bashar are singing away. Making both Eryn and myself get up and dance. Ya haraam!

Oh my goodness, it’s a Thanksgiving miracle! Welcome to the Black Friday edition of the roundup! But instead of talking about what makes Thanksgiving a traditional Muslim holiday, groaning at a right-wing religious gathering calling for the expulsion of ALL American Muslims back to the Middle East, or cheering the outcome of last year’s Mississauga niqab assault case — I’m instead going to do a good olde fashioned blogger link-up to celebrate the amazing pieces I’ve come across recently.

So here’s a list of posts from brilliant, inspiring, touching and thought-provoking bloggers who you should be reading if you’re not already.

If you’ve come across something interesting, or have written something awesome, and want to share it with a new audience, drop it in the comments section for everyone to check out! Everyone is welcome to join in.

Enjoy!

  • If you’re allergic to PDAs, music at weddings, having fun in the dunya, and instead prefer to take a hard path to your Islam, CONGRATULATIONS, you’ve won the More Pious than the Prophet award. In his simply wonderful post, Mezba sardonically tackles what it really means to have absurd expectations of piety.

So, the problem is not God, the conflict is not Islam, but Patriarchy.

I accuse Patriarchy and its violent, sexist and unfair interpretations of divine message to be the real reason for the abuses against Muslim women in the name of Islam;

Patriarchy and its total lack of respect and mercy;

Patriarchy and its fear for social justice

Patriarchy and its suppression of women rights granted in Quran.

I declare Patriarchy as a system not belonging to original Islam; without any comparison to Prophet Muhammad (saw) living example;

Patriarchy, a foreign ideology that pollutes the essence of our religion and twisted interpretations to put a part of humanity – we women- under conditions of inequality, far away from our human rights that have been granted us by God.

  • Nida at PinkMusings has reinvented her blog! Be sure to check out her hilarious,  Paper-Bag-Princess-inspired post, Dear Prince Charming. Poor bloke won’t know what’s hit him when he realises princesses don’t need rescuing.
  • In Project Humanize Muslims, the spectacular Organica interviews 21 amazing Muslims to prove that being awesome, outspoken, liberal, unique, beautifully diverse, highly educated, independent, and successful ARE traits held by Muslims all over the world.
  • Going ga-ga over TLC’s new show All-American Muslim? Think it’s a great way to showcase the Muslim American community? That it’ll actively change the anti-Muslim perceptions currently stampeding across the country? Read Sana Saeed’s review of the show before getting too excited.
  • From the gloomy depths of Arabia… Slithering into unsuspecting hearts… comes a new reality we can no longer ignore: WHITE WOMEN ARE CONVERTING TO ISLAM!!  *GASP* The HORROR! In her fair and excellent appraisal of media coverage on the biggest study to look at Muslim converts, Lara Alamad for Muslimah Media Watch thinks it’s probably best to speak to more than one type of convert to uncover the truth about being a convert to Islam (and before locking up your daughters).
  • Did you change your name to become “more” Muslim after conversion? (I did!) Does “offering” your prayers in Arabic sometimes make you feel disconnected from God, especially when you’ve forgotten what the words mean? (yeppers!) Do you ever wonder why people tsk over you naming your child Noah or Jacob? (not yet anyway) Do you just feel closer to God when calling God, “God” — instead of referring to God as “Allah?” (you betcha!) Well then the Balancing Arabization According to the Qur’an and Sunnah series is for you! Check out all four parts on SuhaibWebb.com.
  • Finally, what good is Thanksgiving weekend without a little turkey. Or in Pamela Geller’s case, a massive, stealth, jihadist, halal turkey! In his hilarious post, Wajahat Ali uncovers that yes, it’s true, while non-Muslims are recovering from their food-induced comas this weekend, American Muslims are transforming America into a radical Caliphate guided by Sharia law. Mu-wahaha-hahaha-haha-ha.

Hello everyone! Hope your weekend was fantastic! It’s a little late, but here’s this week’s edition of the roundup. Now, it may have been the fact that two people were rude to me for no (apparent) reason outside of my hijab, and a third asked me personally to explain why “those people” would praise God for the death of Gaddafi, but something’s got my hijab in a bunch and I’ve let loose on a few hijab-related articles. This week we’ve got: gendered Islamophoboa, hijab and fatigues, hijab for hijab’s sake, and the hawttest hijab.

Enjoy!

Mona Tabesh, Auxiliary Police Constable, wears her totally radical uniform.

1) In a breath of fresh air for religious accommodation, last August the Toronto Police force announced that Muslim female police officers can wear the hijab as part of their uniform if they so wish.

The Media reaction months later? Run for the hills. It’s the Islamization of the Toronto Police force! David Menzies of the Toronto Sun takes it upon himself to pontificate about hijab in the hopes of liberating the poor oppressed Muslim Canadian woman and saving our secular police force from having ham sandwiches banned in the name of religious accommodation.

In a more horrifically racist, incendiary and discriminatory response, Ezra Levant for the Sun spouts:

Imagine you call the police because you believe there’s an honour killing, God forbid, in your neighbourhood — and a police woman shows up with the Toronto Police Service and she’s *gasp* wearing a hijab, the Muslim head covering… *gasp*

I am critical of radical Islam, and if I had a police woman come to me wearing the hijab trying to arrest me, I would say, ‘You’re not arresting me as a cop. You’re arresting me as a radical believer in a radical strain of Islam.‘ I mean what’s next? A full niqab? My view is if you are a secular officer of the law, come and enforce the law. If you want to be a priest or a rabbi or an imam, go to your mosque or church or synagogue.

(Gasping and emphasis added.)

Sweetheart, here’s a newsflash for you: hijab does not equal anything remotely radical (unless you mean totally awesome) and is certainly not even an indication that a woman has entered some kind of restrictive, sacred, insular lifestyle.

I fear for all the former priests who became cops, for every cop who wears a cross, a yarmulke or turban — for certainly they too are radical examples of their faith and will be placed under similar scrutiny. Right? You’re not just engaging in Gendered Islamophobia because you’re being misogynist by jumping at “creeping shari’a” shadows? Right? RIGHT!?!

(ps… don’t reason that because India was colonialized, it makes it “safe” and “okay” for you to accept the turban. That’s outrageously narrow minded and racist.)

2) Instead of slumming it like the Sun, the Toronto Star decided to run a great piece on hijab — where they actually asked women in hijab to talk about their experiences. What a novel concept!

In the very literally titled, Women in hijab say it completes their identity, three young women take a moment to share the reasons why they wear hijab:

To some it is effortless but as essential as “putting on a pair of shoes,” as a hijab-clad woman walking along Toronto’s waterfront said recently. Others do it unwillingly to appease families. “Hijab wasn’t enough for my husband,” says a woman who has since stopped wearing it. “He would have liked niqab (which covers the entire face except for the eyes).”

[But many] hijab-wearers are moved by faith or motivated by political ideals. And some are grateful for the desexualizing effect of a scarf and loose clothing. It makes them less approachable, more “respected,” they say.

Natch! And thanks TorStar for avoiding the always tempting bad veil puns.

3) Ahhh the morning smoke. That lovely time around 11am when you’ve lined up your files from the morning and have a few minutes for a quick puff. Or the afternoon water-cooler gossip about last night’s True Blood episode. Taking a moment to flirt with the deli girls instead of attending to that cleanup in aisle 7? Go for it. But don’t you dare take a moment to perform the Islamic prayer without punching out first.

At least, that’s what Hertz told 26 employees before firing them.

4) After students flipped a car and set it on fire, attacked police officers with beer bottles, caused over $200,000 in drunken, exuberant city damages and after 30 years of growing hysteria around the annual Homecoming event, my Alma Matter canceled Homecoming for five years.

But instead of canceling a Homecoming parade for everyone, fearing mass hysteria and pandemonium due to one itty-bitty hijab, Ravenwood High School in Tennessee instead banned a 14 year old girl from participating. After practicing all week for the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps parade, Demin Zawity was pulled aside by her commanding officer and told that she could not march in hijab, as per Army regulations.

But, women in the Army wear hijab all the time in Afghanistan…

5) Finally, if there is anyone that can make hijab look HAWT, it’s Hana Tajima.

Hana is a YouTube hijab tutorial sensation. I’ve always been a fan of her creative and inventive styles — and straightforward manner of teaching us how to wear hijab. But this video just blows my mind.

Love. Love. Love.

*Wipes dust off*

Oh my. What do we have here? My favourite blog feature resurrected just in time for October! So in honour of my favourite month (after the gorgeous heat of August being another favourite), I thought it was time to see what goodies are out there on teh internetz. In this warm-up edition of the roundup we’ve got a smack down for the budding student of Islamic knowledge, a little Muslim Blue Steel, a nasheed singer turned eco-warrior, and Alice Cooper.

1) Dear Western students of Islam. Do you love Islam and yearn for sound Islamic knowledge? Do you exotify and dream of pure Muslim lands where people glorify the name of the Prophet in every sentence, where Allah is remembered in every gathering, where 7th century living is par for the course? In the face of lacking western spirituality, do you aim to purge your western sensibilities and influences by travelling and studying in Yemen, Syria, Egypt or Jordan — finding the spiritual fulfillment you’ve been searching for?

Well here to burst your bubble and keep your deen firmly on the ground is the truly amazing Suhaib Webb. In a well needed “Letter to the Aspiring Western Student of Islam” Imam Webb provides us with such glittering gems as:

Some people go abroad to study for a number of months or a year or two and then return home with the mistaken impression that they are now fully qualified to join the arena of Islamic scholarly discourse in the West.  I would argue that a person like this is actually more harmful to us as a developing community than someone who hasn’t studied at all.

and

Often, students who study abroad return to the West with baggage of impassioned, unyielding opinions… transferring vitriolic debates to the West…  This is actually quite nonsensical when the average Muslim in the West may be struggling with much more practical elements of their religion such as raising their children with an attachment and love for Islam… dealing with the challenge of wearing Islamic attire or avoiding alcohol in the workplace, and so on, and for whom Ibn Taymiyyah or Ibn al-Arabi have little relevance to their everyday practice of faith.

and

Muslim lands are certainly not perfect, and they have their problems and cultural idiosyncrasies and things that will frustrate and sadden you and drive you crazy…. Many of us have hidden away inside of us this strange sort of guilt, that living in the West is not right, or that it’s not really where we belong.  You will, in your travels, see that Allah has caused you to grow up where and how you did for a reason, and through your travels, He may gift you with experiences that help you appreciate the good and the positives of your homeland that you may have often overlooked.

Smack down! Now go study with the right intentions!

2) Muslim women — challenging stereotypes. Muslim women — owning businesses and owning the fashion industry. Muslim women — freeing themselves from oppressive regimes. And then there’s the Daily Beast saying, Arab models — the New Faces of Islam. Congratulations ladies, you’re challenging Muslim stereotypes with your waist size:

About that same time, in the tourist town of Nabeul, Tunisia, a young woman with the gamine features of Audrey Hepburn was having similarly fanciful thoughts. Hanaa Ben Abdesslem had always drawn lingering glances because of her soaring height and impossibly thin frame. The stares made her self-conscious and shy. But when she flipped through fashion magazines, she’d gaze at those “tall, thin, beautiful women, and I thought perhaps someday I could feel at ease.”

I am absolutely certain there’s more to these women than pointing to how they don’t fit the voluptuous Arab stereotype and therefore, by great extension, they somehow represent a new kind of Islam. Nice try though. Gorgeous pic.

3) “I’m just a rock and everyday I sit and watch the sky. I don’t want to be a bird, ’cause us rocks were never meant to fly. But you can sit and rest on me when you pass by. Alhamdulillah I’m a rock. And that is all Allah asks of me.”

Awww! My Islamic childhood nasheed singer talks about returning to his human roots and living frugally in Pakistan. Natural recycling, schoolwork with chalk, growing organic, eco-warrior and a look into his latest album. Which, like the last few, are decidedly less Islamic and more spiritual in nature.

(I met him once, forever ago, and totally made a fool out of myself. I practically threw an empty glass at him. Long story.)

4) ATTENTION ATTENTION! Muslim leaders call for more women to assume mosque leadership!

I just thought you should know.

5) Finally, Muslim women rock.

Oh hell yes. I remember the first time I picked out my special red and black hijab just so I could rock out at an Alice Cooper concert in style. In this fun article over at the Guardian, Remona Aly talks about how rock music is the perfect genre for naturally rebellious hijab-wearing Muslim women:

Recently, aged 31, I set out in my coolest headscarf to see the best live band in the world: Muse, on their Resistance Tour. I looked around, but spotted not one of my species – an “undercover Muse-lim”, as one friend dubs me. But there are others.

Shabana, a solicitor and mother of three, has listened to rock music for as long as she has worn a headscarf. She has dragged her husband to a Jon Bon Jovi gig; her son has taken up electric guitar. “People are always surprised to find out about my rock collection,” she says. “They take one look at my headscarf and assume I’ll be into choir music!” I know the feeling.

Damn right. You sing it sistah.

I recently learned that Alice came out with his sequel to his seminal work “Welcome 2 My Nightmare” and I am on pins and needles waiting for the Nightmare tour to start. Eryn is going to have a blast. How’s that for challenging stereotypes. /sarcasm.

Good afternoon folks and welcome to the muslim roundup! It’s a little hectic at the wood turtle homestead. We had a birthday and are now gearing up for a trip to Kuwait. Which means a lot of running around for a lot of last-minute preparations. So this alliteration edition of the roundup will be light on commentary. A true rapid-fire Ramadan roundup.

Enjoy!

1) Rapid-fire:

  • Muslims in St. John’s Newfoundland can’t find a place to celebrate ‘Eid. Masha’Allah the community has grown and they’re expecting whopping 350 people. But the mosque is too small and the hotels are all booked out.  Here’s hoping for a Ramadan miracle.

2) Finally, from my hero-of-the-week, a genuine, important-knock-your-hijabs-right-off PSA: THIS!!

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