It’s Halloween! And that means two things: a deluge of articles debating whether or not Muslims should partake in ghoulish activities, and some lazy photoblogging.

Making the rounds on social media outlets everywhere is this wonderful article from my friend, associate and all-around fabulady, Sara Yasin. In Growing up Muslim in America, and dreaming of Halloween, Sara reflects on her devout family banning Halloween, and how she handled eating too much candy and scary haunts when they gave in to her nagging:

Looking back, I remember feeling angry with my parents for not letting me participate in Halloween, but I can now understand where they were coming from. Maybe part of it was about religion, but a bigger part of it was about an anxiety about watching their children turn into strangers.

The always wonderful Omid Safi explores his love/hate relationship with Halloween and a little insight from Rumi in The demons & monsters are us–and so are the angels.

I love the fact that this is the one day of the year in many neighborhoods where people open their doors and receive one another as what we are all along:  neighbors.   And how I wish we would live like this every day, like a real community.  And I wonder what it says about us when we feel comfortable going up to our neighbors only when we are wearing masks.  How did so many of us get so alienated from our neighbors?

I’ve spoken about our participation in Halloween in years past — but my article on Muslim religious and cultural appropriation on Halloween is making the rounds again.

I really don’t understand the intention behind dressing as a religious Muslim or as a “Muslim cultural” stereotype, except perhaps to have the thrill of experiencing what it feels like being an identifiable religious or ethnic minority for a few hours – without any of the prejudice that comes with it. Because after the pumpkin candles go out and the make-up comes off, I’m the one who continues to experience Islamophobia based on what I wear on my head – even if I’m dressed as a character from Dune.

And here’s an amazingly EPIC piece on appropriation and the sexualization of of Halloween from the 2013 Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals (some NSFW language):

I will suck every woman stereotype out of your throats. There’s nothing more frightening than a strong woman monster.

I love Halloween because it presents a perfect opportunity to dress up. And I LOVE dressing up in costume. This year I’ve totally been inspired by Tumblr.

I also did Jack Skellington last week. Nail art is SO much fun.

I also did a set with Jack Skellington last week. Nail art is SO much fun.

From nail art to activism, to recipes and life hacks, I find myself turning more and more to Tumblr to find obscure and original ideas. Like Chocolate Brownie Pumpkin Cheesecake Drizzled with Caramel. Yeah, that amazing cake didn’t last long at all in our house.

"In your satin tights, fighting for your rights." Thanks Wonder Woman.

“In your satin tights, fighting for your rights.” Thanks Wonder Woman.

Gee, I don’t know how it happened, but the girls wanted to be superheroes. We started dressing up last week — flying around the apartment, listening to the Superman and Wonder Woman theme songs. Ivy is in absolute love with the Superman theme and asks for it constantly. Maybe she loves being thrown up in the air, or maybe it means she has an ear for classical music. Maybe she’s just a wonder. Or super.

A little broken. How I'm feeling about returning to work on Monday.

A little broken. How I’m feeling about returning to work on Monday.

Both girls just finished spending the evening giving out candy with their Oma to the handful of children and teenagers who braved the rain. There were even a couple of really excited adults with infants, who obviously put a lot of thought and care into creating their costumes and family memories.

Eryn was particularly excited — and when I asked why she felt so happy giving out candy, she said, “Because some childrens may not have candy. So we give sadaqa!”

We started speaking to her about charity this past ‘Eid ul-Adha and it looks like her heart is in the right place — even on Halloween.

The kids are in bed, the Hubby is away on travel and I have a bowl full of popcorn and a bag of chocolate at my fingertips. Yes, you read that right — an entire BAG of chocolate. This can only mean one thing: it’s time for a Muslim roundup!

It’s a super badass muslimah version of the roundup this week. We’ve got real superheroes, rockin’ muslimahs, some motherhood badassery, and of course, hijab.

Enjoy!

Ilwad and Iman Elman, inside the Elman Peace Centre. Photo credit: Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star.

Ilwad and Iman Elman, inside the Elman Peace Centre. Photo credit: Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star.

1) Real life superheroes live among us.

With hijab fatigues blazing, Canadians Ilwad and Iman Elwad are helping rebuild Mogadishu, Somalia by taking on gender violence and the militant group Al-Shabab. No small feat for these two amazing sisters!

According to the Toronto Star, about three years ago, Ilwad and her sister left Canada to join their mother in promoting women’s rights and to help run the Elman Peace Centre, a rape crisis shelter.

Iman joined the military and is now Commander for a battalion of 90 men. And while the capital is no longer a war zone, she continues to fight and lead security operations outside the city. Remarking on this success, she humbly explains:

“Being raised in Canada, I was taught you’re no different from any guy, you’re equal, you’re the same,” she says. “When I went into the military they said, ‘You can’t do that, it’s not your job.’ I wanted to break some of the stereotypes here.”

These two sisters are so beyond badass that someone better help me come up with a word that means more badass than badass.

It also seems that superhero powers run in the family. Before his tragic murder, their father was a well-known peace activist, cared for orphans and ran community programs. And their fabulous mother, Fartuun Adan, recently received an International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State for her humanitarian work.

They’re already saving the world, so the only thing I can say is that I’m keeping you ladies in my dua’as. Well done and keep up the good fight.

Random Stars rockin' out.

Random Stars rockin’ out.

2) No bad veil puns. No subtle allusions to women unchaining the shackles of oppression. Just five women from the United Arab Emirates rockin’ out to Deep Purple. The FIRST band of fantastically fierce Emirati women to belt out heavy metal chords on their electric guitars.

All thanks to Ms Small.

Brought together by their English teacher, these students from the Higher Colleges of Technology at Al Ain, had little to no experience with drums, bass or guitars — but now according to The National, they “perform at a variety of college events such as graduation ceremonies and National Day celebrations.”

Lead guitarist Hamda Al Ghaithi played piano and guitar for two years before hearing about the band:

“I met Ms Small and she told me about how the girls wanted to play and make a band. At first I didn’t like rock because I was studying classical guitar, but I prefer rock guitar now. I hope after I finish studying here that I will study music and play classical piano.”

Smoke on the water baby. Just wait until you all really get into Classic Rock. Ladies, you got to get yourselves on YouTube!

3) A word to the wise, don’t mess with mothers defending their right to motherhood:

PressTV covered a recent protest by civil rights groups and families calling for the religious freedom of Muslim women and their civil liberty to pick up their children from school.

Mothers in headscarves are facing new discrimination at some schools who now object to seeing headscarves in the playground before and after school — claiming that the hijab’s “outward sign of religious practice go against the French law of religious neutrality in state-run institutions.”

*blank stare*

I don’t really need to get into how ridiculous this is, do I?

Try this: stand in-between a mother bear and her cub. Tell the mother bear that she can’t have her child until she looks more human. Pick up a pair of shears. Attempt to shave the bear and liberate her from her fur. Watch what happens.

faiza4) Every little girl named Faiza just had her mind blown.

This is going viral right now just about everywhere, but if you haven’t heard the fantabulous news, Faiza Hussain, British Pakistani doctor by day, Excalibur by night has just been dubbed, Captain Britain.

A little backstory, Brian Baddock (the current Captain Britain) is teaming up with Captain Marvel (Avengers) on a kind of suicide mission against the evil Ultron (in “The Age of Ultron” storyline). Before leaving, he needs Faiza to keep MI-13 running. He needs “Captain Britain” to survive. For hope. For humanity.

A mainstream comic, Muslim, hijabi superhero people! What’s not to love?

This awe inspiring character wields the Arthurian sword Excalibur and can disassemble and reassemble people at the subatomic level. She’s also a healer by nature and a massive superhero fan girl  – so you know she’ll keep to her roots.

OMG MARVEL! DISNEY! DO AN AVENGERS CROSS-OVER MOVIE! I know you’re planning a Captain Marvel movie sometime in the future. Maybe we can hope for an on-screen Muslim woman superhero before 2025.

Me rockin' a turban twist by babylailalov.

Me rockin’ a turban twist inspired by babylailalov.

5) Finally, what DOES it mean to be a modern Muslim woman?

Well, according to the Daily Beast’s great piece on The Rise of Hijab Fashion Bloggers, the modern Muslim woman is “eclectic” and “creative” — bending the visuality of hijab with a blend of “vintage finds, lavish jewellery, Japanese-inspired silhouettes, high-end British sophistication and urban edge.”

The media may portray Muslim females as shrouded in black head-to-toe robes, feeding the stereotypical idea that modernism—not to mention fashion—and Islam cannot mix. But, as this crop of popular fashion blogs shows, wearing a hijab can mean a great number of things to a variety of women.

Well, yes. But point of information: Not all modern Muslim women wear hijab. And some modern Muslim women are shrouded in black head-to-toe robes. And they all have the potential to be eclectic, fashionable and creative.

Oh, but I do love watching hijab tutorials. Honestly, they’re awesome. From make-up to hijab pins — YouTube stars branching off into their own fashion lines and doing what inspires them. Kick-ass.

Here’s my current favourite style. Just in time for summer:

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.

Enjoy!

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!

Check her out in action here and here.

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!

BAM, IRAN – 17/12/11 Fatemeh rests after school as she struggles with a very bad flu. From the project “The day I become a woman.”

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!

ZOMG it’s a muslim roundup! I’m almost giddy with excitement. So much happened this past month that I barely know where to begin. There was the video game based off the infamous Salman Rushdie fatwa; Rush Limbaugh accused Hillary Clinton of having ties to the Muslim Sisterhood; and an Islamohomophobic fatwa hoax.

So grab a drink (or in my case, a baby. Yes, this was written one handed while nursing Ivy), curl up and enjoy!

1) Tired of finding Mecca by calculating north on your iPhone compass? Need a prayer upgrade to compliment your automatic wudu washer? Why not literally step into God’s presence illuminated by light-emitting diodes with the EL Sajjadah — a prayer mat that lights up when facing Mecca.

There are only two prototypes in existence. After manually inputting your location, a digital compass lets you know when you’re facing the Qibla. Grace your floor or your wall with the soft, green LED glow of piety.

Too bad manual input of location and digital compass is soooo 20th century. What we need is a prayer mat that counts rakats for you, or has a virtual presence so you can pray while sitting on the couch. Or better yet, has a wudu detector. That would be EPIC.

2) In a season marked by shorts, tank tops and liberation from oppressive and restrictive clothes celebrated with teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikinis, you’re sure to see AT LEAST one article on how the hijab liberates women from the expectations of society.

But with so many people wondering if Muslim women are “hot in that thing?!” the media has graced us with just a few more articles this month:

  • A woman’s significance will always be rated by what she wears. Fighting against this, Ayesha Nusrat writes a personal piece for the New York Times on why she took on the hijab. Mix one part activist, one part belief, and two parts personal empowerment and you get, “I believe my hijab gives me the right to assert my body, femininity and spirituality as my own and under my authority alone.” Sing it sistah.
  • [WARNING: high blood-pressure inducing article ahead] Michael Coren has an unfortunate blub about a Quebec hijabi who was banned from playing soccer in his own weekly roundup. Erroneously stating that the “hijab is a Muslim Brotherhood-prescribed version of Islamic covering,” he gives soccer players two options: take off hijab or play for another league.  Classy. Michael, I really didn’t think you had it in you.

…probably banned from playing soccer.

3) It’s almost Ramadan! This means tonnes of articles (re)surfing on how to get the most from your fast and how to stay healthy while reaching your spiritual goals.

One that really caught my eye is from Latonia’s wealth of breastfeeding information at her seriously fantastic blog, Suckled Sunnah. She has a great article with 27 tips on how to prevent burnout for those of us who choose to fast while breastfeeding. A truly supportive and excellent blog. Go check it out.

Another interesting article is from a mainstream bodybuilding magazine. Non-Muslim Nick Mitchell offers advice on how to maintain proper nutrition, supplementation and exercise during Ramadan.

Don’t let the article’s accompanying photo fool you. He gives eight great tips, and didn’t know that this dejected hijabi isn’t suffering from low energy due to fasting. Good effort though!

4) Finally, as I said, it’s almost Ramadan! This means funny Ramadan meme time:

Happy Wednesday everyone! Yep, looks like I’m still here, so I decided to throw together a little mid-week roundup.

It’s chalk full of Muslims doing every day things, some olde fashioned blogger love, BOOOOOOBS and hijab (big surprise there) and a little Muslim feminist controversy!

So let’s get to it.

1) A typical Media day for Muslimahs: ZOMG a Niqabi eating ice cream on a roller coaster! ZOMG Muslimahs have awesome sex! ZOMG Muslimahs are athletes! ZOMG hijabis pick their noses! ZOMG Muslim women are generally, all-around pretty badass.

Spurred on by a *scandalous* image of a woman in niqab holding a lacy bra, Farah Mawani takes on the Media obsession with Muslims doing everyday things in her HuffPo piece, “Muslims Do What?!” — and interviews photographer Asif Rehman on his latest exhibit, “Muslims?!” Essentially, a fantastic photo collection seeking to break down stereotypes about what it means to be a Canadian Muslim.

Mentioned in the article is none other than the FIERCE Muslimah boxer, Mombasa — who I had the utmost pleasure of interviewing last summer.

Oh, and if you’re in the Toronto area, you can check out Asif Rehman’s latest exhibit starting tomorrow.

2) Hey, let’s have some brilliant blogger love!

The always thought-provoking Organica has a heart-wrenching post from an anonymous woman who was thrust into an unwanted Polygamous marriage. From Polygamy Feels Like Cheating:

He came back and wanted me to forgive and live like normal. He said nothing will change. I said everything has changed. Besides, people forgive when it’s something that’s happened and over. He doesn’t plan on leaving her. He said to try. I told him I can’t live like that. Besides the fact that I think it’s completely gross, I will always be bitter and voice my discontent and I’ll always be suspicious…

The outspoken Mezba asks, “Where are the girls in this mosque?” after a disturbing mosque observation:

“Oh, they are upstairs, listening too,” Answered someone, when I asked them. “We have speakers and close circuit TV.”

This is the problem, the big problem, in today’s Muslim organizations. If you take a look at this picture, there is a LOT of empty space behind the men, in the MAIN prayer hall. Why can’t girls sit here, in close proximity to the speaker, so they can personally ask him questions, or be inspired in way that only a face-to-face conversation can? Sitting behind the men will satisfy any requirements that orthodox Muslims can throw at them, and not to mention, teaching women this way is actually a sunnah.

And the fearless Nahida takes on how Patriarchy has infected Qur’anic interpretation. From On Interpreting the Qur’an and Subjectivity:

If scholars, who know the Arabic language efficiently, arrive at incorrect conclusions, and continue to insist that “alternative” readings are not legitimate, they are not only denying that the Prophet’s companions differed extensively in their understandings of Quranic verses, but they are trapping themselves when it is revealed and widely accepted (as verse 4:34 is now beginning to be accepted) that for centuries they have been misinterpreting this verse, and that a long line of male scholars who deny women the practicality required to seek an education are reading their own male privilege and debauchery into the Qur’an—and deliberately so.

3) Now, when the Media isn’t trying to save Muslim women from their clothing, they’re talking about how Muslim women love to let loose and take off their clothing.

The New York Times has a darling article showcasing the first ever all-girl Prom at Hamtramck High School in Michigan:

In this season of wobbly heels and cleavage, the bittersweet transformation of teenagers in jeans and T-shirts into elegant adults barely recognizable to their friends is an anticipated tradition.

But at the all-girl prom, there were double double-takes, as some of Tharima’s classmates, normally concealed in a chrysalis of hijab and abaya, the traditional Muslim cloak, literally let their hair down in public for the first time.

Oh the chrysalis of hijab (that’s a new one!) — transforming hawt hijabis since 1859.

But in all seriousness, do read the article and check out the video. Tharima Ahmed worked her butt off to pull off this amazing prom — raising money, organizing bands, and galvanizing support from her teachers and school body. I tip my hijab to you my dear!

4) And finally, if you haven’t already heard about the controversy around Mona “we are more than headscarves and hymens” Eltahawy’s Foreign Policy piece “Why Do They Hate Us”, here’s a quick rapid-fire:

Of course, we could also hear from Mona in this really exciting and wonderful debate on the issue with Leila Ahmed. Which is really, a must see:


Hat-tip to Metis for the Mona Twitter picture.

Okay baby, you may come now. Aaaaand…now. NOW.

Happy Friday eddiebody (as Eryn would say)!

So this week saw International Women’s Day and the 100th anniversary of the Oreo cookie. Naturally the media saw fit to report on a slew of women-related topics — and especially for Muslim women, covered a bunch of hijab stories.

(haha, see what I did there? Covered. Hijab. Get it?)

So how do you style your hijab? Do you twist it, dunk it, layer it, throw it on at once or in two bites?

Enjoy!

1) *taps mic*

Sick and tired of everyone else deciding how Muslim women live their lives, the lovely and brilliant Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi give their opinion on the public narrative used to construct the “Muslim woman” in their HuffPo piece, “Muslim Women Take Back the Mic on International Women’s Day.”

Very simply put, “Why doesn’t anyone ever ask Muslim women what they think?”

When we raise our voices to tell our own stories, we are silenced. We are either dismissed as outliers — educated and upper class Western-raised Muslim women with no grasp of the reality of “real” Muslim women — or brainwashed, because how could any intelligent woman defend Islam or call herself Muslim? In many cases, our experiences are negated or dismissed as inauthentic by virtue of comparison to the circumstances of some women in other countries…

The voices of Muslim women are diverse, and our individual experiences authentic. We must be placed in our own context without being smothered under an entire globe’s worth of geopolitical baggage. Just as the life of a Catholic woman in a village in Guatemala is very different from that of a Catholic woman in the village of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, so too are the lives, realities and experiences of over 500 million Muslim women across the globe.

Love, love, love! I get shivers!

Speaking of love and shivers, check out Ayesha’s and Nura’s recent video interview with Middle East Voices on their book Love, InshAllah. Giving women back the power to form their own narrative. YES.

2) In some serious news, Kingston police are asking for help identifying a woman after she was caught on security camera pulling on another woman’s hijab. The hijab was pulled hard enough to snap the woman’s head back. Police are calling it a hate crime assault.

I’m sad because I love my old university town. But I’m not surprised. That’s where someone spit on me, yelled obscenities at me from a car and verbally harassed me in the middle of Tim Horton’s. Ooooh K-town.

3) Is your political regime hijab limiting? Does your man chador oppress you? Why not come to a Hawaii-esque beach where you can have a “small taste of freedom” and experience “respite from a regime that regulates hemlines and headscarfs” while getting a tan and swimming with the “rare, sweet sensation of sunlight” on your skin.

With the *shocking* title of “From hijab to skimpy bikini” a New Zealand travel article explores the tropical Iranian island of Kish — where pale, submissive Persians let loose, laugh and play, enjoy some ice cream, and get their thong-tha-thong-tha-thongs on at the women-only beach.

Yeah.

Well at least they didn’t get topless…. Oh wait.

4) The fantastic Eman Hashim over at Muslimah Media Watch takes a look at hijab irony when Egyptian journalist Dalia Rabie was banned from joining her OWN birthday party at one of Cairo’s upscale restaurants because she was wearing hijab. The restaurant serves alcohol, and so the bouncer was only trying to protect her from the “debauched world of dining.” Certainly not because the restaurant wanted to maintain their “image.” NOOooo…</sarcasm>

So now we discuss if the woman who wears the hijab should play sports, sings, runs, play martial arts, etc.  If you think whatever choice contradicts with the hijab, then do not do it if you wear the headscarf, and mind your own business if you do not. You might see it contradictory, but she doesn’t!

Some women find it weird to be a model while wearing the hijab, some don’t. What’s the big deal?

You can worry about your religious beliefs, your good deeds and bad ones, and let us worry about ours.

I’m getting that printed on a t-shirt. Or my hijab.

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 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!

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!

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