It’s the ‘Eid edition of the muslim roundup! This means heartwarming, all-around fuzzy interfaith fun, Islamophobia, men traipsing around in niqab and more!

Enjoy and have a happy and safe ‘Eid insha’Allah.

1) For the first time in a long time Muslims in America are actually worried about being attacked during ‘Eid prayers due to a rise of anti-Muslim violence this Ramadan. Last week Muslim graves were desecrated in Chicago, pig legs were thrown at a mosque in Cali, paintballs and acid were thrown at mosques in Oklahoma, and a mosque was destroyed by arson in Missouri. All happened in the span of ONE WEEK. And this isn’t a comprehensive list.

Writing for the HuffPo, Ghazala Irshad has a fantastic article that’s made the rounds on Why American Politicians Should Take Islamophobia Seriously and speak out against this wave of violence:

…if politicians like Obama and Romney truly hope to lead our country to a better future, they should speak up–not to ingratiate themselves with Muslims by hosting iftar dinners at the White House–but to make the voices of solidarity and peace louder than the anti-Muslim incitement of their hatemongering colleagues Representatives Joe Walsh, Peter King, Michelle Bachmann, etc.

This isn’t about “political correctness” and it doesn’t affect only one community of Americans. This is about a widespread hate that endangers the very fabric of American society.

Sing it sistah. Insha’Allah they hear you loud and clear.

2) Think that last story was too scary for the kiddies? Well, the BBC has a delightful video on how a Virginia synagogue will open it’s doors to a Muslim congregation to help accommodate their numbers for ‘Eid prayers.

We’re all Americans. We share the same hospitals. We share the same schools. Our families get to know one another in this society. — We wouldn’t hesitate to welcome our Christian neighbours. So why would you hesitate to welcome a Muslim neighbour?

Filled with Muslims and Jews sharing space and *gasp* hugging, this video is sure to bring a smile to your face.

It’s an ‘Eid-terfaith miracle!

3) There must be cultural appropriation fever going around. In a truly ridiculous and offensive stunt, Michael Coren appeared on his Sun News Network television program in Niqab. Not to “check it out.” Not to “see how it feels.” Not to “identify” with Muslim women. But to make fun of women, Islam. Egyptians, and the niqab.

Launched at the start of Ramadan, Maria TV is a women-only Egyptian channel — hiring women in niqab to discuss issues of interest to women. Sounds pretty rad to me, but this is what Mikey had to say about it posing as a niqabi woman in an audition tape for the Egyptian network:

So I’d like to say a few words on why this network is so very necessary. We need it to discuss, well, you know the sort of thing — when it’s too late for that little operation on the clitoris so as to make sexual pleasure impossible. Sometimes performed in the Islamic world at least, with any sharp instrument that comes to hand. Or, how to avoid being stoned to death after you’ve been raped — because it’s never the man’s fault. Or what to say to your husband when you’ve tried, but you just can’t get along with wife number four… Now I know some of the crusaders, the infidels, the Zionists, and the rest say that women are oppressed in the Muslim world — it’s just not true. And if you say it again, my husband will cut off your head, and record the whole thing for a video that will go viral within the jihadist Internet community.

Seriously? You’re the champion for Muslim women?  Please take off your burqa of white privilege — it might actually help you see how incredibly wrong you are on the most basic points of human decency.

Get’s my hijab in such a bunch!

Now, if you want a truly honest account of struggling with the niqab, check out Rym Tina Ghazal’s excellent article Single in the City: The Niqab and I.

By banning the niqab and burqa we are not really helping anyone. A truly repressed woman has far bigger problems than what she wears on her face.

So while largely perceived from a Western perspective as a suppressive mask designed to conceal a woman’s facial features, I have to admit the niqab was my shield. It helped me walk more confidently around sleazy men.

THIS!

4) Finally, I’m going to end off with a couple of videos. The first is an AMAZING series out of Dubai/Syria/Oman. Controvercially, it’s an historic account of ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Islam’s second Caliph.

In 31 episodes, the series follows his life starting from about 9 years before the revelation, to the end of his reign as Caliph. The series is a courageous historical drama with some excellent acting, near-Qur’anic Arabic dialogue, and amazing attention to historical detail.

Seriously, it’s worth watching just for the opening sequence — a total homage to Game of Thrones. EPIC.

And now you can watch it with English Subtitles!!

And just for kicks, Eid Mubarak:

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!

Cross-posted at the wondrous Womanist Musings.

Alternate universes. Causal time loops. Perception filters. Sonic screwdrivers. Roundels. Creatures and stories beyond imagination. Time travel in a blue 1960s-style London police box. Sexy British men in a variety of amusing outfits. The Doctor, a brilliant man of two hearts, traversing time and space with his equally sexy and (usually) brilliant companions – saving humanity, alien species or time itself from a vast host of evil threats. Put it all together and you get my favourite television programming of all time: Doctor Who.

So imagine my absolute fan girl surprise when they introduced a Muslim character into a recent episode, “The God Complex.” For a few brief moments my heart soared with excitement at the very thought that there would be a Muslim in the TARDIS.

And then they promptly killed her off.

A Muslim in the TARDIS? No way!

Because she was such an enjoyable and positive character, some podcasters and fans within the Whoniverse have expressed surprise that Rita, the “almost companion” had to die. But the more I thought about how her story played out the more I realised that the focus on Rita’s religion was just convenient tool to drive the plot. Which makes her death even more unfortunate, as her faith and strength as a character is pivotal to the story itself – a story about exposing your very soul through terror.

(more…)

Jab. Feet front. Jab-jab, twist, right hook. Head, body-shot, duck. Attack.

Eryn watched the woman in the baggy sports suit with intense curiosity – at first looking a little perplexed at the complex fighting combinations, and then as her excitement grew, mimicked dancing from foot to foot, ducking her head, and rolling her arms into little baby jabs. This impromptu shadowboxing session was a treat, as neither of us had ever seen a fighter in action.

*Mombasa showed off her skills. She was fast, light on her feet and threw out punches in quick, rapid-fire succession.

I put up my hands for target practice and was literally blown away by the strength coming from her small frame. Despite appearances, as an amateur boxer training for the 112-pound flyweight division, this was definitely not a person to mess with. Mombasa explained that she built up her strength by training with 14oz gloves and sparring with men twice her size.

That’s when I asked if she ever felt conflicted fighting in hijab.

(more…)

The Muslim roundup has moved back to Friday! This is a very special anti-witch-hunt edition, with two cups of radicalization, a tablespoon of terrorism, one egg-cup of shariah law, a pinch of hip hop, and hundreds of really awesome people. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes and say goodbye to mass hyseteria. And zombies.

Enjoy!

1) If you’ve been out of commission with the flu, like myself, you may not be aware of the congressional hearings probing the “radicalization of American Muslims.” Headed by the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Republican Peter King, says the hearings aim “to establish and show the American people that there is a real threat of al-Qaida recruiting and of homegrown terrorists being self-radicalized within the Muslim community.”

Translation: there are radical, conservative factions operating in 80% of the mosques in the United States. They’re corrupting Muslim youth and gathering converts who then turn against America. They can do this so easily because Islam lends itself better than any other religion to violent extremism, it’s leaders hide behind apologia and the mainstream is doing nothing to keep the radical elements in check.

I give you, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat:

This hearing has already been tainted. There are no loud signs of reasoning coming through this hearing. The reason is because it has alrady been classified as an effort to deamonize and castigate a whole broad base of human beings. I cannot stand for that…

This hearing today is playing into al-Qaeda. Right now, around the world. It is deminishing soldiers who are on the front line who are Muslim, those who lost their lives.

2) So, are Muslims terrorists? Um… no.

3) But what about sharia law?

Yeah, about that. Check out this interview, Setting the Record Straight on Sharia with the brilliantly intelligent Intisar Rabb, a member of the law faculty at Boston College Law School where she teaches advanced constitutional law, criminal law, and comparative and Islamic law. By day. By night she’s a research affiliate at the Harvard Law School Islamic Legal Studies Program and a 2010 Carnegie Scholar.

On weekends I’m pretty sure she saves kittens from trees, attacks bad guys by shooting hijabs from her hands, and does other really awesome superhero things.

4) Finally, please check out this PSA by the My Faith, My Voice grassroots campaign, which asks Muslims from all over America to submit video of themselves talking about what Islam and America means to them. For the adorable baby Idrees, peace in Islam means taking long naps. Native Deen made a music video. What are you going to do?

It’s the *facepalm* edition of the roundup! I’ve thrown in a dash of *headdesk,* and a smattering of Muslim Christmas love. Enjoy!

Again, if you come across anything of interest regarding Islam, Muslim women or Muslims in general and would like me to review it, answer questions, or just comment on it here, flip it to me via: w00dturtl3 {at} gmail {dot} com.

  • Corrections Canada just hired the first practicing female Muslim prison guard!  In order to accommodate the recruit’s special religious and cultural requirements, she will be permitted to wear long sleeves, have time off to complete her daily prayers, and will wear a specially designed hijab that will come off easily if an inmate attempts to use it to gain physical control over her.  While Corrections is being applauded for their religious accommodations, the Muslim Canadian Congress is criticizing these allowances, calling them, “apologist,” “politically correct,” and “nonsense.” MCC vice-president Salma Siddiqui insists that,

    religious faith should not be a factor on-the-job for any employee who chooses the profession of a correctional officer. “I don’t think there should be any emphasis on Muslim or not,” she told QMI Agency. “They are being Canadian and politically correct. We do not have to live with that guilt.”

    Siddiqui said there is no religious requirement to cover one’s head – that it is the “uniform” of the Muslim brotherhood and international Islamist movement – and worries it may fuel rising concerns about the “penetration” of Islamist ideology into society.

    Why did Siddiqui focus on the Brotherhood? Given there are some Egyptian female police officers who wear a uniform that may include a matching hijab, I suppose in some kind of weird parallel universe, this means hijab is the “uniform” of the Muslim Brotherhood. But only for correctional officers. No, only for female correctional officers — because no publicized accusations have been ever made of bearded, male Muslim correctional officers who use a portion of their break to pray while on duty.

    I wish it were that brilliant of an argument, but really, the MCC is simply saying that hijab is the “uniform” of islamist, conservative, traditional Islam — and that one woman will have the power to funnel islamist ideology through our corrections system and turn Canada into the next Islamic Caliphate.  You go girl. This has nothing to do with your dedication to faith or the accommodations of an understanding employer.  It has everything to do with your hijab being a symbol of terrorism.

  • In France, the daughter of French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen is under fire for comparing Muslims to the Nazi occupation of France. Like many mosques throughout the world, Fridays in Lyon get pretty packed. It’s difficult to accommodate so many people coming with their families to listen to the sermon, pray, meet and greet and maybe even have a falafel or two — so often during the average 7 minute prayer, people have to pray outside the mosque. Le Pen feels that when Muslims invade the streets with their rugs, they’re just as bad as the Nazis who marched through the Arc de Triomphe.
  • “For those who want to talk a lot about World War II, if it’s about occupation, then we could also talk about it (Muslim prayers in the streets), because that is occupation of territory,” she said at the gathering in Lyon.

    “There are of course no tanks, there are no soldiers but it is nevertheless an occupation and it weighs heavily on local residents.”

  • Wondering what to give your non-Muslim neighbours this Christmas? How about giving them the gift of Islamic knowledge! Haroon Moghul provides a comprehensive list of must-have books about Islam and Muslims guaranteed to bring a smile on Christmas morning.
  • When misinformation on Islam, Muslims, and America’s relationships to the Muslim-majority world is in oversupply, we need relevant and useful information. Conversations about Islam shape local, regional, and global affairs: to not know about Islam is to be left out of issues that deeply affect all of us.

  • And finally, after hearing the claim that 10% of Muslims are terrorists, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria decides to take conservative pundit, Glen Beck, to school on his math skills.

This has left me a little speechless.

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