Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hijab in the News

I will be on my way back to the old U.S. of A. Friday, so I decided to post an update on the hijab news items I've found. I should have the Weekend News Update posted, provided I'm not disturbed by hungry growls from the kids (ages 18 and 22, who can cook for themselves, particularly when they request "breakfast" after 12:00 P.M.) Breakfast ends at McDonald's at 10:30 AM, but apparently it's supposed to be an all day event at the Vagabondblogger household. Then, of course, there's lunch / supper and dinner. It's a non- stop eating fest, with no vomitorium (oh no, now I'm thinking of Rome, another show Nephewson copied for us.) No shirts, no shoes and pets - all allowed (although no one has gone shirtless since they were babes). No buffet service provided, though. Open kitchen - yes. Someone to clean up the mess - you're looking at her!

Btw, Sunday dinner in honor of the Sopranos finale has been decided: Meatballs (home made), baked ziti, salad, plenty of boxed Cabernet Killer Juice, (or we could have the Coppola Claret, which has been sitting / laying around), and then the Boss Man's going to go up the road and get us some Cannoli for desert, although Awesome Daughter is requesting Tiramisu. Also, home made Limoncello, that is, if someone and their friends haven't been drinking it all. Yeah, we got this all planned out!

I hope to post again before that, but if not, have a lovely weekend! I'm sort of in a crash and burn mode personally - I hate flying, I hate leaving Doggie behind, and I would like to have one home!

This first post is a repeat, but I liked the headline so much, I had to include it. A few rants (not mine) and what I thought were fairly comical musings here. As usual, links provided.
My next post should be from the U.S. Inshallah.

No scarf, no head: warning

The threat to "cut throats from vein to vein" was delivered by the Swords of Truth, a fanatical group that has claimed responsibility for bombing internet cafes and music shops. The threat is the first time the organisation has targeted a specific group of people, and adds to a growing climate of extremism, fear and suspicion in Gaza.

In many parts of the Muslim world, conservative religious policies keep women out of TV anchoring positions or let them take the jobs only if they wear headscarves.
Or, in the case of Egyptian law, which is being appealed: Newscasters are not allowed to be on TV on local stations if they wear a hijab. Again, damned if you do, damned if you don't.

In Saudi Arabia, a view from behind the veil
As a woman in the male-dominated kingdom, Times reporter Megan Stack quietly fumed beneath her abaya. Even beyond its borders, her experience taints her perception of the sexes.

Conservative Hijab Updated
Following Western trends, the hijab fashion houses adopt various names for their styles, indicating their design concept, such as sun sequin wrap, classic Jacquard wrap, contrasting stripes wrap, starry night wrap, geometric wrap, two moons wrap and the summer wrap.

The attempt to ban the hijab in Europe has raised more awareness of it among Muslims, who are attempting to convert the conservative hijab into a fashion statement that may make it acceptable among religious and non-religious people.
Muslim women harbor different opinions about head coverings, question interpretation of Quran
While many people see veils, scarves as signs of oppression and discrimination, other women view them as symbols of free thinking and community solidarity.

Fanta Diamanka wears something against her parents’ wishes — something so important to her that she would rather leave the country than remove it. It is the hijab, or Muslim head scarf, a piece of religious garb that is under debate in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies.

“When people are oppressed, it creates solidarity,” she said. “I think many are now looking for their Muslim identity because they feel threatened.”

Lybarger said that Muslim women who wear the head scarf now represent a generational shift. The previous generation often removed the covering as a protest against patriarchy, he said.

Diamanka said she thinks the media often stereotype Muslim women who wear the hijab as submissive and oppressed, but for her, the head scarf represents just the opposite.

“I think people should stand up for what they believe in,” she said. “Nobody told me to wear a veil — I had to struggle to wear it.”
New US Magazines Target Muslim Women and Teens
A new publication is aiming to break negative stereotypes about Islam and to help young Muslim women feel confident and optimistic about being Muslim in America.
Muslim Girl was launched in January with the headline: "Enlighten, Celebrate, Inspire." The bi-monthly magazine targets hundreds of thousands Muslim teenagers in North America who want a magazine that reflects their values, ambitions and goals.

Muslim Girl is the latest of several new magazines catering to Muslim Americans. Each targets distinct demographics -- teenagers, professionals, mothers, secular Muslims, but each also aims to take pride in who they are, and what they believe.

For those beyond their teens, there is Azizah, which has been on the market for seven years, and calls itself the voice for Muslim women.

Azizah, which means "dear" in Arabic, offers articles on health, travel , food and spirituality, but also tackles tougher issues -- from custody battles to AIDS in the Muslim community, to inheritance laws, to "how to spot men who marry for Green Cards." Other recent stories in Azizah have dealt with issues like autism, breast cancer, leadership, fashion, marriage, and a whole gamut of subjects reflecting the diversity of Muslim American women.

Both Muslim Girl and Azizah were launched as a counter-balance what most American Muslims feel is the stereotype of oppressed and uneducated Muslim women -- fueled largely by reports on Islam and Muslims from overseas.
In defense of the Muslim sisterhood
I have a bee in my bonnet -- or hijab to be more precise.
On an almost daily basis there are horrific stories pouring out of Tunisia about how the state police are ripping off the hijabs of women living there.

Some of these women, who are merely fulfilling their religious obligation to wear a hijab, have been assaulted, molested, and even locked up in prison by the authorities.

Unbelievable when you consider Western tourists are topless sunbathing on the coastal resorts.

There’s been an outcry in the Western media about how the Iranian authorities are fining women who fail to wear their hijabs correctly in public.

I call these women the half-jabis -- you know the ones, they balance their designer scarfs precariously on the back of their heads and spend the rest of the day adjusting and picking their scarfs from the nape of their necks.

It might have endeared Princess Diana to half the Muslim world when she ‘covered’ in Muslim countries, but most women who try to emulate the Di style just look plain stupid.
Welcome to the summer of hate
Forty years ago, the world seemed to be singing in tune. On June 1, 1967, in London, The Beatles released their eighth and arguably most influential album, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It marked the beginning of the Summer of Love - which, apart from Jimi Hendrix mesmerizing flower-power children in Monterey, California, also had room for the escalation of the Vietnam War and Israel's lightning victory in the Six-Day War

Iran at the same time is deeply "reforming" Iraq - whatever the rhetoric coming from the White House. Iranian cultural influence on Iraqi youth is overwhelming - via the financing of at least a cultural center or a library in every village. The foremost foreign language is now Farsi, not English. Girls are exchanging the Arab hijab for the less constraining Iranian chador. Iraq's schoolbooks are now manufactured by Iranian printing presses. Most of Iraq's oil, gas and electricity is now provided by Iran
A pioneer in life and in politics
She created history in 1999 by becoming the first female leader of a political party in Malaysia.

Azizah, then 47, inherited his reformasi movement. "I had a husband in jail and six young children. I felt that as a Muslim woman, I must have the strength and resolve to fight injustice."

Her mother, the wife of a top Malaysian secret police official, did not wear one. Azizah went to a Catholic convent – "we recited the Lord's Prayer all the time." When in Ireland, "the hijab was given to me by a Dutch convert in 1973. I have worn it since."

Her five daughters wear it as well – as also an increasing number of Malaysian women. It is an individual choice, says Azizah, who does wear lipstick and shake men's hands.

"I hope I project an image of Islam that's compatible with modernity – that Muslim women can be educated, can stand on their own, face the odds and fight oppression. If I've achieved that, I am happy."
Why do Muslim women have to cover their heads?

Hijab Haute Couture or Burkha Barbies
While flipping channels I stumbled onto something that must have made a million feminists pop an artery or two: a fashion channel was showcasing the Malaysian International Fashion Week (MIFW for those who follow these things rather more closely).

The ramp residents were like at any other fashion week with one important difference - they were all covered up head to toe, including the traditional headscarve, the hijab.
Belgian group launches campaign in support of hijab
A Belgian civil society platform BOEH (Boss over own head) has launched a poster campaign in protest against the municipal ban on the wearing of religious symbols in the city of Antwerp.

The ban was introduced by the socialist led administration in Antwerp at the beginning of this year.
From niqab to jilbab to hijab
“There was no breach of human rights, or of the Human Rights Act, because a common-sense decision had been made,” argued Lord Falconer, who is a close friend of Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
In March, the Education Department sent out guidance to schools advising them that full face veils could be banned under uniform rules and it left to the Head Teachers to decide whether to disallow religious dress.
The question to ask is, are we slowly moving to the French model of banning the hijab?

Young Journalists Explore What It Means to Be Muslim in Italy
With the help of a new monthly magazine, 'Yalla Italia' (Come On, Italy), some young second-generation Egyptian, Moroccan and Tunisian immigrants are attempting to explore and address the stereotypes considered an obstacle to their full integration in this predominantly Catholic European country.

There is not only one Islam in Italy, but many, just as there are many ways of being a Muslim, say the student journalists born in Italy to immigrant parents.

"Public debates often simplify Islam-related issues, as if Muslims were a monolithic bloc, when in reality the Muslim faith embraces many different cultures," she said. "Yes, even Arabs can smile, without feeling insulted."

The cartoons published by 'Yalla Italia' address religion ("What are you reading, daddy?" "The Koran, my son, I have read it since I was a child." "And haven't you finished it yet?") and traditional values ("No, dear, this is not a veil," explains an Egyptian girl pointing to her long hair wrapped around her head like a hijab, the veil worn by Muslim women, "it's a new hairdo called 'tradition and modernity'.")

"Coming back from the mosque, Rassmea told us that some of her friends did not appreciate the ironic cartoons we published, which they found disrespectful," said Pillitteri. "This is confirmation of the theory that there are sometimes more difficulties in dialogue between moderate and fundamentalist Muslims than between Catholics and Muslims."

But future editions are to be even more explicit, covering all the arguments of concern to the children of immigrants: the generation gap with their parents, the use of the veil, mixed marriages, respect for Ramadan -- the Muslim sacred month of fasting -- the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and balance between religion and freedom.
Like Timex: Muslim Assimilation in Europe Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking
In one of today's posts, he exudes excitement because his 8 year-old son asked the Mrs., “Do you lick a dick a day?” Though Rachman's first response was "I wish," he was soon struck by a less primordial thought when he learned the boy acquired this catchy and repeatable phrase from his friend, Jamila, a peer of his -- a little hijab-wearing Muslim girl. Rachman "found the episode strangely heartening.

Besides the glorious lure that is oral sex, he sees "Jamila’s taste in doggerel" as a positive sign of the advancement of Muslim assimilation.

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