Janet Jackson, who is known for keeping her private life private, recently admitted that she had married her third husband, Qatari billionaire Wissam Al-Mana. Though she hasn’t confirmed or denied it, there are lots of rumors that Janet converted to Islam before the wedding. Considering that religious conversions for marriage happen all the time – and that Janet’s brother Jermaine publicly converted to Islam some years ago – this story should be a non-issue.
Alas, there are a lot of people out there who think it’s their right to see Janet Jackson’s hot body in skimpy clothes and think that a conversion to Islam will foil their plans. Keep reading »
Update, 5:15p.m.: Chicago Public Schools have rescinded the order to yank Persepolis from the shelves. This is great news! [Chicago Tribune]
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, is one of the best series of graphic novels that I have ever read. I recommend it to everyone. And I read a lot of graphic novels. The memoirs recount Satrapi’s childhood in Iran following the Islamic Revolution and the increasing strictures on the life of an artsy young woman who is increasingly at odds with the fundamentalist Muslim religious police.
It’s touching, inspiring, and educational — and I’m far from the first person to point out that graphic novels are a great way to get young adults who don’t love to read to engage with literature.
So why, then, have the books been pulled out of Chicago Public Schools? Keep reading »
Starting your own rock band can be a trying endeavor. But it’s safe to say that most of us burgeoning musicians don’t have to deal with having a religious fatwa issued against us just for wanting to rock out. That’s what the band Praagaash had to face, simply because they’re Muslim girls who want to play music. The teenage girls in Praagaash — which means “from darkness to light” — quit playing after they received several threats from religious conservatives who believed they were sinning by playing music. The conservative clerics of Kashmir, the hotly contested region that lies between India and Pakistan, allegedly told the girls that their band was in violation of Muslim law.
After several days in the spotlight, the three young women decided to quit the band, citing the conflicting cultural influences of Kashmir and Islam. “The culture of Kashmir is not like this. Music has been going on from centuries. In Islam though it is not permitted and therefore we quit,” the band said in a statement. “We respect his (grand mufti) decision that music is haraam (forbidden) in Islam and therefore we have quit.”
Click through to check out a performance — one of only two they completed — from the Praagaash. Keep reading »
A Saudi Arabian cleric raised eyebrows over his WTF suggestion on a TV program six months ago that baby girls should be covered head-to-toe in burqas to protect them from sexual assault. It is one thing to suggest, however ludicrously, that veiled women prevent men from being tempted to rape (because we know men are all rapists and must be thwarted at every turn, amirite?), though I obviously don’t agree with forcing or coercing women to wear the burqa. But the mere suggestion that little baby girls might be lascivious if they’re not completely covered? Now, that’s just disgusting. Sheikh Abdullah Daoud’s “burqas for babies” idea has been criticized by other Saudis, who say he is making the Islamic faith look bad. I’m inclined to agree! [Daily Mail UK]
Friday, February 1 wasn’t just two days before the Super Bowl — it was also World Hijab Day, when non-Muslim women and Muslim women who don’t ordinarily cover themselves are encouraged to wear a head-covering hijab veil.
With slogans like “Before you judge, cover up … for a day” and “better awareness, greater understanding, peaceful world,” the event implores women to learn more about what it is like to be hijabi by experience. Keep reading »
No, girl, no. Just no. “Girls” creator Lena Dunham tweeted a TwitPic of herself this week, her head wrapped in what looks like a blanket as if it as an Islamic veil, with the caption “I had a real goth/fundamentalist attitude when I woke up from my nap.”
I leave it to the goths to defend their goth-itude from her hipsterism. But that “fundamentalist” comment is just dumb — just because a woman wears a hijab, niqab or even a burqa, does not mean the woman herself is”fundamentalist.” Muslims don’t appreciate all being characterized as fundamentalist — that’s called a stereotype, Lena. Keep reading »
Houda Al-Habash is not only seen driving her car in the opening scene of “The Light In Her Eyes,” but she is also steering hundreds of young Syrian girls and women to study the Koran. The 2011 documentary, airing on Thursday, July 19 on PBS’s Point Of View series, explores the impact studying the the Koran has on the girls and how it empowers them to become whatever they wish to be. Keep reading »
Your daily reminder that as screwed up as our government’s attempts to control women’s bodies is sometimes, it could be worse: female TV presenters in Afghanistan have been warned by the government to lay off the makeup and wear veils more frequently. The Information & Cultural Ministry asked TV networks to require women to wear a veil and forgo “dense makeup” in respect to “Islamic and Afghan values.” The ministry was reportedly pressured to make this advisement by a council of Islamic religious scholars. The continued policing and controlling of women’s bodies is just another example of how misogyny is still very much afoot in Afghanistan. [AFP]