Eid Kabir 2009

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Woman charged with hate crime in scarf-pulling incident

A suburban Chicago woman has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly yanking the head scarf of a Muslim woman in Tinley Park two days after the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.

Valerie Kenney, 54, a bank teller from Tinley Park, appeared at the Bridgeview Courthouse today and was released on $5,000 bail. If convicted of the felony, Kenney faces up to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. She is due back in court Dec. 3.

“I think (a charge of hate crime) sends the appropriate message that these kinds of race-based lash-outs are unacceptable,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Every time something like (the Fort Hood shootings) happens, the Muslim community prepares for a backlash.”

Amal Abusumayah, 28, told police she was shopping at a Tinley Park grocery store Nov. 7 when a middle-age woman passed her in the aisle and made a loud reference to the killings at Fort Hood.

“She said, ‘The man that did that shooting in Texas was from the Middle East,’ in a really loud and angry voice,” Abusumayah told the Tribune last week. Minutes later, while Abusumayah was paying for her groceries at a self-checkout, the woman approached her from behind and tugged hard on her blue and beige head scarf, she said.

“I turned around and looked at her, and she walked out of the store,” she said. “My scarf didn’t come off because it was on very tight, but my head was tugged back.”

Abusumayah, who was born in the United States and raised in Berwyn by Palestinian immigrants, followed the woman into the lot and called police, who arrested Kenney within minutes.

Kenney declined to comment after the court appearance.

Reached at home Wednesday, Abusumayah also declined to comment, saying she did not want to provoke “a backlash.”

She said last week that the Nov. 5 shootings at Fort Hood, where 13 soldiers were killed, were “very upsetting and very sad to me — as Muslims and Arabs we do not tolerate these kinds of actions.”

The scarf incident was the first of two apparent race-related attacks in Tinley Park in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, Police Chief Michael O’Connell said. On Nov. 8, a Muslim family found racist graffiti on the front of their home, O’Connell said. The  person rang the family’s doorbell but ran off,  O’Connell said.

He said hate crimes such as the one Kenney is charged with “attack the dignity of people because of their religious beliefs, race or sexual orientation, and we don’t tolerate that here.”

Kim Janssen and Joel Hood

Original Link http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/11/woman-accused-of-hate-crime-against-muslim.html

Marketing Muslim Lifestyles and Rethinking Modesty

Posted by Alicia in : http://muslimahmediawatch.org

If a hijab in Pucci-designed print could speak, what would it say?

I attended a seminar presented by Professor Reina Lewis on Muslim women’s lifestyle magazines last night and was faced with this bizarre question. It all started with the actual seminar itself, which showcased the latest research adventures of the fashion and design professor. Weaving together previous work that included alternative Orientalist narratives in the 19th century and queer lifestyle magazines, Lewis’ paper focused on the Muslim women’s magazines that emerged at a crucial time (post-9/11) when more positive representations of Muslims were needed in a Western public discourse that had  none. And the so usual suspects were mentioned: emel, Sisters, Muslim Girl, Azizah, and an anomaly, Alef–being the only one that didn’t try hard to get a particularly Muslim lifestyle look.

Having the enviable position of fashion professor, Lewis was more interested in how women/the human form were presented the magazines, what Islamic fashion is really all about, and the advertising contained within the magazines than the content. For her, visual representation in print media of women who were getting more covered up than their mothers, grandmothers, and their non-Muslim peers was striking and counter-cultural.


The same way Nylon and Harper’s Bazaar are different from each other in presentation and content, Muslim lifestyle magazines set themselves apart in these ways too, but addition to that the magazines self-define or defined by others as either “Muslim” or “Islamic”. emel, Lewis said, is a “Muslim” magazine in that it reaches out to an audience of diverse backgrounds and levels of religiosity, while Azizah is more “Islamic” because it caters to a more conservative readership. It’s hard to not find these labels contentious as they could lead to a series of polemical questions, like, is emel less Islamic than say, Azizah or can a lifestyle magazine as a guide help a reader gain a more Islamic look?

Of course the latter is a silly question, but having read fashion and lifestyle magazines myself before I’d say that there is a level of self-identification in (a few of) the models and the “I am what I buy” ethos that is much invested in brand advertising today. And so for attaining the trendy or at least up-to-date Muslimah look, one only need to look at what other people are wearing, and simply flick through magazines for reference.

During the Q & A session, someone from Saudi Arabia had asked a thought-provoking question about the real purpose of fashion in faith-based women’s magazines. It was a question that I had pondered over a long time ago when I decided on two things: to not be a follower of fashion and not to wear the hijab. The question goes something like this, “If fashion is about self-expression and to a large extent ‘being noticed’, how does Islamic dressing and the fickle world of fashion reconcile with the concept of modesty and inconspicuousness?” I remember the days when I had to wear the hijab in college and becoming the object of male attention which made me uncomfortable. Without the hijab, I found to my relief that the unwanted attention seemed to have lessened, but this had nothing to do with how much skin I was showing with or without the hijab, rather the headscarf became a marker of what good young Muslim men found attractive. This was when I learned that the hijab had more complex meanings.

This brings me back to the rhetorical Pucci headscarf and what modesty means to different Muslim women. In addition to being a symbol of devotion, modesty, and cultural identity, the hijab today has taken an extra meaning, one that fits nicely with the global consumer culture and current trends. The hijab as represented even in the most conservative Islamic women’s magazines often doubles up as a fashion accessory.

Not to sound overly fussy, but isn’t being fashionable attention-grabbing and hence immodest? I need to mention again that I am not into lifestyle magazines, fashion, and do not wear the headscarf, so I’m perhaps the least equipped person to explain whether Islamic fashion is modest or not. At the same time I think my assumptions that modesty clashes with fashion is probably unfounded, too.

What are your thoughts?

The Square Hijab Question

 To wear or not to wear?…that is the question!
All the Islamic clothing websites are all about amira’s and shaylas, blogs are posting about it and there is no way around it.  Shayla’s have made a permanent mark in the Islamic clothing industry.  We used to purchase from manufactures in Jordan when they were copying the styles of Dubai, who were copying the styles of Saudi, who were purchasing from India and who are all now purchasing from China.
There is nothing wrong with that on a basic level we suppose, we won’t get political about it, but we are interested in the fact that China has 1%-2% of it’s population according to wikipedia .  A few years back we were especially happy to carry Muslim manufactured and produced shaylas from the Muslim Chinese provinces.  But now, the made in China tag doesn’t really have a face to its production, only a name.  With a little investigation, I am sure we can find out who actually produced these made in China pins, the made in China hijabs and the made in China underscarfs, but we decided to have husnal dhun (benefit of the doubt) that these are all from the labor of Chinese Muslims, and we are happy to have them online.



So what does this have to do with square hijabs? 
To answer this simply, they are just non existent!  Ask anyone here how fun it is to open a shipment, get first dibs on the merchandise and plan for the new outfits purchased elsewhere.
I purchased an abaya online (yes, we love to support other Muslim clothing business’) and this dark green abaya would only look right with a square hijab.  So my online search began, maybe 2-3 sights carry them.  None of them worked for me.  Either they were not the right fabric, size, the shipping too high, or the color not right.  Finding the perfect shade of olive is just as difficult finding the perfect shade of brown.

During Ramadan I brought to the table purchasing square hijabs…are they “out of style” (whatever that means to you), or are they “old looking”? Do people still wear them? Here on the West Coast where we think Muslims are quite “fashion conscious” are not seen wearing them.  There are plenty of blogs that promote fashion, so we welcome you to blog on that subject, but our concern was finding them.

So, we thought we would bring them back for those ladies who feel that “I can’t wrap a shayla right” or “Amiras make my cheeks look big” delema?…case solved.