‘Radical Muslims’ clothing line aims to shatter stereotypes

Unknown1(RNS) Radical Muslims. The phrase elicits images of ISIS militants and terror in the desert, perhaps grainy YouTube videos, Kalashnikovs, and raised fists.

What about a man in an ankle-length garment and cotton headscarf carving the air with his skateboard?

Along with shirts bearing the “Radical Muslims” image and a Nike-like swoosh saying “Just Dua It” (dua being nonobligatory Muslim prayer, or supplications), Boston-based Munir Hassan has created an entire line of stereotype-shattering clothing for American Muslims.

In an explicit attempt to flip the script on popular images of Muslims and Islamic symbols, Hassan’s own Sidikii Clothing Co. merges cultures in fashion-forward, Muslim inspired designs.

“I’m Muslim, I’m American; I was born both,” Hassan said. “I wanted to design clothing that showcased different pieces of my culture inclusively.”

Hassan started screen-printing his own shirts a few years ago. When friends, family, and people on the street started asking questions about his T-shirts, he launched Sidikii Clothing Co.

In aiming to proclaim “a positive message in a negative space”—the company’s motto—Hassan and his customers are part of a wider stream of media resistance against popular, too often stereotypical, conceptions of Muslims in America. Increasingly, individuals and communities are using billboards, graffiti, music, dancing, and clothing to express irony, anger, humor, and resistance to the status quo.

Clothing can prove to be a powerful communicator of inner convictions, said David Morgan, chair of the department of religious studies at Duke University.

“That is because it is a kind of second skin, the skin you opt for, display openly and use to fit into a social body, a collective reality, that matters to you,” he said.


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