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The de Young’s Latest Fashion Exhibition Turns Muslim Stereotypes Inside Out

01_21_0“Modesty is not the goal. Liberation is the goal,” says Syrian American artist Mona Haydar of why she wears the hijab. “It’s liberation from the beauty-industrial complex, liberation from the male gaze, liberation from our egos.” Haydar is a Muslim rapper, poet, and activist whose music video “Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab)” is part of Contemporary Muslim Fashions, an exhibition opening at the de Young Museum on September 22. The show follows on the very high heels of the museum’s blockbuster fashion exhibitions celebrating designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jean Paul Gaultier. But it departs from those showcases by spotlighting traditions that don’t always adhere to Western standards of beauty and that come wrapped in cultural and religious complexities.

It is a distinctly political show, in other words, albeit one in which aesthetic issues take ­precedence—or at least provide some stunning cover for weightier conversations. “Fashion is a very soft way to make your political point,” says Jill D’Allessandro, the de Young’s curator of costume and textile arts, who developed the show with assistant curator Laura Camerlengo. “The idea of making something beautiful and accessible to all faiths, ages, creeds, and religions is really an important stance right now.”

It’s also a profitable stance. Practitioners of Islam make up 24 percent of the world’s population, and they spend $254 billion per year on clothing (a figure expected to rise to $373 billion by 2022). If you’ve never heard of the “Muslim modest” fashion market, maybe don’t mention that if you’re applying for a job at a global apparel brand. Over the past few years, American Eagle, Carolina Herrera, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, H&M, Mango, Tommy Hilfiger, and Uniqlo all offered collections that observed modest Muslim dress codes. In its Fall/Winter 2018 presentations, Max Mara sent Somali American Muslim model Halima Aden down the runway in a hijab and a floor-skimming maxi skirt. And Nike released its Pro Hijab in December 2017, with a headline-grabbing campaign that featured Muslim athletes such as Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, and German boxer Zeina Nassar.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE 

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Setting Example Of Peace & Harmony, For 26 Years Now, Muslims Are Taking Care Of This Temple

muslims_are_taking_care_of_this_temple_1537162756About a kilometre into the road which leads to Laddhewala in Muzaffarnagar city, a dirty signpost welcomes visitors to this small, nondescript locality.

The lanes soon start getting narrower, about four-foot-wide, between rows of concrete houses. In one sleepy corner of an alleyway, cramped between two buildings, is a solitary temple left behind by its Hindu households sometime in the early 1990s, post the Babri Masjid demolition.

Twenty six years later, this shrine is still maintained by its Muslim neighbours, who clean it daily, whitewash it every Diwali and protect it from squatters and stray animals.

Meharbaan Ali, 60, a resident of Muslim-dominated Laddhewala, still remembers the days when the Hindu families had left the area in the aftermath of communal clashes. “Jitender Kumar was one of my closest friends. I tried to stop him from leaving, despite the tension. But he left nevertheless, along with many other families, with the promise that they would be back some day. Since then, residents here have been taking care of the temple,” said the elderly man.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INDIA TIMES 

Shows like Bodyguard perpetuate Muslim stereotypes. We created the Riz Test to show how dire representation is

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Films and television programmes are powerful mediums that are often taken for granted. They are major sources of entertainment and escapism, as well as often offering educational commentary on society, informing us about ideas and cultures we aren’t familiar with. We are often excited to watch the latest blockbuster summer releases, but if you are Muslim, that excitement also comes with a dose of apprehension.

Muslims see time and time again how carelessly or intentionally film and television makers bandy around stereotypes about Muslim communities. The ways in which Muslims are represented in films and in television are shocking. And this is why we need the Riz Test.

The Riz Test is defined by five criteria: If the film stars at least one character who is identifiably Muslim (by ethnicity, language or clothing) – is the character…

1. Talking about, the victim of, or the perpetrator of Islamist terrorism?

2. Presented as irrationally angry?

3. Presented as superstitious, culturally backwards or anti-modern?

4. Presented as a threat to a Western way of life?

5. If the character is male, is he presented as misogynistic? Or if female, is she presented as oppressed by her male counterparts? If the answer for any of the above is yes, then the film/show fails the test. Simple.

It should be easy for most films to pass, right? Wrong.

FULL ARTICLE FROM METRO.CO.UK (UK) 

 

 

9/11 Brought Them Together. They’ve Been Preaching Love Ever Since

Sarah van Gelder: How did the three of you start working together?

Rabbi Ted Falcon: When 9/11 occurred, I called Jamal, and the two of us did a Shabbat service together. Since then, we’ve taken part in each other’s services, and it has become natural to work together.

When one awakens spiritually, there is an awakening to inclusivity. You start to perceive that each authentic spiritual path is an avenue to a shared universal. To deepen means to explore that territory together along with the ethic that naturally flows from it.

Sarah: Had you done those exchanges before 9/11?

Brother Jamal Rahman: Not much. After 9/11, as a Muslim, I felt a strong need for such a community.

Ted: A lot of attention at that time was focused on the perpetrators of 9/11 as representative of Islam, and we wanted to counteract that. We needed to put public faces on mutual understanding between our faiths.

FULL ARTICLE FROM YES

Inside a Millennial Women’s Quran Study Group

women-across-america-road-trip-ashburn-virginia-halaqa-01A few minutes past 3 p.m., after Henna Qureshi and Adeela Khan take a moment to pray, they settle on a living room rug with two more friends to talk. It’s a drizzly July afternoon, and Qureshi, Khan and Freshta Mohammad have gathered in Nafisa Isa’s family home in Ashburn, Va., for their monthly halaqa, an Islamic study group. Isa tucks her feet beneath her knees as she spreads colored pens across the floor for all to share. The topic of the day is “Nice for What?” — title inspired by the Drake song — a theme that women of all backgrounds can relate to.

“As ambitious Muslim women, we have to hold ourselves to high standards of conduct in our lives — whether it’s in the workplace or in community settings — prioritizing being kind, helpful and compassionate above all else,” Isa begins, reading the prompt they’ve each pondered in preparation for this meeting. “How do we react when people aren’t kind to us? How do we assert ourselves and express our emotions in a way that doesn’t stifle us or contradict our values?”

The four women, along with a few other friends, been meeting regularly since 2016, when Isa decided to create a dedicated setting for her peers to discuss Islam and their experiences as Muslim American women. There are halaqa groups across the country, but theirs is uniquely Millennial, Isa says — while they study the Quran, they also draw upon pop culture for discussion topics and add activities like visiting museums and crafting to their agendas. “We have these conversations about faith, personal growth, philosophy, theology, all the stuff that you would expect,” Isa says. “But then we’ll also paint unicorns.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM TIME MAGAZINE

Seventeen years after 9/11, Muslims are still “presumed guilty”

5b97d42ba597b.imageWhen people ask Todd Green why Muslims don’t condemn terrorism — and they do ask, often — he has a quick response: “Have you ever Googled ‘Muslims condemning terrorism’?”

One of the top search results is MuslimsCondemn.com, an online database created almost two years ago by a 19-year-old college student. “You could spend all day on that site reading Muslims’ condemnations,” Green said.

The site lists statements from organizations like the Muslim Public Affairs Council and Islamic Society of North America; religious leaders like Imam Omar Suleiman and Imam Suhaib Webb; and political leaders and civil activists like London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Linda Sarour, former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

Fatwas have been declared, campaigns have been launched, memorials and prayer vigils have been held — all in the name of standing up against extremism.

Todd Green
Todd Green is the author of “Presumed Guilty.” Courtesy Todd Green

But somehow, Green says, some people seem to have missed out on how vocally most Muslims stand against terrorism, extremism and violence. In his new book “Presumed Guilty: Why We Shouldn’t Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism,” the associate professor of religion at Iowa’s Luther College cautions fellow non-Muslim Americans against what he calls not only a “troubling and unethical” double standard, but also “a form of racist scapegoating.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE OAKLAND PRESS 

Two Muslim women are headed for Congress

20180915_usp503IN HIS first presidential campaign, George W. Bush received 42% of the Muslim-American vote, compared with 31% for Al Gore. The 9/11 attacks, and the wars that followed, changed that affiliation. Eight years later, Muslim-Americans overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama. This was a big change for a religious minority that tended to have conservative views: traditionalist Muslims and LBGT advocates are strange bedfellows. Donald Trump’s election, though, has brought a clutch of progressive Muslims into politics. Some are now heading to Congress.

America has 3.5m Muslims, around 1% of the population. Some say the number is closer to 5m and rising; the Census Bureau has not asked questions about religion since the 1950s, so it is hard to know for sure. Only about 100 Muslims filed papers this year to run for office. These few attract a disproportionate amount of attention, largely because of America’s views of their faith. Polling by the Pew Research Centre in April 2017 found that 44% of eligible voters think there is a “natural conflict” between Islam and democracy.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ECONOMIST