Do Republicans Believe in Religious Liberty for Muslims?

181129-Obeidallah-Ilhan-Omar-tease_edcminIlhan Omar, the first hijab-wearing member of Congress, will be seated next January. Will Republicans back a rule change ensuring her right to wear it on the floor?

Donald Trump and his GOP talk and talk about their love of “religious liberty.” In May, there was Trump declaring that religious freedom is a “priority” of his administration.  And in July, Trump’s Department of Justice even announced the formation of a religious liberty task force.

Well, if Trump and the GOP truly believe that religious liberty is not just for Christians, then here’s a no-brainer for them. The Republicans in the House should unanimously support a recently proposed rule to ensure religious liberty for a soon-to-be-sworn-in Muslim member of Congress and push back against the anti-Muslim voices in their party when they attack this change—which, if history is any guide, they will!

Come January 3, 2019, Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-MN) will be the first Muslim member of Congress ever to wear a hijab (head scarf). The problem is that a House rule enacted in 1837 bans any type of headwear, which would include Omar’s headscarf.

In response, Democratic House leader and expected next speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has formally proposed to ditch this 181-year-old ban on headwear in order to “ensure religious expression.” As Pelosi explained to NBC News, “After voters elected the most diverse Congress in history, clarifying the antiquated rule banning headwear will further show the remarkable progress we have made as a nation.”

This rule, while on the books, doesn’t seem to have been enforced. As AshLee Strong, the spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, explained in an email, “Under both Republican and Democratic Speakers, the House has never prohibited any kind of religious headwear.” That’s great to hear. But forgive me if I’m not quite reassured.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY BEAST 

Advertisements

Students of all religions wore hijabs to celebrate Islam Appreciation Month

5a72962988f03.imageSoha Samla doesn’t typically wear her Islamic hijab, but she wrapped a tan one around herself Wednesday to feel closer to God for the day.

Samla was one of about 80 people, some for the first time, who tried on hijabs of various colors and patterns. UF’s Islam on Campus put on the “Hijabathon” to kick off Islam Appreciation Month, said coordinator Sana Nimer. They invited students of all religions to wear a hijab for the day and take it home.

“Islam is not this big, scary boogeyman that people want to make it out to be,” Nimer said. “If you come talk to us, hopefully we can help you understand that and get rid of some misconceptions.”

The hijabs were donated by individuals and businesses, such as Haute Hijab, Abaya Addict and Hijab Culture, Nimer said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ALLIGATOR.ORG

Hijab-wearing Barbie doll introduced in honour of Olympic fencer

ST_20171116_BARBIE16DKXQ_3561757NEW YORK • Meet the newest Barbie, who has dark skin, the muscular thighs of an athlete and a hijab.

The doll, modelled after Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, was revealed on Monday evening at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in New York.

Ibtihaj, who was the first American athlete to compete in the Olympics in a hijab, won a bronze medal in the team sabre event in Rio de Janeiro last year.

The fencing mask, the uniform and the “Olympic-medal-thick” legs were all there, Ibtihaj noted while introducing the doll onstage at the awards show.

And for the first time in Barbie’s existence since the 1950s, there was a white head scarf tucked tightly around the doll’s face, with not a wisp of fake hair in view.

“Perfect hijab moment right here,” Ibtihaj, 31, said, turning the toy this way and that.

 In an interview on Tuesday, she recalled how important it was for her to play with dolls as a child – even as she was pursuing sports – and “envision myself in places where society told me I did not belong”.

I Am Not Your Muslim

muslimIf Islam were a skin color, there would be a sliding scale along which you could determine just how Muslim you are. On the extremely Muslim end, there would be classic identifiers — hijab or niqab for women, a beard and skullcap for men. On the light Muslim end, there would be those whose identity can only be determined because of a name or provenance, those who usually “pass” in public and are not immediately identifiable. Let’s call this the Identity Matrix.

In order to predict how likely it is that a Muslim will be discriminated against, another measurement needs to be overlaid over visibility — The Privilege Scale. Jobs, wealth, education and other markers of status interplay with the degree of perceived Muslimness that can confer or deny immunity. This is pretty much how identifiers are leavened with social status (or lack thereof) across minority groups in most parts of the world.

Certain attributes and accoutrements offer some Muslims a “pass.” Sara Yasin, a Palestinian American journalist, remarked on how comparatively easy her passage through life in the United States is due to her pale skin, hazel eyes and neutral first name. A pass almost always depends on the ease with which an individual can blend into the affluent dominant culture. It sounds dramatic, and it is.

The ways Muslims have been fingered, pathologized and persecuted mean that the Muslim identity is being calibrated and re-calibrated in order to settle upon one dominant narrative. During the presidential election, Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims,” immediately casting suspicion upon any Muslim as a potential threat. He also suggested that Ghazala Khan, the Gold Star parent who appeared alongside her husband to support Hillary Clinton, was “not allowed to speak,” because she was Muslim.

These broad strokes are not only the preserve of the political right. Liberals such as Bill Maher have been at it for years. On terrorism, Maher suggested that, “if Muslim men could get laid more, we wouldn’t have this problem.”

This drive to otherize and dehumanize Muslims is grotesque, and the speed and uncoordinated efficiency of it seems almost like a natural phenomenon. But it isn’t. It’s a confluence of unnatural, dynamic and calculated narrow interests that dictate who gets to be “mainstream.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM NPR 

‘The Fashion of Islam’ to Arrive at de Young in 2018

27islamfashion-item-blog427SAN FRANCISCO — The de Young Museum here has drawn big crowds before with shows on Oscar de la Renta, Jean Paul Gaultier and Yves Saint Laurent. But for its next big fashion extravaganza, the museum is entering new territory — and moving from gowns to hijabs, the head scarves worn by many Muslim women. The museum’s new director, Max Hollein, has scheduled “The Fashion of Islam,” the first major show developed since his arrival, for the fall of 2018.

In Australia, the traveling show “Faith, Fashion, Fusion” recently explored the market for “modest fashion.” Otherwise, few museums have touched the topic.

“There are probably people who don’t even think there is fashion in Islam,” Mr. Hollein said. “But if you look at Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Beirut, the fashion is really vibrant, and it can speak to larger political and social developments, cultural understanding and misunderstandings.”

Mr. Hollein’s idea is to approach the subject from different perspectives, examining how Islamic styles are shaped by seemingly polar opposites: religious beliefs, which seek to avoid any appearance of extravagance and arrogance, or calling attention to oneself, and global fashion trends.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

We should wear hijabs for Donald Trump’s inauguration in support of ‘Muslim sisters’, says US actress

kathy-najimyAn American actress is encouraging women to wear head scarves on Donald Trump‘s inauguration day in a show of solidarity with Muslim women who wear the hijab.

 Kathy Najimy, best known for starring in Sister Act and Disney’s Hocus Pocus, recommended women attending an anti-inauguration march in Washington on Friday wear a scarf around their heads, “hijab style”, as a way of standing with their “about-to-be-disenfranchised Muslim Sisters”.

In a statement posted on Facebook, 59-year-old Ms Najimy wrote: “We wanted to create an action, visible and easy, to proclaim our commitment to freedom of religion and to the constitution — religion or no religion.

The actress insisted that such an act would not mean endorsing any religious doctrine, but “standing for freedom”, adding: “We support every woman’s right to worship as they wish and live in security and peace.

“We are by no means endorsing or aligning with any religious doctrine, but simply standing for freedom.”

Ms Najimy is leading a campaign group called Sisterhood of the Travelling Scarves in the nationwide call ahead of a women’s march on Friday, which is expected to see more than 100,000 people in Washington to protest against Mr Trump’s presidency, viewing it specifically as a “feminist issue”.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT 

Muslim Women in Hijab Break Barriers: ‘Take the Good With the Bad’

00xp-hijab1-master768When Ginella Massa, a Toronto-based TV reporter, recently accepted a request to host an evening newscast, she was not planning or expecting to make history for wearing a hijab. She was just covering for a colleague who wanted to go to a hockey game.

And that’s how Ms. Massa, who works at CityNews in Toronto, became the first Canadian woman to host a newscast from a large media company while wearing the head scarf. Her newscast, broadcast on Nov. 17, became the subject of social media celebration, and news sites around the world heralded her.

“It’s been a little insane the last two weeks,” Ms. Massa, 29, said in an interview. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I’m still working, so I’m trying to field calls and messages and everything in between.”

Ms. Massa’s newscast was one of a string of recent stories about young hijab-wearing women, or hijabis, who have pushed boundaries by strolling into spaces where the standards of appearance tend to be restrictive. Nura Afia, a 24-year-old from Colorado, was hired as a CoverGirl makeup ambassador. And Halima Aden, a 19-year-old from Minnesota, was a contestant in a beauty pageant. Ms. Aden sported a hijab and, during the swimwear portion of the competition, a burkini.

“All my relatives in Somalia are like, ‘We don’t know what pageants are,’ ” Ms. Aden told NPR, “ ‘but congratulations.’ ”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES