OH NOES! Hijab will make you sick!

The results of a new study on Arab women in Dearborn, Mich., have been released. The study revealed that women who wear "traditional clothing" (code word for hijab) are prone to lower levels of vitamin D because of less exposure to sunlight. Two articles on the study (here and here) read like,  "Oh noes! Those poor hijabis who get no sunlight will get so sick!" This recent study is just the latest in a line of studies on hijabis in various parts of the world which all have the same result: … [Read more...]

Capitol Ladies: a feel-good post about Muslim women in Congress

I’m a member of the Congressional Muslim Staffer’s Association (CMSA), an organization on Capitol Hill that seeks to unite Muslims working in Congress and quell myths about Islam through outreach. Last Friday, some members of CMSA met with a group of young Egyptian men and women as their two-week congressional internship came to a close. Their trip, sponsored by the American Embassy in Cairo, was part of a student-led project to build a replica of U.S. government. I asked some of the women about … [Read more...]

Alo Again: News Lifestyle Magazine is More of the Same

Last summer saw the launch of ALO Hayati, “America’s Top Middle Eastern Lifestyle Magazine.” Thanks to a gracious donor, I finally got my hands on a copy of the July 2008 issue.All lifestyle magazines have an aspirational feel to them, and this one was no different. Chock full of advertisements for Dubai hotels and Swiss watches, ALO wasn’t particularly different than any other lifestyle magazine. Considering the economic situation of magazines, it doesn’t seem like an incredibly auspicious tim … [Read more...]

A Look at Women in Iran 30 years after the Islamic Revolution

It has been 30 years since the Islamic Revolution in Iran and Western media has a slew of various features looking at Iran. The subject of many of these features is Iranian women and, the common themes in these stories are that Iranian women have made some progress, but that more progress has to be made.There is the usual focus on hijab, with stories pointing out that hijab is mandatory. The AFP seemed particularly focused on hijab: "The Islamic republic still struggles to keep women properly … [Read more...]

Rock the Vote: Media Coverage of Women in Iraqi Elections

Last week’s Iraqi elections received lots of media coverage, but at MMW we were mostly fascinated by women candidates, especially since election rules require 30% of the candidates be female. The Huffington Post defines Iraq's exercise in democracy as rebellious, while the Gulf News qualified it as an act of political maturity. I'll take a closer look at CNN and The Guardian. There was mostly positive coverage at CNN. This article shows how Iraqi women contributed to their society, even before t … [Read more...]

“The Shadow Speaker” features Muslim protagonist of 2070

Who says young adult fiction about Muslim girls can only be contemporary or historical? Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu’s 2007 novel shows that Muslim teen lit can venture into the realm of the future.  Young adult novel The Shadow Speaker explores science fiction and fantasy with a story that plays out in a futuristic, magical universe with worlds beyond Earth. It does so starring a Muslim protagonist, 14- to 15-year-old Ejii Ugabe.In Ejji’s world, it is 2070. And instead of a futuristic Britain or Am … [Read more...]

The CIA and Rape: Media Representations of the Victims

Various news organizations have reported that a CIA officer stationed in Algeria, identified by CBS News as Andrew Warren, has been accused of drugging and raping two Algerian women. The women, according to CBS, came forward separately and "reported the incidents months after they occurred."  This from ABC News: The CIA's station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their … [Read more...]