Iskandar’s Republic of Concubines

“We have no girls here that work with their degrees. Our girls are pampered. Everything she wants is at her service.”“Assuming I agree that you work, what would we do about your beauty? Your job is taking care of my heart ...isn’t it enough that you're the president of the republic of my heart?” Activists protest Iskandar's song in Beirut. Image via Alexandra Sandels/Los Angeles Times.These words are from Lebanese singer Mohammed Iskandar’s latest single Jomhouriyet Albi (“The republic of m … [Read more...]

Beauty and the Beastly Pundits: More on Miss USA

Rima Fakih has become an unlikely member of the Islamophobic grab-bag of images. Joining the images of oppressed burqa-wearers and angry men with beards, Miss USA’s victory has become a part of another far-fetched conspiracy. The best part is that we are actually seeing a ridiculous debate about the legitimacy of her victory, and whether or not it is evidence of a secret, home-grown Islamic uprising.In an article initially entitled “Is Miss USA a trailblazer or Hezbollah spy?” CNN reinforces … [Read more...]

How Western journalists reported the ban on burqa

This was written by Sabria S. Jawhar and was originally published in the Saudi Gazette.Two weeks ago I was interviewed on an Australian television news program about the wave of proposed burqa bans in Europe, Canada, and now, apparently, in Australia. No one should be surprised about my opinion of the whole thing: It’s dumb.My argument to George Negus, the interviewer at SBS, was simply that someone in a position of authority should have the wherewithal to ask a woman who wears the b … [Read more...]

Friday Links — May 21, 2010

This is what happens when you paint niqabs and the women who wear them as evil.Cultural issues keep Arab-American women away from health care.Iran has sentenced in absentia award-winning women's rights activist Shadi Sadr.A Saudi woman gives a morality officer a taste of his own medicine. More here.Miss USA link dump! Freep, AltMuslimah, elan, The Daily Beast, Comment is free, The American Muslim, The National, The Huffington Post, Newsweek.The Dallas Post profiles one … [Read more...]

Boys are Experts, Girls are Brainwashed: the Case of Ferah

At the end of April, on the Swiss German-language television show Arena, one of the "rising stars" of the "Muslim scene" in Switzerland, convert Nicholas Abdullah Blancho, was present. With Blancho was an acolyte in his CCIS/IZRS (Conseil central islamique suisse/Islamisches Zentralrats Schweiz) organization, a certain young Swiss convert of Kurdish Alevi origin named Ferah U. While Mr. Blancho's presence made headlines in last week's Hebdo (where the title asked if he was the "Bin Laden of … [Read more...]

Haters Gonna Hate: the Backlash Against Miss USA

Rima Fakih, an Arab Muslim immigrant, won the Miss USA Pageant Sunday night:She beat out four blondes and set off a whirlwind of media coverage stemming from her “stripper” past to her Shi'a background.On the positive side, one idealist commenter compared her to Barack Obama. Another went so far as to say her win shows the “real face of Arab Americans, not the stereotypes you hear about.” Ah, yes, not the burqa--the bikini! Trading one stereotype for another is not progressive, but whateve … [Read more...]

Niqabs, Media, and Taking Action

Today is the Day of Action on Quebec's Bill 94, which I wrote about last week.In honor of this, I wanted to share a video of a community dialogue on the bill, which took place in Toronto in early May.  It was a really impressive event, with a very engaging panel and over 150 people in attendance.  The video is pretty long, but well worth the watch for anyone interested in learning more about various personal, social, and legal perspectives on the bill's implications:NO to Quebec Provincial … [Read more...]