“Islamists Do Not Want Anyone To Sing”

Mali is a country well known for its strong musical traditions. In a country where music is viewed as part of a cultural heritage, it is especially used as a means through which history is recorded. Music is considered to be Mali's “greatest and most important export product”. It is also a tool of resistance. While most of Mali's popular musicians have been from the southern part of the country, northern Mali holds up as its own. A few of Mali's most renowned musicians are from the North, and thi … [Read more...]

Al-Shamikha: Not Your Average Ladymag?

A new magazine is “making waves” in Europe and North America—or so it would seem from the media coverage. Al-Shamikha, a publication directed to women and published by Al-Fajr Media Centre (Al-Qaeda’s online propaganda distributor), has been defined as “Al-Qaeda’s Cosmopolitan” or “Jihad Cosmo.” The magazine, which is roughly 30 pages long, covers a variety of topics that range from beauty to “proper” wifehood and motherhood.  The magazine’s conception of “jihad,” which it defines specifically as … [Read more...]

Newsweek Turns a Widow into a Terrorist Mastermind

Christopher Dickey’s analysis of an interview with Defne Bayrak (pictured below), the wife of the Jordanian suicide bomber Humam Al-Balawi in Afghanistan, asks the wrong questions. Instead of pondering the reason why a woman of Bayrak’s intelligence would condone suicide bombing, he creates an image of women involved in al-Qaeda that made me feel like I was reading the review of a Lifetime movie called Wives of Terror: the Women of al-Qaeda. The article did not shed much light on the role of wom … [Read more...]