An Influential Cover

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful…

Greetings again from my corner of the internet!

Considering the subject matter I prefer to write about here, and in the same vein as my last post, I came across an awesome article at the Huffington Post about ten influential American Muslim women and the works they are involved in. I highly, highly recommend the article to anyone reading this post from my Women, Girls, and the Media class and to anyone curious about what Muslim women can/can not, should/should not, or will/will not, do.

If I had to pick just one person to highlight here (which is actually quite difficult), I would choose Maria Ebrahimji. Reason being that she has co-authored a book titled I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim which is “a collection of essays written by 40 American-born Muslim women under 40” (Ali, 2013), and I plan on proposing this to my workplace book club as our next project. I have found it on Amazon here, and whether or not my book club decides to tackle it I am going to read this book.


About Sister Maria herself, Samina Ali (the original author of the article at the Huffington Post) writes:

Maria Ebrahimji is the co-editor of the anthology I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim, a collection of essays written by 40 American-born Muslim women under 40. Since then, she co-founded I Speak for Myself, Inc., a book and multimedia enterprise that focuses on publishing self-narrative collections on interfaith and intercultural issues. If that’s not enough, for her daytime job, Ebrahimji most recently was the Director and Executive Editorial Producer for Network Booking at CNN Worldwide. One thing she knows for sure, she says, is that “while we cannot speak for others, we can certainly speak for ourselves and share our own stories of faith. The more stories people bear witness to, the deeper their knowledge of the ‘unknown.'” (Ali, 2013)

I read a little of her interview from the link inside the above quote, and the first question Sister Samina asks her is about her take on other sisters’ perception of her being a Muslima and not wearing any sort of hijab (covering her hair). While I can appreciate her view and understand her sentiments, it led me to think: I wonder how many Muslim women on this article wear the proper hijab and cover their hair? So I counted (correct me if I’m wrong) and 7 out of the 10 American Muslim women were not wearing hijab. This then led me to start pondering the reasons why a Muslim woman would not cover her hair when to do so is a clear instruction. (If you’re questioning why a Muslima would even want to cover her hair, check this out). I’m pretty sure about my hypothesis – not that’s it right, just that it is well thought out – because I am in a similar situation; I have a long beard and I always wear a skullcap when I’m in prayer and out of my house. Outside of prayer and in my house there’s no skullcap, but whenever I’m out in public (including work) I wear it.

The only reason I mentioned that is because I am quite familiar and comfortable with the reasons why I choose that appearance and visually identify myself as a Muslim (on the side: men covering their hair is not even a mandate as it is for women – questions? check the above link). As for others? Best to leave it between them and their Lord.

Purity belongs to You, O Allah, with Your praises. I bear witness there is none worthy of worship except You. I seek forgiveness from You and I repent to You.

Ali, S. (2013). 10 American Muslim Women You Should Know. Retrieved from


Mourning Talk Shows and Morning Hijab Thought

In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful…

In Arabic, the above statement reads “biss-mill-la hir-rah-man nir-raheem” and as Muslims, it’s what we utter before undertaking any task, whether small or large, because it ensures God’s blessings in whatever it is we’re doing. Since I’m going to be writing about something that caught my eyes and ears the other day and including some legit pieces of Islam with it, I figured I better say it (or write it?) before starting because I’ll take all the blessings I can get.

To begin, I haven’t had a television in my home for 8 years, and therefore haven’t really watched TV in, well, 8 years (unfortunately, I have seen it sporadically at work over the last couple). My experience with what’s on the small-screen nowadays is limited, but while the TV is on at work I’ll occasionally catch something that simply reaffirms why I stopped watching it in the first place.

The pic below is a still from one experience I’d like to share – I was at work flipping through channels at the end of an overnight awake shift (I’m the Residential Supervisor at a group home for individuals with developmental disabilities): imagesCA21RFJ2

It’s from the Live With Kelly and Michael morning show, and in this particular episode the hosts interviewed PSY (whose non-stage-name is Park Jae Sang), the South Korean pop star who is most well-known for his 2012 single “Gangnam Style”. The full interview can be seen on YouTube here —> , but there’s just one part that truly disturbed me and I’ll do my best to reproduce the exchange.

Michael (the gentleman far-right) said that his big question for PSY was where did he learn to dance. PSY replied by stating that many people ask him whether he was professionally trained or not (he did attend Berklee College of Music in Boston for 3 years in the late ’90s) but that, “Not at all, you know; like my body shape, you know, it’s all casual and natural.” So, I’ll agree that his answer is odd and kind of humorous, but this isn’t my issue.

He then states that he learned everything from hanging out and drinking, which Kelly follows by saying that she wants to go to a nightclub with him because it would be so much fun. She asks PSY if he’s the last to leave and he states he never leaves. Kelly goes on to say, “I’ll be there with you,” – that all he has to do is name the place and time and she’ll be there (possibly accompanied by her co-host Michael; she adds that they’re “a package” at the end as an afterthought).

This is what disturbs me.

It took some research a little later that morning, but I found some information out.

Kelly is a 43-year old married mother of 3 children, and she’s on live television, telling the world that she wants to stay out drinking and dancing all night at a club, in black tights, with a strange man she barely knows and her opposite sex co-worker? Is that normal? Is that healthy? I see two possibilities and two implications from these remarks because she either meant what she said or she didn’t.

If she was being sincere and meant what she said, what kind of message is that sending out about being a 43-year old married mother of 3 children, and about the kinds of behavior that are acceptable? At that stage in a person’s life, is that really what someone should be doing? How about when the kids find out? Mom doesn’t come home from work one night and walks in the door, smelling of alcohol, as her children are on their way out with book bags on to catch the school bus in the morning? How is her husband supposed to feel? This is the message being sent out if the co-host was truthful in what she said – it’s normal and acceptable for a woman in those circumstances to engage in that kind of behavior.

If she wasn’t being sincere, just reading out pre-rehearsed lines already written for her, and truthfully didn’t mean what she was saying, what kind of message does that send out, and what does that say about the type of mentality that the show’s producers are attempting to propagate? If she actually didn’t believe what she said, it just highlights the way they want people to believe and how they want them to act.

Both are sinister if you ask me.

God mentions in the Last Testament, the Quran, in Chapter 24, Verse 30-31:

     Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms…

The proper explanation of this verse is way beyond my current studies in Islam, but some important points to mention are that: 1) Men are told first to control their desires, lowering their gaze, and to observe modest behavior; 2) Women are told next to do the same thing; and 3) Women are given the extra encouragement of veiling their beauty from strangers (the rest of the verse illumines who is included in that category – basically, she doesn’t cover herself in front of close relatives).tumblr_m2uo4bES1s1r31xa1o1_500_large

I will write more about my thoughts on why it’s good for a woman to wear modest clothing (and in a Muslima’s case dress like the sister above), but that’s a whole other post by itself for next time. To hear a sister’s point of view directly in spoken word…

And a good page on modesty and the hijab:

Till next time!

Purity belongs to You, O Allah, with Your praises. I bear witness there is none worthy of worship except You. I seek forgiveness from You and I repent to You.

Source: (where I got information about PSY)

In the Beginning…

This is quick introduction, more just a test to see how this whole blog-thing will work out. My name is AbdulRaheem (or Ron McLagan – either one will work) and this blog will run the course of this course and perhaps longer, of course. CUL-224114 Women, Girls, and the Media at SUNY Empire State College has required me to start it, and as I have tried to express in the blog title and tag line, this blog will contain reflections, critiques, expressions, thoughts, analyses, musings, and perceptions on the state of our society, the condition of our culture, and the problems of our populace from a Generation Y-er who began practicing Islam 8 years ago.

Because I live, breathe, eat, and sleep Islam, it comprises my entire being and shapes the way I view the nature of my neighbors and the status of my self. From the foundation just mentioned, this blog will contain writings related to the course topics of women, girls, and the media.