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.

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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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samina-ali/10-american-muslim-women-you-should-know_b_4413809.html

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Ms. Muslima

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

I read something the other day that piqued my interest and I’d like to share it here on my blog. There’s a story on BBC News Magazine about a Pakistani-American superhero named Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel, and the video reel accompanying the story is pretty intriguing.

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A white, female, American convert to Islam, G Willow Wilson, is penning the comic book with the hopes that her two daughters and millions of other young girls will have exciting role models to look up to.

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I think it’s an awesome idea and a great way to expand the audience of Marvel comics. Kamala Khan isn’t the first, though; there was a superhero named Sooraya Qadir who wore a niqab.

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These are both examples of positive role models for young Muslimas in modern American popular culture, and I think it does a great service towards showing the integration and cooperation that people with differences should have towards each other. And since these are action heroes, they appeal to a broad audience. I think it’s awesome that not only are the characters Muslim, but they’re women. That makes the demographic they’re representing even smaller and more of a niche venture, but it’s just super cool to have Muslim women represented in a positive light anywhere in popular media.

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To have Dust’s viewpoint (which can be extrapolated to the vast majority of Muslim women) expressed respectfully and appropriately within the pages of any media is milestone, and a marvel in and of itself. If only we could get better as a human race at applying that concept in our daily lives with every person we meet…

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.