‘Girl of the Year’ Doll Is
African-American, Photo: American Girl
First Black American Girl Doll of The Year, Could A
Muslim Doll Be Next?
Sugar Land-Area Woman in Hijab Says Man Called Her Family
Saudi Women Now Work At Airports
Zambia Women's 'Day Off For Periods' Sparks Debate
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Muslim Woman Passed over as Romania’s PM Named Deputy
January 3, 2017
Bucharest (Romania), Jan 3: A Romanian economist who had
been poised to become the country’s first female and Muslim prime minister was
offered a job as deputy premier today after the country’s president declined to
nominate her for the top government job. Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the Social
Democratic Party which won the December 11 election, said that Sevil Shhaideh,
the party’s first choice for premier, would serve as deputy premier and as
regional development minster, a spot she briefly held in 2015. President Klaus
Iohannis decided against nominating Shhaideh, a political novice, because of
concerns over the support her Syria-born husband had expressed for Syrian
President Bashar Assad on social media. Parliament is expected to approve the
26-member coalition government tomorrow. It has four more ministries than the
previous technocrat-led government and eight of the portfolios are held by
women. Dragnea named close ally Carmen Daniela Dan to the key post of interior
minister, which would make her the first woman to hold the post.
The nominee for foreign minister is Teodor Melescanu, 75,
who entered the foreign ministry during the communist era. Melescanu previously
served as foreign minister from 1992-1996 and for a few days in 2014. He also
headed Romania’s foreign espionage agency. The Social Democrats will govern
with the junior Alliance of Liberals and Democrats “We have a program to
govern,” Prime Minister-elect Sorin Grindeanu, a regional politician who was
nominated last week, said. “It urges us to show responsibility, modesty and respect
First Black American Girl Doll Of The Year, Could A
Muslim Doll Be Next?
American Girl Doll Company (owned by Mattel) finally took
customer feedback to heart and introduced their first black doll of the year,
Gabriella McBride. Each January for more than a decade, they have unveiled the
doll of the year and accessories that coincide with her story. They had a few
historical dolls of color but this is a first for the doll of the year.
This is a long time coming and couldn’t be more important
in 2017. The American public has been pounded by divisive rhetoric throughout
2016; and, we are hurting. Our country needs to heal. We need to teach our
children that the strength of our nation is in our diversity, not in fear
Gabriella McBride is a dancer who is advocating for her
art center to remain open. Despite suffering a speech impediment, she uses
poetry to express her activism. I love this subtle expression of the struggle
that black Americans go through in America. At least that is how I am
interpreting the story they chose for her.
Girl of the year dolls retire at year end, but Gabriella
will be available beyond 2017. I would like to add her to my doll collection.
My daughter is a teenager now and no longer plays with dolls, but we amassed
quite an American Girl doll collection and took our doll collecting very
I loved playing with dolls as a young girl in the 1970s.
I had sealed my childhood dolls away in storage to give to my daughter someday
but it was not to be. My childhood dolls were stolen when our home was being
renovated. I think this is partly why I embraced the American Girl doll
phenomenon with my daughter as she was growing up.
We have the beautiful Hispanic doll, Josefina and the
Hawaiian girl of the year doll, Kanani. (I was really into Kanani since my
husband and I got married in Maui.) But most of the American Girl dolls are
white. I have Asian friends that struggle with wanting to find Asian dolls
their children can play with and feel good about.
Back in 2009, I wrote a letter to the American Girl Doll
company asking if they were planning to create a Muslim American Doll. They
have a Jewish American historical girl doll named, Rebecca, which I think is
great. They wrote a letter back to me and you can read it right here:
This response is dated, but seemed pretty firm in telling
me that the American Girl Doll Company had zero intention of ever creating a
doll that expresses the Islamic faith. And the letter is telling me that the
Rebecca doll expresses her Jewish faith— but only because Jewish immigrant
Americans contributed to society. (So in other words, Muslim immigrant
Americans have not contributed to society?)
At the time, this letter was a punch in the gut for me. I
had a daughter not only in the doll-playing stage but that I was raising as a
Muslim American. My daughter asked me why there was a Jewish doll and not a
Muslim doll. And honestly, I never gave my daughter a straight answer as to why
that was so.
ictures from the American Girl website of Jewish doll
Rebecca and her menorah and dreidel set.
The arrival of the first black girl of the year has
prompted the memories of this correspondence for me. I find the reasoning
invalid. (Sorry AG Company!) I am a long-time customer. I remained one even
after receiving this letter.
I would like to educate (and I invite readers to help) on
the great contributions Islam has not only brought to the planet (umm- Islam
brought us algebra, trigonometry, the theory of relativity and coffee (Coffee!)
to name just a few things) but also educate on contributions Muslims brought
and continue to bring to America.
American Muslim history is a rich one. This article from
Islam101 alone provides a laundry list of contributions Muslims have made to
American society from its earliest days. Muslim Americans are doctors, lawyers,
activists, engineers, educators. Muslim Americans are educated and charitable.
Some famous Muslim Americans in politics, sports and
civil rights movements include: Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Hakeem Olajuwon, Keith
Ellison. Muslim Americans have served in our armed forces and have died for our
country. Remember the gold star family of Captain Humayun Khan, an American
Muslim soldier who died in the line of duty? This Muslim American hero’s
father, Khizr Khan, held up a copy of his ACLU Pocket Constitution at the
Democratic National Convention and stated to Donald Trump, “You have sacrificed
nothing and no-one.”
Our country seems to have gone back to the 1950s -
threatening the progress we have made in civil rights and recognizing the
strength of our diversity. It’s a scary time in America right now. Now more
than ever- we need American organizations to use their marketing power and
financial influence to courageously defend the values that make us strong. And
many companies do actively use their marketing prowess to help drown out the
voices of hate.
One such company is Penzey’s. They are a spice company
who like American Girl, is based out of Wisconsin. Penzey’s stands firmly and
openly about their values recently stating, “Cooking trumps racism.” I have
bought spices for myself and as gifts. (They are fantastic by the way.) And I
plan to pay close attention to wear I spend my dollars moving forward.
We simply cannot afford to spend our money on
organizations that promote hate- even subtlety or in secret. If we want to live
in an America that defends our values of diversity, the mighty dollar is one of
our most important tools. We must actively pursue commercial transactions with
organizations with integrity in this manner. We must only spend our dollars on
goods and services from companies that openly defend the values of our
Constitution and the inalienable rights of all Americans.
As for American Girl, I am happy about their new doll,
Gabriella. She is beautiful. I hope to add her to my collection. And I’m
hopeful they will have a change of heart about their decision that Muslim
immigrants have not contributed to the fabric of American society. It’s simply
not based in truth.
To give your feedback to American Girl Doll Company, you
can call them at: 800-845-0005 or write to them at the following address:
P.O. Box 620497, Middleton, WI 53562-0497
Being the change we want to see in the world is not just
a feel good saying but a very real and active state of mind we all need to be
in for 2017 and beyond.
Are you with me? We can do this.
January 3, 2017
When 21-year-old Shifa Abuzaid decided in May to begin
wearing a hijab, she said her parents worried it might bring about incidents like
the one she says she recently experienced.
A man passing Abuzaid, along with her younger cousins and
siblings, called them a "bunch of terrorists" on Saturday in Sugar
Land Town Square, Abuzaid recounted in a Facebook post that has since been
shared on the medium more than 2,500 times.
Abuzaid was the eldest of her family members present at
the time. The youngest was 10.
The group had been walking to their car after lunch when
they passed the verbally abusive man and a woman, Abuzaid said in a phone interview
Tuesday. Abuzaid was walking in front and was the only one with a hijab, a head
covering worn in public by some Muslim women.
When they passed the couple, she said she tried to appear
friendly, as she often does because of the political climate regarding Muslims.
But the younger kids stopped in their tracks after the
couple passed, she said. They told Abuzaid what they had heard the man say. She
felt shocked -- then she decided to try to talk with him about it.
As Abuzaid told it, she followed the man into a store.
She said they asked him politely why he had called them terrorists. She found
his reaction was confrontational.
Her sister began to cry as the man got close to her face,
and when her 15-year-old brother stepped in front of her, Abuzaid alleged the
man pushed him.
The man then began to deny their account, Abuzaid said. A
manager at the store, Sur La Table, stepped in to help. The store had called
security, and the man and woman left. (The company did not immediately return a
request for comment.)
A police officer who later arrived told Abuzaid he
couldn't do anything because no one was physically harmed, she said. (Sugar
Land Police Chief Douglas Brinkley said they have since re-connected with the
family to talk with them again.)
So, at 4:29 p.m. Saturday, Abuzaid posted her account of
what had happened along with a short video her cousin recorded of part of their
exchange with the man. Ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations, she said she
wanted people to know this man might be there.
Abuzaid still doesn't know his name -- and points out
that he didn't know hers, either. Nor did he likely know she was a student at
the University of Houston, born in the United States.
"You don't even know my name," she said.
"You don't know my story."
Jan 4, 2017
JEDDAH – Saudi women are now in the front rows of
airports guiding passengers. This became possible after years of they asking
those interested in the development of women’s work to widen the scope and
include them in all sectors that need a female cadre for customer services.
The move is in line with “Vision 2030” that includes a
dramatic outline for the development of women’s work.
To know about their experience, Al-Madinah daily met with
a group of female employees who work in this field.
Asrar Mushee said: “I am proud of being one of the first
Saudi girls in a new field entirely for women in the aviation industry, and
specifically in the airport.
“It is a challenge to prove our capabilities and to prove
to the community and the whole world that we are capable of success and
innovation in all areas when we have the opportunity, and from my experience I
can say: It is distinctive since we serve passengers, visitors and make them
feel satisfied with what we are giving them.”
Mai Farhat says: “I thank the company for giving us a
chance to attend this high-level work and intensive training, especially since
this is a great achievement to prove skills and capabilities of the Saudi
Abrar Saidi said: “We thank God and then Arabia Gulf Air,
which embraced this idea.”
Samer Abdul Salam Al-Majali, CEO of Arabia Gulf Air,
says: “The company has a headstart in employing women, which includes 10
employees working under the name of “airport movement employee” and we are
working to raise the number to 21 at the end of March 2017.
He said the company entrusted several tasks to female
employees that were reserved for men in the past such as data input and
passengers information verification, boarding passengers and providing services
to first-class passengers, families and people with special needs.
He stressed that the company has worked on choosing the
right employees and providing them with intensive training so they can be
equipped to address the difficulties that they will face as the first group of
women in the field.
“The company is keen on empowering female employees,” he
By Kennedy Gondwe
4 January 2017
This is no doubt why a provision in the country's labour
law that allows female workers to take off one day a month is known as Mother's
Day, even though it applies to all women, whether or not they have children.
The legal definition is not precise - women can take the
day when they want and do not have to provide any medical justification,
leading some to question the provision.
"I think it's a good law because women go through a
lot when they are on their menses [periods]," says Ndekela Mazimba, who
works in public relations.
Ms Mazimba is neither married nor does she have children
but she takes her Mother's Day every month because of her gruelling period
"You might find that on the first day of your
menses, you'll have stomach cramps - really bad stomach cramps. You can take
whatever painkillers but end up in bed the whole day.
"And sometimes, you find that someone is irritable
before her menses start, but as they progress, it gets better. So, in my case,
it's just the first day to help when the symptoms are really bad."
Women in Zambia do not need to make prior arrangements to
be absent from work, but can simply call in on the day to say they are taking
An employer who denies female employees this entitlement
can be prosecuted.
Ms Mazimba's boss, Justin Mukosa, supports the law and
says he understands the pressure women face in juggling careers and family
A married man himself, he says the measure can have a
positive impact on women's work:
"Productivity is not only about the person being in
the office. It should basically hinge on the output of that person."
But he admits there are problems with the current system
in terms of losing staff at short notice and also the temptation for people to
play the system:
"It could be abused in the context that maybe an
individual might have some personal plans they wish to attend to so she takes
Mother's Day on the day.
Not everyone is so supportive of Mother's Day, and there
are many women among the critics.
Mutinta Musokotwane-Chikopela is married and has three
She has a full-time marketing job but never takes
Mother's Day, arguing that it encourages laziness in working women.
"I don't believe in it and I don't take it. Menses
are a normal thing in a woman's body; it's like being pregnant or
childbirth," she says.
"I think women take advantage of that, especially
that there's no way of proving that you are on your menses or not."
Ms Chikopela says the provision should have been made
more clear in the law.
"The problem in Zambia is that we have too many
holidays - including a holiday for national prayers. So I guess Mother's Day
makes those that love holidays happy."
The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the umbrella
body representing the country's workers, is also a supporter of the law.
But the entitlement "would have to be
forfeited" if a woman were to take it on a day that she was not on her
period, says Catherine Chinunda, national trustee at ZCTU.
"We have been educating women about Mother's Day,
telling them that on that day, they are supposed to rest and not even go
shopping or do other jobs because that is wrong," she says.
The law itself provides no guidance about what is allowed
and it would appear that very few, if any, employers have internal policy
guidance in that respect.
She dismisses the idea that men should also get a day off
every month, as has been suggested by some:
"Men sometimes go to drink and miss work…. they
don't know how it feels to be on menses."
But while praising the concept of Mother's Day, some
argue that the reality is bad for business.
"Imagine a company that has a number of employees
and six or seven take Mother's Day on the same day. What will happen to
productivity?" he asks.
Labour Minister Joyce Nonde-Simukoko, a former trade
union activist, tells me that Mother's Day was initially informally observed in
the 1990s before eventually being brought into law.
But she has stern words for anyone thinking of using the
entitlement to bunk off work:
"If you absent yourself yet you are found in a disco
house, then it will not be taken as Mother's Day.
"You shouldn't even leave town, be found doing your
hair or shopping. You can be fired. For example, somebody was found farming
after taking Mother's Day and she was fired."
One of the problems with the law is that it does not make
this explicit, leading to confusion among employers and employees alike.
But perhaps even more than the practical benefits, it is
the intention and the spirit of the legislation that many Zambians support.
As Linda Kasonde, a senior lawyer, tells me:
"The reason why mother's day is important within the
Zambian context is that it recognises that women are the primary care-givers in
our society - regardless of whether they are married or not."
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"Muslim Woman Passed over as Romania’s PM Named Deputy"
no self respecting muslim should complain about this until saudi arabia and iran elect female muftis and kaffir leaders.