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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 11 March 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Got It Covered: Fashion Wakes up To Muslim Women’s Style

Zahra Lari wears Nike’s new hijab for female athletes. Photograph: Vivienne Balla/AP


Sole Hijabi Woman In Murrow Shares Her Story

Muslim Activist Linda Sarsour Arrested At International Women’s Day Protest

Muslim Activist Linda Sarsour Arrested At International Women’s Day Protest

The Quran Reveals That Inequality Rules Over Women In The Afterlife As Well.

Muslim girl’s Collection with Getty Images Challenges Stereotypes of Muslim Women

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Got It Covered: Fashion Wakes up To Muslim Women’s Style

With the Islamic economy growing at double the global rate, mainstream designers are jumping on the ‘modest wear’ bandwagon

Saturday 11 March 2017

A year or so ago the term modest wear would have drawn puzzled looks. But what a difference a year – or, in fact, a few weeks – makes.

This month, Vogue Arabia launched its first ever print issue, with Saudi Arabian princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz as its editor in chief. Days later, Nike pioneered a hi-tech hijab for Muslim female athletes. London has seen its first modest fashion week. Big brands such as DKNY, Mango, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta and Uniqlo have all offered modest fashion lines to women, and Debenhams has just become the first department store to sell hijabs on the high street.

Yet the latest talking point in fashion circles has been the appearance of The Modist, a luxury e-commerce venture which launched, quite intentionally, on international women’s day. Fashion that caters to women who want to combine their faith or modesty with contemporary style has emphatically arrived.

The founder and CEO of The Modist is 38-year-old Ghizlan Guenez, of Algerian background, who presents her new company more as a philosophy than a fashion destination. And of course Guenez, who has a private-equity background, knows this is where the big money lies. Global Muslim expenditure on fashion is set to rise to $484bn (£398bn) by 2019, according to Reuters and DinarStandard, a research and advisory firm.

“The Modist could not have launched at a better time,” says Guenez. “The stars were aligning for us. We saw Halima Aden, the first Muslim model in a hijab on the catwalk at New York fashion week, modelling for Yeezy, Kanye West’s fashion line; we’re seeing big brands reaching out to Muslim audiences even more, and we had the women’s march, which was incredibly empowering for women all over the globe.”

 Halima Aden wore a hijab during New York fashion week. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP

Guenez sees social media as pivotal to the modest fashion industry. “Social media has played a significant role in bringing women together – so a Malaysian fashionista can be inspired by a student in London. They’re informed by an online community of women who want to combine faith values with fashion.”

The Modist curates outfits that range from around £200 to £2,000, from coloured maxi dresses to wide-leg trousers, and dynamic-cut tops. Yet when it comes to gauging what modesty really means, Guenez is measured. “Modesty is a wide spectrum that involves personal choice,” she says. “But we do respect certain parameters, through lowering hemlines, avoiding sheerness and low necklines. We want to provide something that is inspiring, fashionable and relevant.”

Yet modest fashion, particularly when it comes to Muslims, has not been without controversy. Vogue Arabia’s front cover caused a Twitter backlash for depicting 21-year-model Gigi Hadid in a jewel-encrusted veil. She was criticised for giving religious offence, for cultural appropriation and for using her Palestinian roots as a fashion gimmick.

And of course there was the global outcry when burkinis, the full-piece Islamic swimsuits, were banned last summer from a string of French coastal towns and bizarrely linked to terrorism.

Reina Lewis, professor of cultural studies at the London College of Fashion, observes that when modest fashion mixes with major brands and Muslims, it can prompt controversy. “The fashion industry is broadly secular and there is an anxiety associated with Muslims and Islam in particular,” she says. “Muslims are often seen to be outside western-perceived cultural production.”

But that negative attitude is shifting, says Lewis. When she started researching her book Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures, she found the Muslim female designers, bloggers and entrepreneurs she spoke to could not get the attention of the big brands. “Now modest wear is seen as an asset because of Muslim spending power,” she says.

According to Reuters and DinarStandard, the Islamic economy is growing at nearly double the global rate. Muslim consumer spending on food and lifestyle reached $1.8tn in 2014 and is projected to reach $2.6tn in 2020.

And so modest wear continues to draw major brands: Dolce & Gabbana created a luxury hijab and abaya range in 2016; DKNY and Mango launched exclusive modest wear lines for Ramadan and Eid targeting the UAE; H&M featured its first Muslim model in a hijab, Mariah Idrissi, and Uniqlo joined forces with British-Japanese designer Hana Tajima to create their LifeWear collection. Debenhams is collaborating with a Muslim-run company, Aab, to sell kimono wraps, silky jumpsuits and elegant hijabs.

Just weeks before the release of Nike’s Pro Hijab, aimed at Muslim athletes, the company launched a video for Middle Eastern audiences. It featured a diversity of Muslim women ice-skating, boxing, horse-riding, and fencing. The voiceover, in Arabic, says: “What will they say about you? Maybe they’ll say you exceeded all expectations.”

It’s long overdue, according to Rimla Akhtar, the first Muslim woman on the Football Association council, and chair of the UK’s Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation. “Modest sports gear and sports hijabs are nothing new, but to have something from such a giant as Nike is significant.”

Akhtar, who has been competing since her teens, finds the sharp spotlight on Muslim women over the past few years to be both positive and negative. “It’s encouraging to see Muslim women recognised, but much of this advertising pushes the narrative of breaking stereotypes,” she says. “I look forward to a time when we can normalise Muslim women in sports, not constantly make them a political or social statement.”

Nabiilabee has been a blogger for seven years, and is among the pioneers of modest fashion. She started her eponymous clothing brand for anyone looking for something “modest, but still fun and quirky”. The 21-year-old belongs to the Mipster generation (Muslim hipster), which comprises urban, tech-savvy millennials who are confident in their faith and fashion choices.

“Hijabi bloggers and influencers weren’t really being seen by advertisers or companies, so we had to create a platform which united other Muslim women who were facing fashion dilemmas,” she says. “The problem still exists today; however, there is a lot more choice and those women who were once isolated by the high street have launched their own collections, like Arabian Nites, Aab and Verona Collection and my own Nabiilabee.”

So does this mean women who want stylish modest wear are finally being catered for? The answer, for Nabiilabee, is mixed. She feels that while recent moves are encouraging, there is still a long way to go in penetrating the high street and treating Muslim female shoppers as a sought-after commodity.

“It’s important that brands and marketing campaigns try to have an authentic conversation with this audience rather than simply sticking a ‘modest’ sticker on everything and hoping it will sell,” she says.



Sole Hijabi Woman in Murrow Shares Her Story


There tend to be misconceptions regarding why Muslim women choose to wear hijabs. Fadumo Ali, a senior in the Murrow College of Communication, is the only hijabi woman in her degree.

A hijab is not just a garment without meaning, Ali explained. The garment allows hijabi women to be noticed as representatives of the Islamic religion.

“It’s not just about me. I’m representing my whole religion,” Ali said. “That’s something about Islam, is that hijab women and women wearing burkas, or any other garments, they’re ambassadors of the faith.”

Although Ali first seemed shy or nervous about wearing a Hijab because she felt people would look to her for questions about the religion of Islam, she later learned that it was worth it.

“When I got into high school,” Ali said, “I’d be the one person in class making sure that I educated people about these different topics and what’s actually going on.”

Her experiences in high school led Ali to give more attention to news and politics, eventually leading her to pursue political journalism.

As a Hijabi, she learned to accept herself and her background.

“I would say don’t be afraid or don’t be ashamed of your heritage or your background,” Ali said. “When it got to a certain point in high school where I was like ‘forget this, I’m just going to do me and not try to forget anymore.’ As soon as I did that, I finally discovered myself.”

She pushed herself to excel because she knew she was the only woman in the college wearing a Hijab.

“I felt this weird sense being in the Murrow College being the only hijabi, that I always felt like I had to work harder and make sure that I perfected my skill to a different degree,” Ali said. “I felt like that pressure, like any minority, you have to work harder to be qualified.”

Ali said that representing a different minority not only allows other people to gain education about the religion, but it also empowers younger hijabi women or Muslim men.

“I feel like I’m able to represent a different community that doesn’t get represented,” Ali said. “I want to be that person that I wish I had growing up when I turned on the news and saw a Muslim woman or someone I looked similar to.”

Today, people look to the media, internet and other non-Muslims to understand the religion of Islam. This allows common misconceptions about Muslims and the religion to continue to exist. Ali explained that Muslims are just like anyone else, as we all strive for similar goals in life.

“We have the same aspirations as Americans or anyone else. We want to be educated, we want to have a job,” Ali said. “It’s so crazy because people categorize us as the ‘other’ without realizing that we’re working day-to-day for the same things everyone else is, and that’s something that people don’t understand.”

When asked to describe what Muslim people and the Islamic religion values most, the two words Ali chose were peace and understanding. She explained that God values peace and the understanding of one another and within her own life, she tries to reflect that to non-Muslims.

“When you take apart the meaning [of Islam], it means ‘religion of peace,’ ” Ali said.

Ali’s point of view as a hijabi Muslim woman opens the door to a unique piece of diversity at WSU. If individuals want to support their fellow classmates, she said they should try to understand what their Muslim peers value, experience and hope for in life.

“My advice to anyone who has any questions about Islam or Muslims, just go up and ask a Muslim,” Ali said. “Muslims actually want to talk to you. They’ll actually like to talk to you, to educate you about their religion, same as you would about your religion or your culture.”



Muslim Activist Linda Sarsour Arrested at International Women’s Day Protest

March 9, 2017

Accepting her handcuffs proudly, pictures posted on social media show a radiant Sarsour, replete in her red hijab, being led from the scene and later seated in a police wagon.  She was held for six hours on a charge of disorderly conduct before being released.

Speaking to reporters, Sarsour, former executive director for the Arab American Association of New York, said of the incident, “I feel empowered. I feel proud of what I did today and I’ve done this many times before… I hope it sends a message to people that you’ve got to risk it, you’ve got to be bold in this moment.

Sarsour has, in fact, done this before. No stranger to controversy, she spoke from the podium yesterday, challenging those who would not accept her view of feminism as lacking inclusivity. “If your feminism doesn’t include all women, if it doesn’t include the hijab that I wear on my head, we don’t need your feminism.” She went on to urge protestors and activists to “keep resisting” and “keep motivated.”

Sarsour was one of the organizers of the Women’s March movement, begun the day after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration. It earned her some admirers but also some serious detractors. Late in January an online campaign of misinformation began to target her, accusing her of being affiliated with militant groups, being a proponent of Sharia Law and an anti-Semite. Never one to shrink from a challenge or a fight, the fierce activist called her attackers “fake news purveyors” and “right wing media outlets recirculating false information.”

In February, following the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, Sarsour partnered with other Muslim activists to crowdfund a restoration of the damaged headstones. The group managed to raise more than $125,000. Speaking of the gesture, she said it was her hope that it would “send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration and violence in America.”



Muslim girl’s Collection with Getty Images Challenges Stereotypes of Muslim Women

10 March 2017

In an effort to represent Muslim women in a "fresh and contemporary light", Getty Images has partnered with, the largest Muslim women's website in the US, to create a host of images that challenge stereotypes.

Showing Muslim women taking selfies with friends, chatting on the phone and more, the images were created to challenge misconceptions of the Islamic community and better empower that community.

Embed from Getty Images

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh hopes this collection of 41 photos will be the first of many.

“Getty Images has a deep belief in the power of visuals to incite change and shift attitudes," said Pam Grossman, director of visual trends, Getty Images, in a statement.

"Visual literacy is so prolific with today's generation, that photos are now absorbed and processed with unprecedented immediacy. Positive imagery can have an impact on fighting stereotypes, celebrating diversity, and making communities feel empowered and represented in society. We're so proud to partner with to increase the visibility of these kinds of images in the world.”

The images, which are available for commercial use, feature girls with and without a hijab, are shown doing every day activities, at home, with friends, and in the workplace, and their style and strength is front and center.

Embed from Getty Images

According to Grossman, keyword searches for “Muslim” has increased 107% over the last year on

"One of the ways I open up my talks is by asking the audience to search 'Muslim women' images on their phone browsers, which is always met with their awe at the unsettling results," said Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder and editor-in-chief,, in a statement. "I don't want to be able to use that example anymore, and I could not be prouder to partner with Getty Images on finally taking on such an important and influential task."

This isn’t Getty’s first foray into challenging stereotypes. In 2016, they partnered with Refinery29, Lane Bryant and Aerie to create the 67% Project — speaking to the fact that 67% of women in the US are plus-size but only 2% of images depict plus-size women.

“67% of the bodies you see on our site, in our newsletter, and on our Instagram and Snapchat channels will be plus-size... We've been shooting stock photography and redesigning illustrations to more accurately reflect the women who make up the majority of our country. And we’re partnering with Getty Images to make this collection available to other outlets that wish to join us in closing the representation gap,” Refinery29 said in a statement.




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