Culture

Rocky, the fighter

A new film, Bronx Princess, provides audiences with a fascinating and beautiful portrait of what it’s like to grapple with personal growth – to be at one moment headstrong and in the next, humbled. It follows Ghanian-American Rocky Otoo on her journey from home to university to meeting her estranged father in Ghana after two years. And it doesn’t beat you over the head with a Muslim angle or with bizarre tribal customs.

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Love, family, and survival in the new Iraq

Journalist Christina Asquith’s new book Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family, and Survival in the New Iraq tells the story of four women, their internal growth and external accomplishments, all of which give the reader a balanced, multifaceted look into the realities of post-war Iraq, including the failures, incompetency, oversights, and hubris involved but also the small successes and the opening of new opportunities.

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The focal point of cross-cultural dialogue

In the years since 9/11, Muslim men and women have responded to nativist hate mongering by working within the American legal framework. Muslim women have made the hijab a civil rights issue; similarly, the fight for the human rights of detainees has been going strong for some time. An additional response – one that is more nuanced to the gendered aspects of the problem – is to use gender and Muslim notions of femininity and masculinity as the focal point of cross-cultural dialogue.

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Kathy Zeitoun and Muslim women as change agents

While author Dave Eggers gives readers a lot of insight into what Kathy Zeitoun faces and her incredible character and spirit, there really has been little attention given to her following the book Zeitoun’s release. This lack of interest is a part of a larger problematic trend when it comes to highlighting the power of Muslim women in effecting change and being change agents in their respective societies.

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Naomi Wolf takes on the hijab

Until the Western world stops obsessing about the clothing choices of Muslim women, we need to continue explaining the social and religious reasons for the hijab. The fact that a noted American feminist like Naomi Wolf wrote an article on the issue is highly encouraging. Now let us hope that many more will follow in her footsteps, and include the nuances of these issues so that the arguments can be truly persuasive to a highly skeptical Western audience.

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Mad magazine: Marie Claire’s bias against Muslim women

There are multiple levels of victimization expressed in Marie Claire’s coverage of Muslim women, ranging from self-victimization (Islam as the answer for desperate, lost souls and only those souls), to falling prey to female weaknesses (Islam as attractive to only stupid, career-barren women), to being the inevitable victim of the ominous Islam of one’s family, society, and government. All of this adds up to Marie Claire’s distorted view of Muslim women.

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Domestic Crusaders: A review of Wajahat Ali’s groundbreaking play

Wajahat Ali’s play, The Domestic Crusaders, is an incredible contribution to American Muslim literature, and one that our communities will benefit from for years to come. Set to premiere in New York on September 11th, Ali’s play appeals to a mass audience while staying true to its goal of providing a groundbreaking, honest, and beautifully human portrayal of what it means to be an American Muslim.

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A misleading CNN article about hijabs

While the stated intent of a recent CNN article appeared positive, its actual content is misleading and unpersuasive. If this piece had run in a high school newspaper, it would not have been a cause for such alarm. That it ran as a headline article on CNN.com under the guise of dispelling myths about the hijab is troubling.

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Faith and desire in Albert Square

The British soap opera EastEnders is breaking new ground on gay issues by exploring what happens when Muslim boy meets boy – but marries girl. BBC television’s first gay Muslim, especially his first kiss, has been causing quite a stir. Although the love affair has not created the expected level of controversy, it has upset some Muslims.

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A new “View” of Arab women

“Kalam Nawaem,” a sixty-minute Middle Eastern talk show based on the American TV show “The View,” has capitalized on the popularity of satellite television to reach the nearly half of women in the Arab world who are illiterate, offering viewers, particularly women, an opportunity to listen to sharp discussions on salient issues.

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