Are faith and fashion compatible?

A piece from Rabia Z.'s collection

One of the most persistent images of Muslim women is the veil, in its many forms. Whether it is hijab, niqab, or burqa, there is an assumption that Muslim women are not concerned with fashion and that they are defined by black clothing and an obsession to cover up. However, designers like Rabia Z. and the debut of Ala Dergi, a Turkish magazine dedicated to hijab fashion,  defy this stereotype and demonstrate that faith can be compatible with fashion.

Rabia Z., of Emirati and Afghani origin, designs with the idea that modesty can still be stylish. Her collections feature colorful long flowing garments that are stylish but are mindful of religious tenets. Rabia’s collections have received international acclaim with shows around the world. In the United States, her clothing was featured in Miami Fashion Week in 2010 and most recently at Casa La Femme in New York. Continue reading

Mixing in Mosques: An Influence of Neighborhood Norms

Tamil Muslim Children Photo: Dennis McGilvray

A few days prior to my departure from India in August, I ventured south from Hyderabad to the old French colony of Puducherry (Pondicherry), situated on the Bay of Bengal. I had a few minutes before my overnight bus journey back to Hyderabad and I decided to take a quick tour around the neighborhood to get a flavor of the area. Upon turning the corner of an old Hindu temple and noticing posters of Hindu gods transitioning to signs in Urdu and other objects marking the Muslim section of the neighborhood, I came across a typical 3-story white and green mosque.

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Inside Islam Radio Show: 2011 Hours Against Hate

Hannah Rosenthal and Farah Pandith (from left) attended a Ramadan iftar dinner hosted by the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. Photo: Israeli Embassy

Make sure to tune in today at 3pm CST (GMT+6) for the latest Inside Islam Radio Show, 2011 Hours Against Hate. Jean will speak with Farah Pandith, US Special Representative to Muslim Communities, and Hannah Rosenthal, US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, to learn about how their partnership at the US Department of State has sparked a global movement to build intercultural and interfaith connections through service.

For more information related to the show, check out our past pieces on interfaith service, Muslims and Jews in America, and a recent radio show with Interfaith Youth Core founder, Eboo Patel.

How to Listen and Participate

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  • Listen live on radio stations in Wisconsin Public Radio listening areas. The show will be broadcast live at 3 p.m. and re-broadcast at 9 p.m. CT.
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  • Call 1-877-GLOBE-07 to leave a voice mail for Here on Earth: Radio without Borders anytime.
  • Leave a comment on this page, or send us an email with your thoughts.

Islamic New Year

This past Saturday, November 26th, was the Islamic New Year 1433. The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle so it is shorter and moves every year. The hijra, the migration of the small Muslim community from Mecca to Medina in 622 of the western calendar, marked the beginning of this calendar. This migration is one of the most significant events in the history of Islam.

Prior to the hijra, Muslims in Mecca constituted a small group of followers of the Prophet Muhammad. They practiced Islam privately out of fear of persecution, which many of the early followers endured. With the hijra, the situation of this small group of believers changed, as well as the course of the Muslim community as a whole. Continue reading

It’s the Thought that Counts

Today, known as Black Friday, marks the beginning of a holiday shopping season here in the US characterized by increased spending and to a certain degree extravagance. While Muslim majority countries also have shopping seasons around Eid Al-Fitr, after Ramadan, and Eid Al-Adha, during the hajj, where there are seasonal products, the level of extravagance is not the same. Stores do not open at midnight or in the middle of the night and there isn’t the same drive to buy so many gifts. Having said that, though, giving gifts is important in Islam, but moderation is the guiding principle. Continue reading

A Night of Ramadan in Old Delhi

Jama Masjid, Delhi, India Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Many Americans will be feasting with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, and the holiday’s emphasis on food reminded me of my recent experiences in Delhi.

The end of my summer internship this past August brought me to the Puraani Shehar (in the Urdu language), or the Old City section of India’s capital, on the first night of the 9th month in the Muslim lunar calendar, Ramadan. Throughout the holy month, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from sunrise until sunset. The fast is traditionally ended by eating dates and followed by a congregational prayer in a mosque or the home of a local Muslim who is holding an iftar—the evening meal marking the end of the day’s fast.

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Islam, Besa, and Pashtunwali: A Seamless Integration

Muslim-Albanian Brothers, Ramadan and Isa Nuza, Saved Two Jewish Families During the Holocaust Photo: Norman Gershman

Last week, I wrote about how majority-Muslim Albania saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Recently, I was lucky enough to speak with Norman Gershman, the renowned American photographer of Jewish descent who traveled over a five-year period documenting the stories of Jews, and the Muslim-Albanian families who saved them. You can listen to my conversation with Gershman below.

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The Taliban in Libya?

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain stumbles on questions related to Libya in a recent interview.

Last week, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain badly stumbled at an editorial meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, displaying his limited knowledge of the current situation in Libya. His campaign blamed the gaffe on 4 hours of sleep and an ambiguous question from reporters. A few days later, Cain asked the media in a rhetorical manner, “Do I agree with saying that Gadhafi should go, do I agree that they now have a country where you’ve got Taliban and Al Qaeda that’s going to be a part of the government?” For the record, the Taliban has never been associated with Gadhafi or Libya.

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All-American Muslim Revisited

Last night, TLC aired the second episode of All-American Muslim, an 8-part series that follows the lives of five Muslim American families in Dearborn, Michigan. As I wrote in an earlier post, the show aims to dispel the stereotypes that surround Muslims and Islam. As a Muslim American, I had high expectations of the show. I was excited that an entire program would focus on the Muslim American community and would generate more discussion on this minority group. Well, the show certainly created more discussion,  after watching two episodes of All-American Muslim as well as Anderson Cooper’s daytime show about it, I am a bit disappointed by certain aspects of the show. Continue reading