Niqab-Clad Woman Runs for French Presidency

Kenza Drider in front of her campaign posters

At the end of September, Kenza Drider, a French citizen of Morroccan descent, announced that she would run in the next presidential election against Nicolas Sarkozy. Drider, a mother of 4 who wears a niqab or face veil, has become a well-known opponent of the French ban on the veil that went into effect in April. She was the only woman to testify before an information commission of lawmakers before the ban was passed. She was also one of the first women to be fined under the new law. This ban affects less than an estimated 2000 women and can result in a 150 euro fine and in some cases citizenship classes. Continue reading

Inside Islam Radio Show: All-American Muslim

Two Muslim-American Women Featured in All-American Muslim

Tune in tomorrow (Wednesday, November 9) to hear the latest Inside Islam radio show. Jean will speak with the producers and Nina Bazzy, a character from the reality TV show, All American-Muslim. This show, which premieres this Sunday on TLC, follows five Muslim families in predominately Arab-American Dearborn, Michigan.

For more information on the show and related content, see Reem’s recent post and other pieces about the use of television to challenge stereotypes of Muslim-Americans. Do you think this program will have a positive impact on the image of Muslim Americans? Or will it simply promote further negative stereotypes? Leave your comments below and we may use them on air.

How to Listen and Participate

  • Leave a post below and the Inside Islam radio team will consider airing your comments and question during the broadcast.
  • 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.
  • Listen to a live webstream of the show on the Ideas Network.
  • 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.

Muslim and American

On October 12th, Tarek Fatah posted a conversation with Ayaan Hirsi Ali on The Huffington Post. In this conversation, Fatah and Ali, a former Muslim and well-known critic of Islam, discussed many issues, ranging from extremist activity among Muslims to Muslim citizenship in the West. Of these topics, I would like to focus on the place of Muslims in the West, specifically in the United States.

Ali is surprised that Muslims who spend the majority or all of their lives in the United States still adhere to Islam. She expects these Muslims to discard their beliefs in order to be truly American because in her perception there is a clear contradiction between the practice of Islam and being an American. In another context, she argued that Muslims in the United States should all accept Christianity in order to have a place in America. In her conversation with Fatah, she suggested that organizations like the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations had secret agendas because they attempt to portray a positive picture of Islam and fight for Muslims’ civil rights. Continue reading

The History of Hate

The revered 20th century Catalan Painter Salvador Dali also created images gruesomely depicting the Prophet Muhammad

Today, Thursday, October 6, Luis Bernabé Pons, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Alicante in Spain, will be speaking about Islam and Christianity in 16th century Spain. The event will focus upon the Lead Books of Sacromonte and will take place at the Pyle Center in Madison Wisconsin @ 7 PM.

Earlier this week, Reem and I had the privilege to speak with Luis Bernabé. We discussed a variety of topics related to the history of Islam, but his presentation exploring the history of the Occident‘s misrepresentation of Islam stood out the most. Continue reading

What Can a Muslim Reality Show Do in a Post-9/11 America?

Suheila and Bilal--Two American Muslims featured on "All American Muslim"

This coming November, a new Muslim reality show will broadcast on TLC. All American Muslim will follow the lives of 5 families in Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest Muslim population in the United States. The show aims to give a glimpse of the Muslim American population and the challenges that they face, inside and outside of their community. Moreover, according to Amy Winter, TLC’s general manager, one of the goals of the program is to show the diversity of the Muslim community, which is not only true of the community in Dearborn but of the worldwide Muslim community.

This show comes at a time where the situation for Muslim Americans has been mixed. Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, there is an increased awareness of this community and Islam more generally but on the other hand it has become much more acceptable to express negative sentiments about Muslims and Islam. A show like this can further the positive interest that has emerged post 9/11 and counteract the negative response.

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Academia and Islamophobia

There have been many indications in the last year that Islamophobia has been increasing: the protests around the building of  Cordoba House in New York, the attempts in some states to ban sharia law, and Peter King’s hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. All these stories revolve around the concept of fear, specifically fear of Islam and Muslims. While many people have strong opinions on Islam and Muslims, many actually do not know that much about the faith or its followers, even though it is the second largest religion in the world.

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Muslims “Go Back Home!”

Hate rallies against Muslims and Islam have increased

The above were among the words used by anti-Islam protesters in Orange County, CA, as Muslim men, women, and children peacefully entered a fundraiser benefiting a local women’s shelter and homeless services. Local councilwoman Deborah Pauly was met with loud cheers as she told the crowd of hundreds,  “I know quite a few Marines who will be very happy to help these terrorists [the peaceful people at the fundraiser] to an early meeting in paradise.” Other epithets from the crowd included “Muhammad was a pervert,” “Muhammad was a false Prophet,” and “One nation under God, not Allah.” (Just to clarify, Allah is the Arabic word for God, and is used to refer to God by Arab Christians, Arab Jews, and Muslims.)

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The Qu’osby Show?

Cover of America's Muslim Family

A recent episode of the satirical news program The Daily Show placed a humorous spin on the idea of having a “Muslim” Cosby Show. As we mentioned in January, Katie Couric and others see the Cosby show as an important step towards mainstream white-American acceptance and respect for African-Americans and believe a comedy show about a Muslim-American family could bring about a similar shift in opinion.

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Is U.K. Multiculturalism Failing?

Photo: AP

Billed as one of the most important speeches of his first nine months in office, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s address to world leaders at the Munich Security Conference in Germany highlighted his disapproval of multiculturalism and the alleged rise in extremism in the U.K. linked to its failure. Cameron criticized Britain’s “tolerance for segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to British values” and called on European governments to practice “a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism.”

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Could a Muslim “Cosby Show” Dispel Islamophobia?

While talking about the year in review, Katie Couric spoke out against the anti-Muslim sentiment that emerged around the Islamic Center near Ground Zero, Cordoba House, and suggested on her CBSNews.com webshow that a Muslim version of “The Cosby Show” would alleviate the situation. In the show’s short segment, Couric said that she was disappointed by the hatred of Muslims displayed around the issue of the Islamic Center, which she attributed to a lack of knowledge of Islam among Americans. Although some find her suggestion of a sitcom absurd, I argue that a sitcom would be a constructive means to improve the image of Muslims.

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