Road Rage Cited in Killing of Muslim Girl in Virginia

The Fairfax County Police Department are blaming “road rage” as the mostly likely reason, instead of a hate crime, in the killing of a Muslim teenager in Virginia whose body was found in a pond later.

Nabra Hassanen, 17, was killed on Sunday after she and a group of nearly 15 friends encountered a driver, Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, about 3:40 a.m., the police said in a statement.  The group of teenagers had been at a late-night event at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Va., and were headed back to the mosque after a trip to a fast-food restaurant.

Mr. Torres was arrested at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday and charged with the murder after the Ms. Hassanen’s body was found.

The commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County, Raymond F. Morrogh,  who is prosecuting the case, said Mr. Torres was arraigned on Monday and was jailed without bond.  Hate crime charges could still be filed as the investigation progresses, he said earlier on Monday, adding, “I wouldn’t rule it out until I see all of the evidence.”

The news of the young girl’s murder emerged against the backdrop of the British attack of a mosque in London.

Mighty, Muslim and Leaping Off the Page – Marvel Comics Introducing a Muslim Girl Superhero

With most superheroes, when you take away the colorful costume, mask and cape, what you find underneath is a white man. But not always. In February, as part of a continuing effort to diversify its offerings, Marvel Comics will begin a series whose lead character, Kamala Khan, is a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City.

No exploding planet, death of a relative or irradiated spider led to Kamala’s creation. Her genesis began more mundanely, in a conversation between Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker, two editors at Marvel. “I was telling him some crazy anecdote about my childhood, growing up as a Muslim-American,” Ms. Amanat said. “He found it hilarious.” Ms. Amanat and Mr. Wacker noted the dearth of female superhero series and, even more so, of comics with cultural specificity.

When they told G. Willow Wilson, an author, comic book writer and convert to Islam, about their idea, she was eager to come on board as the series’ writer. “Any time you do something like this, it is a bit of a risk,” Ms. Wilson said. “You’re trying to bring the audience on board and they are used to seeing something else in the pages of a comic book.”

Kamala, whose family is from Pakistan, has devotedly followed the career of the blond, blue-eyed Carol Danvers, who now goes by Captain Marvel, a name she inherited from a male hero. When Kamala discovers her powers, including the ability to change shape, she takes on the code name Ms. Marvel — what Carol called herself when she began her superhero career.

“Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Ms. Wilson said. “She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and ‘different.’ ”

As for Kamala, Ms. Wilson said the series was “about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are.” Though here, she adds, that happens “through the lens of being a Muslim-American” with superpowers.

 

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/books/marvel-comics-introducing-a-muslim-girl-superhero.html?_r=0

The Muslim Girl

A magazine for American Muslim teenage girls, The Muslim Girl features include “Muslim Girl of the Month,” fashion tips such as “cool hijabs” and “long dresses for the long days of the summer,” expert advise on issues such as health, relationships, and ethics, profiles of young female athletes, and celebrity interviews. Readers can view partial articles online or subscribe by mail.

Muslim Girl magazine digitised for UK Muslim Weekly

A magazine for Muslim teenage girls in the USA, with a small distribution in the UK, is soon to have a digital edition making it more easily available in the UK. The bi-monthly Muslim Girl magazine was launched in the USA last year, with a circulation of 50,000, with the aim of dispelling Muslim stereotypes. It currently has a UK distribution of 1,000. Editor-in-chief Ausma Khan said that the magazine gives young Muslim girls a chance to get involved in issues that matter to them. She said: “There is a real lack of representation in mainstream media and though we expect that to change over the next generation, this is a critical time for Muslims to engage in their broader society. “Muslim girls were telling us that they felt isolated and marginalised, and to us the magazine represented a real opportunity to connect girls together and give them a place where their voices could be heard.”http://www.themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=4B369B48CD574E375D360FDB&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

We, Myself and I

By RUTH LA FERLA FOR Aysha Hussain, getting dressed each day is a fraught negotiation. Ms. Hussain, a 24-year-old magazine writer in New York, is devoted to her pipe-stem Levi’s and determined to incorporate their brash modernity into her wardrobe while adhering to the tenets of her Muslim faith. ”It’s still a struggle,” Ms. Hussain, a Pakistani-American, confided. ”But I don’t think it’s impossible.” Ms. Hussain has worked out an artful compromise, concealing her curves under a mustard-tone cropped jacket and a tank top that is long enough to cover her hips. Some of her Muslim sisters follow a more conservative path. Leena al-Arian, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, joined a women’s worship group last Saturday night. Her companions, who sat cross-legged on prayer mats in a cramped apartment in the Hyde Park neighborhood, were variously garbed in beaded tunics, harem-style trousers, gauzy veils and colorful pashminas. Ms. Arian herself wore a loose-fitting turquoise tunic over fluid jeans. She covered her hair, neck and shoulders with a brightly patterned hijab, the head scarf that is emblematic of the Islamic call to modesty. Like many of her contemporaries who come from diverse social and cultural backgrounds and nations, Ms. Arian has devised a strategy to reconcile her faith with the dictates of fashion — a challenge by turns stimulating and frustrating and, for some of her peers, a constant point of tension. Injecting fashion into a traditional Muslim wardrobe is ”walking a fine line,” said Dilshad D. Ali, the Islam editor of Beliefnet.com, a Web site for spiritual seekers. A flash point for controversy is the hijab, which is viewed by some as a politically charged symbol of radical Islam and of female subjugation that invites reactions from curiosity to outright hostility. In purely aesthetic terms, the devout must work to evolve a style that is attractive but not provocative, demure but not dour — friendly to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. ”Some young women follow the letter of the rule,” Ms. Ali observed. Others are more flexible. ”Maybe their shirts are tight. Maybe the scarf is not really covering their chest, and older Muslim women’s tongues will wag.” The search for balance makes getting dressed ”a really intentional, mindful event in our lives every day,” said Asra Nomani, the outspoken author of ”Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam” (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005). Clothing is all the more significant, Ms. Nomani said, because what a Muslim woman chooses to wear ”is a critical part of her identity.” Many younger women seek proactively to shape that identity, adopting the hijab without pressure from family or friends, or from the Koran, which does not mandate covering the head. ”Family pressure is the exception, not the rule,” said Ausma Khan, the editor of Muslim Girl, a new magazine aimed at young women who, when it come to dress, ”make their own personal choice.” The decision can be difficult. Today few retailers cater to a growing American Muslim population that is variously estimated to be in the range of three to seven million. ”Looking for clothes that are covering can be a real challenge when you go to a typical store,” Ms. Khan said. Only a couple of years ago, Nordstrom conducted a fashion seminar at the Tysons Corner Center mall in McLean, Va., a magnet for affluent Muslim women in suburban Washington. The store sought to entice them with a profusion of head scarves, patterned blouses and subdued tailored pieces, but for the most part missed the nuances, said shoppers who attended the event. They were shown calf-length skirts and short-sleeve jackets of a type prohibited for the orthodox, who cover their legs and arms entirely. ”For me the biggest struggle is to find clothes in the department stores,” said Ms. Arian, who has worn the hijab since she was 13. She scours the Web and stores like Bebe, Zara, Express and H & M for skirts long enough to meet her standards. The majority, gathered through the hips, are ”not very flattering on women with curves,” she said, chuckling ruefully, ”and a lot of Middle Eastern women have curves.” Maryah Qureshi, a graduate student in Chicago, has a similarly tricky time navigating conventional stores. ”When we do find a sister-friendly item,” she said, ”we tend to buy it in every color.” Tam Naveed, a young freelance writer in New York, has devised an urbane uniform, tweed pants, a long-sleeve shirt and a snugly fastened scarf that dramatically sets off her features. Ms. Nomani, the author, improvises her own head covering by wearing a hoodie or a baseball cap to mosque. ”I call it ghetto hijab,” she said tartly. For everyday, she buys shirtdresses at the Gap. ”They cover your backside, but they’re still the Gap. That kind of gives you a visa between the two worlds.” In its fashion pages, Muslim Girl addresses concerns about fashion by encouraging young readers to mix and match current designs from a variety of sources, and reinforces the message that religion and fashion need not be mutually exclusive. ”We are trying to keep our finger on the pulse of what women want,” Ms. Khan said. Fashion pages, shown alongside columns offering romantic advice and articles on saving the environment, are among the more popular for the magazine’s teenage readers, she said, adding that the magazine’s circulation of 50,000 is expected to double next year. Aspiring style-setters also find inspiration on retail Web sites like Artizara.com, which offers a high-neck white lace shirtdress and a sleeveless wrap jumper; and thehijabshop.com, with its elasticized hijabs, which can be slipped over the head. Some women seek out fashions from a handful of designers who cater to them. ”I think people like me are starting to see that Muslim women make up a significant market and are expressing their entrepreneurial spirit,” said Brooke Samad, a 28-year-old Muslim woman who designs kimono-sleeve wrap coats and floor-length interpretations of the pencil skirt out of a guest room in her home in Highland Hills, N.J. ”We follow trends, but we do keep to our guidelines,” said Ms. Samad, whose label is called Marabo. ”And we’re careful with the fabrics to make sure they aren’t too clingy.” Today fashion itself is more in tune with the values of Islam, revealing styles having given way to a relatively modest layered look. Elena Kovyrzina, the creative director of Muslim Girl, pointed to of-the-moment runway designs, any one of which might be appropriate for the magazine’s fashion pages: a voluminous Ungaro blouse with a high neck and full, flowing sleeves; a billowing Marni coat discreetly belted at the waist; and a Prada satin turban. Among the more free-spirited looks Ms. Kovyrzina singled out was a DKNY long-sleeve shirt and man-tailored trousers, topped with a hair-concealing baseball cap. There are Muslim women who choose to cover as part of a journey of self-discovery. In ”Infidel” (Free Press, 2007), her memoir of rebellion, Ayaan Hirsi Ali recalls as a girl wearing a concealing long black robe. ”It had a thrill to it,” Ms. Hirsi Ali writes, ”a sensuous feeling. It made me feel powerful: underneath this screen lay a previously unsuspected but potentially lethal femininity. I was unique.” But adopting the hijab also invites adversity. A survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations last year found that nearly half of Americans believe that Islam encourages the oppression of women. Referring to that survey, Ms. Hussain, the New York journalist, observed, ”Many of these people think, ‘Oh, if a woman is covered, she must be oppressed.’ ” Still, after 9/11, Ms. Hussain made a point of wearing the hijab. ”Politically,” she said, ”it lets people know you’re not trying to hide from them.” Among the young, Ms. Nomani said, ”there is a pressure to show your colors.” ”Young people aren’t empowered enough to change foreign policy,” she said, so they adopt a hybrid of modern and Muslim garb, which is ”their way to say, ‘I’m Muslim and I’m proud.’ ” Such bravado has its perils.
Jenan Mohajir, a member of the prayer group near the University of Chicago, spoke with some bitterness about being waylaid as she traveled. Ms. Mohajir, who works with the Interfaith Youth Core, which promotes cooperation among religions, recalled an official at airport security telling her: ”You might as well step aside. You have too many clothes on.” What was she wearing? ”Jeans, a tunic, sandals and a scarf.” Ms. Hussain no longer covers her head but has adopted a look meant to play down misconceptions without compromising her piety. ”Living in New York,” she said, ”has made me want to experiment more with colors and in general to be more bold. I don’t want to scare people. I want them to say, ‘Wow!’ ” She has noticed a like-minded tendency among her peers. ”In the way that we present ourselves to the rest of the world, we are definitely lightening up.”

British Court Rules Against Muslim Girl

Britain’s highest court ruled Wednesday that a school acted properly in refusing to allow a student to wear Muslim clothing of her choice rather than the attire permitted under school policy. Shabina Begum, now 17, last year won a Court of Appeal ruling establishing that Denbigh High School in Luton infringed on her rights by not allowing her to wear a jilbab – a long, flowing gown that covers her entire body except for her face and hands. The school, where four-fifths of the students are Muslim, allows students to wear trousers, skirts or a traditional shalwar kameez, which consists of trousers and a tunic. Girls were allowed to wear head scarves. The school, which appealed its case to the Law Lords, Britain’s highest court, argued that the jilbab posed a health and safety risk and might cause divisions among pupils, with those wearing traditional dress possibly being seen as better Muslims. Lord Justice Bingham said in the 5-0 ruling Wednesday that the school “had taken immense pains to devise a uniform policy which respected Muslim beliefs but did so in an inclusive, unthreatening and uncompetitive way.” “The rules laid down were as far from being mindless as uniform rules could ever be. The school had enjoyed a period of harmony and success to which the uniform policy was thought to contribute,” Bingham said. He noted that the head teacher at the school at the time was a Muslim, and the rules were acceptable to mainstream Muslims. Begum was sent home from school in September 2002 for wearing the jilbab. “We’re not sure if we’re going to take it to the European Court or not,” Begum told Sky News. “I think I have made my point at this stage,” she said, adding that she hoped the case encouraged others to “speak out.” Lord Hoffmann said Begum could have moved to a single-sex school where her religion did not require a jilbab or a school where she was allowed to wear one. “Instead, she and her brother decided that it was the school’s problem. They sought a confrontation and claimed that she had a right to attend the school of her own choosing in the clothes she chose to wear,” Hoffmann wrote. Lord Nicholls, while joining in ruling for the school, said he believed the court may have underestimated the difficulty she would have faced in changing schools.

9-Year Old Muslim Girl Must Participate In Swimming: Politicians Of All Parties Welcome The Decision Of The Hamburg Administrative Court.

A nine year-old girl from Pakistan must participate in the swimming lessons at the school with the boys, decided the Administrative Court. In the controversy between education authorities and strict Muslims, this is the first judgment for a child of this age group. “I welcome the decision, which leaves nothing to be desired in its clarity”, said Educational Senator Alexandra Dinges-Dierig. Appealing the decision of the Administrative Court, the parents of the girl already lodged a complaint with the higher administrative court. The parents had refused the participation of their daughter in the school swimming lessons, claiming it was a sin. Wearing a bathing suit contradicts the regulations of Islam. The family belongs to the sect of the Ahmadiyya, which developed in India near the end of the 19th Century. {(continued in German)} Ein neun Jahre altes M_dchen pakistanischer Herkunft mufl am Schwimmunterricht in der Schule zusammen mit Jungen teilnehmen. Das hat das Verwaltungsgericht entschieden. In dem Streit zwischen Bildungsbeh_rde und strenggl_ubigen Muslimen ist es das erste Urteil f_r ein Kind dieser Altersgruppe. “Ich begr_fle die Entscheidung, die an Klarheit nichts zu w_nschen _brigl_flt”, sagte Bildungssenatorin Alexandra Dinges-Dierig. Gegen die Entscheidung des Verwaltungsgerichts haben die Eltern des M_dchens bereits Beschwerde beim Oberverwaltungsgericht eingelegt. Die Eltern hatten die Teilnahme ihrer Tochter am Schulschwimmen mit der Begr_ndung verweigert, dafl das nach ihrer Religion eine S_nde sei. Das Tragen von Badekleidung widerspreche den Vorschriften des Islam. Die Familie geh_rt der Glaubensrichtung der Ahmadiyya an, die Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts in Indien entstand. Das Verwaltungsgericht machte in seiner Entscheidung deutlich, dafl die Schulpflicht das Schulschwimmen umfasse. In der Abw_gung zwischen dem Erziehungsauftrag des Staates und der Religionsfreiheit geb_hre dem schulischen Erziehungsauftrag der Vorrang. Der Sportunterricht erf_lle dabei wichtige Erziehungsaufgaben. Der gemeinsame Unterricht von Jungen und M_dchen diene auch dazu, die Gleichberechtigung von Mann und Frau zu verankern. Zentrales Moment der Entscheidung ist das Alter des Kindes. Das Gericht verweist darauf, dafl die Bekleidungsvorschriften des Korans nicht f_r M_dchen vor der Geschlechtsreife gelten. Das steht im Einklang mit der Rechtsprechung des Bundesverwaltungsgerichts, das zugunsten der Familie eines _lteren muslimischen M_dchens entschieden hatte, das vom Schwimmunterricht befreit ist. Nach Informationen des Abendblatts besucht das neunj_hrige M_dchen die dritte Klasse einer Grundschule in M_mmelmannsberg. Zu Beginn des Schuljahres hatten sich die Eltern geweigert, ihr Kind am Schwimmunterricht teilnehmen zu lassen. Gespr_che der Schulleitung und von Mitarbeitern der Beratungsstelle REBUS mit den Eltern f_hrten zu keinem Erfolg. Schliefllich leitete die Beh_rde ein Buflgeldverfahren ein. Die Bildungsexperten von CDU, SPD und GAL begr_flten die Entscheidung. “Wir sind daf_r, die Schulpflicht in allen Punkten durchzusetzen”, sagte Robert Heinemann (CDU). “Das Gericht beweist, dafl die Schulpflicht ohne Gesetzesversch_rfung durchgesetzt werden kann”, sagte Britta Ernst (SPD), die damit auf die vom Senat geplante Einf_hrung des Schulzwangs anspielt. “Die Entscheidung ist pikant, weil die Beh_rde die faktische Abschaffung des Schulschwimmens durch die Einf_hrung von Geb_hren betreibt”, sagte Christa Goetsch (GAL). Hakki Keskin, Chef der “T_rkischen Gemeinden in Deutschland” freut sich _ber den Richterspruch: “Ich begr_fle die Entscheidung. Sie schafft Klarheit. Nur so kann die Schulpflicht von jedem erf_llt werden.” Der Islam gew_hre eine Flexibilit_t je nach den gegebenen Umst_nden.