Coming of Age A Muslim Girl’s Guide by Ustadha Hedaya Hartford

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  Coming of Age: A Muslim Girl’s Guide In this all-encompassing book on menstruation and puberty for young girls and teenagers, the author gifts her readers with the much needed counsel, priceless guidance, detailed explanations of the Sacred Law rulings, and simplified medical details that every child and parent must know.  Coming of Age: A […]

Turkish lawmakers wear headscarves in parliament for first time since 1999

October 31, 2013 11:15AM ET
"I will no longer take off my headscarf," Gonul Bekin Sahkulubey, one of the four MPs, was quoted as saying by Turkey's Milliyet newspaper. "I expect everyone to respect my decision."

“I will no longer take off my headscarf,” Gonul Bekin Sahkulubey, one of the four MPs, was quoted as saying by Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper.
“I expect everyone to respect my decision.”

Four female lawmakers from Turkey’s Islamist-rooted ruling party wore their Islamic headscarves, or hijabs, in parliament Thursday, in a challenge to the country’s secular tradition.

In 1999, the last time a lawmaker attempted to wear the headscarf in parliament, she was expelled from the assembly. On Thursday, however, the deputy parliament speaker merely called for a recess after the secularist opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which labeled the move “insincere” and politically motivated, called for a debate on the issue.

“We are going to witness the start of an important era, and we will play the leading role. We will be the standard bearers,” said Nurcan Dalbudak, one of the four Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers who wore a headscarf to parliament for the first time.

The headscarf is an emotive symbol in Turkey. Secularists view it as the emblem of political Islam and consider its appearance in public life an affront to the Turkish Republic’s secular foundations set up by founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

While there are no specific restrictions on wearing the headscarf in parliament, vehement opposition from secularists, and a ban in other state institutions — which was lifted earlier this month — have long deterred women from wearing them.

Dalbudak and fellow AKP lawmakers Sevde Beyazit Kacar, Gulay Samanci and Gonul Bekin Sahkulubey previously announced that they would attend the general assembly on Thursday wearing their headscarves, giving the CHP ample time to determine its reaction.

At a closed-door meeting ahead of Thursday’s controversial walk-in, the opposition party decided it would not “fall into AKP’s trap” by overreacting.

“All our members are in agreement. That is, we think the AKP is exploiting religion. We will never remain silent towards actions aimed at eliminating the principle of secularism,” CHP lawmaker Dilek Akagun Yilmaz told Reuters.

Despite substantial opposition, Thursday’s move was well received compared with the 1999 incident, when Merve Kavakci, a member of parliament from the Islamist Virtue Party, a predecessor of the AKP, was expelled for wearing her headscarf to a swearing-in ceremony.

Bulent Ecevit, the prime minister at the time, addressed the packed assembly, saying: “This is not the place to challenge the state. Inform this woman of her limits!” while half the chamber stood shouting: “Get out! Get out!” to the seated Kavakci.

The Virtue Party was closed down in 2001 for violating the secularist articles of the constitution, and several lawmakers, including Kavakci, were banned from politics for five years.

Nazli Ilicak, then a fellow Virtue Party lawmaker who before Kavakci’s expulsion sat next to her in parliament, welcomed the AKP lawmakers’ decision and commented before the Thursday showing that she did not expect a repeat of 1999.

“This is a positive development,” Ilicak said. “People are now a little embarrassed about what they did in the past.”

‘Inner peace’ or election?

The highly anticipated walk-in came only weeks after the AKP lifted a decades-old ban on women wearing the headscarf in state institutions as part of a package of reforms the government says are meant to expand democracy.

But the debate around the headscarf strikes at the heart of tensions between religious and secular elites, a fault line in Turkish public life.

Restrictions on headscarves at universities have already been eased under the AKP. Critics of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan point to this and other policies, such as restrictions on the sale of alcohol, as proof that his party is seeking to erode secularism in Turkey.

Supporters of Erdogan, whose wife also wears the headscarf, say the Turkish leader is simply redressing the balance and restoring freedom of religious expression to a Muslim majority.

Erdogan called on lawmakers to respect the deputies’ choice to don their headscarves.

“There is no by-law in parliament that prevents this, and everyone must respect the decision taken by our sisters on this subject,” he said. “They have been elected by the nation and are representatives of the nation in parliament.”

Some opponents have criticized the timing of these steps, however, saying the decisions were aimed at garnering support ahead of an election cycle. That accusation was dismissed by Dalbudak, who said her action had been based solely on personal belief.

“I am very happy and proud because I am completing one of the foremost duties required of me,” she said. “I am experiencing an inner peace because of this. This has nothing to do with investing in an election.”

Al Jazeera with Reuters

Turkey Lifts Hijab Ban

Turkey lifts headscarf ban in state institutions

9 October 2013 Last updated at 23:01 BST

Turkey has lifted rules banning women from wearing headscarves in the country’s state institutions – with the exception of the judiciary, military and police – ending a decades-old restriction.

The announcement was made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of a package of liberalizing reforms aimed at bolstering democracy.

But critics of Mr Erdogan say the move is another attack on the secular rules by which Turkey has long been governed.

Guney Yildiz reports.

Muslim Student Asked to ‘Prove’ Her Religion Before Taking School Photo


By | Healthy Living
One Hampton University student says she was surprised when an ordinary school task turned into an “embarrassing” nightmare. Melonna Clarke, 26, a senior dressed in a hijab, a headscarf that many Muslim women wear, waited in line to get her student ID during the first week of classes last month. When she reached the front of the line, the receptionist asked her to step aside. “She said I couldn’t get my photo taken because I was wearing my head scarf,” Clarke told Yahoo Shine.

In fact, the only way Clarke could be photographed was if she removed the scarf or provided proof that she was a Muslim. “My reaction was, ‘Are you serious?’” said Clarke. “It was ridiculous, especially because Hampton is a multicultural university. It’s hard enough to walk out of my house every day to face prejudice.”

The school did not return Yahoo Shine’s calls for comment. However, according to the university’s dress code, students who want to wear religious or cultural clothing and headgear must make a written request and go through a review process. “The school has a good diversity policy in place because it has made exceptions to its dress code for people of different faiths,” says sociologist Ruth C. White, Clinical associate professor, school of social work, at the University of Southern California. “And if they make exceptions, it’s fair and reasonable to ask for documentation. Although it may seem discriminatory, it isn’t, because the policy could have outright banned headdress altogether.”

Melonna Clarke/Facebook Clarke converted from Christianity to Islam when she was 21 years old but she has only recently become comfortable wearing the headscarf on campus. And because her ID photo has to match her everyday attire, she was required to take a new photo. “It was embarrassing to be refused in the line because of my beliefs, but I began the approval process,” she says. “In the meantime, I could attend classes but I couldn’t enter the library or any other campus locations that required an ID.”

So Clarke went to her masjid (place of worship) where she received a letter stating that she was a practicing Muslim and wore the hijab for religious reasons. Then, she delivered the letter to her chaplain who reviewed it and wrote her own letter authorizing Clarke to wear the hijab. The next day, she visited student affairs for final approval. “The woman there told me that the process I had to undergo was excessive and she expedited my case,” says Clarke.

Five days later, Clarke returned to get her photo taken. “When I got there, the same receptionist actually asked me why I was there,” says Clarke. “I reminded her that she had told me to get approval.”

Now, Clarke carries her approval papers in her bag. “If I lost my ID or were questioned for any reason, I want them with me as proof that I’m a student,” she says. “I have one friend who refused to get permission to wear her headscarf and although she can attend class, she can’t participate in campus parties, use the gym, or the library.”

However, the experience has triggered an outpouring of support from her peers. “People are grateful that I’m speaking out against the university’s policies,” she says. “People shouldn’t have to hide who they are.”

A Muslim Doll for Girls is Finally on Shelves

ImageBy | Parenting – Tue, Sep 3, 2013

The other day, we made a quick stop at a nearby Target. Our daughter was being rewarded – for being awesome – with a new Lego set.

 We walked through the aisles of the toy section, and there amongst the standard issue Westernized blonde and brunette dolls was one that stood out and very much caught my eye. She wasn’t like the others. Yes, she was made of plastic and she was beautiful, but there was something else about her. She was wearing a hijab. There in the aisles of Target was a gorgeous Muslim doll for girls. I pointed her out to my daughter, who stopped, let out a big sigh, and said, “Wow, she is beautiful!” And then, of course, proceeded to beg me to buy it for her.

The Hearts for Hearts Girls doll is named Shola, and she comes from Afghanistan. While there are no Muslim references on the packaging, the hijab and the fact that she comes from a nation where 80 percent of the population is Muslim means that a lot of little girls finally have a doll they can really relate to.

We live in a city that, like many, is a melting pot. Seeing a woman in a hijab is not unusual. So it wasn’t just refreshing, but also very culturally cool, that a mass-produced doll would celebrate a girl wearing her traditional garb, especially when she is feet away from the oodles of blonde-haired, blue-eyed dolls that are the norm. Hearts for Hearts Girls specializes in dolls from other cultures and countries. There is Nahji from India, Tipi from Laos, and Rahel from Ethiopia, among their other diverse doll offerings. But the Shola doll hits the shelves at a time where Muslims worldwide are facing prejudice and judgement.

 It’s a sad fact that there are many across the globe who see people who appear Muslim as a some sort of threat. For example: “The woman in Massachusetts … that was punched while walking her kids for no other reason than wearing a hijab on her head, was because someone thought that because she wears it, she is a terrorist,” Ahmed Rehab of Council on American Islamic Relations told CBS. Or in Sweden this month, when a pregnant woman wearing a hijab was assaulted while walking down the street for no other reason than that she was wearing a scarf and veil.

 This doll isn’t just for little girls who are Muslim – it is for all little girls. It’s a joyful way to embrace other walks of life, no matter what traditions or religions one adheres to, a way to embrace diversity. We went into Target on the search for Legos, but if not for that, I would have loved to buy Shola for my girl.

Photo Source: Amazon/Shola is available for $34.99 here.

-By Sunny Chanel

Unveiling Hijab – Free ebook by Imam Afroz Ali


An Explanation of the Head Veil of the Muslim Woman

Unveiling Hijab – Free ebook by Imam Afroz Ali

Unveiling Hijab – Free ebook by Imam Afroz Ali


Part 1 will explain the theoretical framework of the evidences from the Qur’an and the Prophetic Tradition (to be referred to as the Sunnah from here on) pertaining to clothing in general and the head-veil in particular. The focus will be on women’s attire, given that this is the focus of this book.

It will focus on the implications of the theoretical framework. In particular, it will discuss the application of the laws and guidance and how they have been interpreted in practice. This will include the time of the Prophet    himself, the time after the Prophet with the Companions,  as well as those who learnt directly from the Companions  and those who learnt from those students of the Companions.  These three generations are a divinely protected source of knowledge and interpretation of matters as approved of, exemplified or ordered by the Prophet  .

Part 2 of the book will discuss the culture of the head-veil, in light of modernity and secular states and academia, as well as the many obstacles and positive experiences of Muslim women the world over.

Part 3 will look at the spiritual wisdom of physical concealment and what the Qur’an aims to realise.

This book will thoroughly discuss the topic of the head-veil of the Muslim woman, commonly referred to as the Hijaab. Although this book also refers briefly to the full-body cloak which covers the face of the woman, the Niqaab, it does not intend to discuss its proofs in much detail, as it is subject to a separate book that will supplement this one. Further, this book will not discuss the requirements of dressing for Muslim men, not because it is unimportant, or that somehow Islam ignores it (as erroneously claimed by many academic “intellectuals”), but because there is little, if any, maligning of the Muslim men’s devotional observance of dressing. There has not been a call upon me to offer clarity on that matter. That is not to say that Islam says little or nothing about the devotional requirements of men’s attire; to the contrary since the nature of such requirements are as detailed and differing from the woman’s not so much in degree but in type.

I hope this book will serve as a resource that English-speaking individuals can refer to, to understand the concept, extent and nature of the head-veil and attire of the Muslim woman. And success is only from God, and May God grant us clarity on matters obscure and guidance on matters clear

to download the PDF