Veiled Threat: The guerrilla graffiti of Princess Hijab

About 5 or 6 years ago I stumbled on Princess Hijab’s myspace. With her[?] art posted without explanation–not that it needed much– I couldn’t help but feel great admiration for the traditional rebel. I couple of months later the myspace was down and I couldn’t find anything about her. Then during a blackout I picked up a BITCH magazine [a feminist magazine] and started to read it. There was a article on Princess Hijab!

In fact, Princess Hijab asserts, her dressing up of billboards is a symbolic act of resistance meanttoreassert a “physical and mental integrity” against what she calls the “visual terrorism” of advertising. Arguing that the human right of expression has been displaced by publicists, advertisers, and the machinery of capitalist, commodified culture, she offers that, “My work explores how something as intimate as the human body has become as distant as a message from your corporate sponsor.”

The message is so unique and powerful from the mere fact that Princess Hijab is actually not even Muslim. The article, which has more details is fantastic, you can read it here.

Princess Hijab’s offical website can be found here as well. The Japanese characters makes me wonder if Princess Hijab is actually Japanese…

To understand Princess Hijab’s art is to question the incongruities of our society. In this era of extreme visual marketing, Princess Hijab explores notions of space and representation, challenging people’s ideas on normative types of representations with the distinctive black veil. Her work is the living example of how symbolist imagery is woven in or out of the social landscape in order to question its motley texture through art.

–Tatiana Soubielle

The Taqwacores Movie

Still of 'The Taqwacores' movie

The Taqwacores novel has inspired The Taqwacore Movie. On it’s website it says

Originally handed out for free in parking lots as xerox copies, The Taqwacores novel has now been published in the United States, England, Italy, and France.Since it’s release in 2004, The Taqwacores has gone on to inspire a real-life punk-Muslim scene, resulting in the formation of bands such as The Kominas.The book has been mentioned and reviewed in publications such as Newsweek, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, NPR, BBC, The Sun, The Globe and Mail, The Daily Star, and many more. The Taqwacores motion picture was most recently featured on Al-Jazeera English and in The New York Times.

The exclusive and promising indie movie has just featured it’s trailer on the MTV website apparently as a 2010 Sundance Film Festival Video highlight.

With characters like:

  • YUSEF: Pakistani-American engineering student,
  • JEHANGIR: ’77-style drunk punk Sufi hero,
  • UMAR: hardcore straightedge Sunni,
  • RABEYA: burqa clad, riot grrl feminist
  • FASIQ: Indonesian skater-punk stoner
  • and AMAZING AYYUB: shirtless Shi’a skinhead

These characters I don’t believe are a stretch of mind in reality because I can honestly say I met those archetypes in real life [esp the Indonesian skater stoner, engineer student and the burqa feminist]. However to some this movie may break naive prejudices.  I guess the notions of South Asians and South East Asians as the model minority or the women in burqas as oppressed stereotypes will go out the window. I honestly haven’t read the book and have hear horrible things about it. But I do think regardless of the blasphemy perhaps the common American will look at Muslims more complexly and humanely?

Sufi Comics

blind astronomer

Sufi comics, is a web comic headed by two Indian young men, Arif and Ali. The comics are delightful and profound sharing stories of imans and prayers in a novel way. Concerning their process on their facebook fan page Sufi Comics says “the comic is not done in one sitting, but in a span of 1 to 2 weeks… Both work on the Story, and Ali does the Art work.”

It is definitely worth taking a look at, their website and comics can be found here.

Mohammed Ali – Aerosol Arabic

Some of you may have heard of Mohammed Ali – Aerosol Arabic,

a graffiti artist who is famous for his spiritual murals.

He’ll be at an event, more info below:

Mohammed Ali (aka Aerosol Arabic)’s Writing on the Wall will see the renowned graffiti artist join forces with leading international poets in front of a live audience for a special one-off show at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Thursday 21 January 2010.

Having established himself in the arts scene for the past decade, Mohammed Ali’s latest project sees an idea thought up four years ago coming to life. With the guidance of legendary Hip Hop theatre director Jonzi D, Ali will accompany three internationally renowned poets on stage for a radical live art show.

The line-up for Writing on the Wall includes Zena Edwards, who has been performing as a professional poet for the last nine years, manipulating the boundaries of language and experimenting with the ways people hear and interpret the spoken word. She will be joined by American poet Amir Sulaiman who has twice featured on HBO’s Def Poetry programme, and Dreadlock Alien, who was Birmingham’s Poet Laureate in 2006. During the two-week lead-up Mohammed will also be working with local visual artists to create unique images, before embarking on the one-night-only performance on Thursday 21 January 2010 in Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s scenic workshop.

Inspired by the theme of ‘3’, the production will build towards a show that interweaves sights and sounds to inspire the audiences’ imagination, provoking thoughts and creative fires. During the performance, live poetry and painting will blend seamlessly in front of and all-around the audience.

If that didn’t get excited enough here’s some more:

Here’s a moving piece flimed by Musa Syeed about one of Aerosolarabic’s murals in New York called “Sacred Street Art”:

Sacred Street Art from Mohammed Ali – Aerosol Arabic on Vimeo.

Osama Loves…

Ever heard of “Osama Loves: Searching for 500 faces of Islam”? It’s a project all over the world were Osama’s reclaim their name by declaring through photographs what they love [as apposed to what they hate, I suppose]
Osama the Waiter, 41, from Cairo
The website is here.

a miracle of survival: the Alamo robbery victim’s story

A short video, but pay attention to what is written on the pendant:

http://cbs5.com/video/?id=59892@kpix.dayport.com

A pendent a man brought in China that says “Allah” in Arabic saves his life in a robbery shooting. When asked about it he told the camera “It’s suppose to give you more energy.”

The owner of the jewelery shop plans to sell 500 more of his pendents via his shop in Alamo, California.

TSA Tells Muslim Traveler Hijab Now Triggers Security Checks

SEE ALSO: CAIR Responds to ADL Smears (Boston Globe)
CAIR is on record condemning both terror attacks on Israeli civilians and Israeli state terror attacks on Palestinians. Unfortunately, organizations such as the ADL lack a similar track record when it comes to condemning the killing of Palestinian civilians.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TSA Tells Muslim Traveler Hijab Now Triggers Security Checks
Muslim civil rights group seeks confirmation of ‘troubling’ new policy

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/6/2010) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to clarify whether Islamic head scarves, or hijab, will now automatically trigger additional security measures for Muslim travelers.

CAIR made that request after a Muslim woman traveler taking a flight Tuesday fromWashington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Los Angeles (LAX) reported that TSA personnel first requested that she take off her hijab, then put her through a “humiliating” public full-body pat-down search when she refused. After the pat-down, the Muslim traveler’s luggage, coat, shoes, laptop, and cell phone were searched and tested for bomb-making chemicals.

When the traveler, a resident of Maryland, questioned TSA staff about the way she was being treated, she was allegedly told that a new policy went into effect that morning mandating that “anyone wearing a head scarf must go through this type of search.”

In a letter to TSA Acting Administrator Gale D. RossidesCAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:

“First, I would like to commend you on your efforts to maintain the safety of the travelling public. I would also like to offer the American Muslim community’s cooperation and support in preserving that safety and security…

“If this troubling new policy is indeed in effect, it represents religious profiling in its most egregious form. We respectfully request that you clarify whether Islamic head scarves will now trigger automatic secondary screening for Muslim travelers. If so, does this new policy apply to all those who wear religious head coverings, such as Sikh men, Catholic nuns and orthodox Jewish women, or will it apply exclusively to Muslim travelers? If the issue is concealment of potentially dangerous items, the clothing worn by travelers of all faiths, such as skirts, loose pants and sweatshirts, has more areas to hide items than hijab.”

Awad noted that previous TSA policy placed hijab in the category of “bulky clothing” that would not automatically lead to additional screening. Under previous policy, even if that screening were to take place, it would be carried out in a “private screening location.”

SEE: TSA Adjusts Security Procedures for Bulky Clothing

On Monday, CAIR said new TSA guidelines, under which anyone traveling from or through 13 Muslim-majority nations will be required to go through enhanced screening techniques before boarding flights, amount to religious and ethnic profiling.

In a commentary distributed by CAIR challenging calls for profiling, Awad suggestedsecurity-enhancing alternatives to ineffective religious profiling: “First look at behavior, not at faith or skin color. Then spend what it takes to obtain more bomb-sniffing dogs, to install more sophisticated bomb-detection equipment and to train security personnel in identifying the behavior of real terror suspects.”

SEE: Airport Profiling Hands a Victory to Terrorists

The director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter published a commentary today in the Detroit News in which he wrote: “If we target people simply because of ethnicity or religion, it will not make us safer. And if we compromise our principles, we are fighting against the spirit of the Constitution itself. Either way, our enemies would win, and we all would be the losers.”

SEE: Religious Profiling Won’t Help Anti-Terror Security

A CAIR Spokesperson also debated airport profiling last night on Fox’s ‘O’Reilly Factor.”

SEE: Video: Bill O’Reilly vs. CAIR Spokesman on Profiling

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787,202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com