World’s first hijabi supermodel Halima Aden chooses faith over fashion

Agencies
November 29, 2020

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Halima Aden, a model, is taking a step back from the fashion industry to focus on herself and her faith.

“If my hijab can’t be this visible — I’m not showing up,” Aden, 23, wrote on Instagram.

Aden, who was the first model to wear a hijab for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and walk the runway for labels like Yeezy, shared on her Instagram story this past week that she felt like she had compromised her religious values and beliefs in order to fit in to the fashion industry.

She alluded to being too scared to speak up when she was influenced to change the way she dressed, including how she wore her head scarf.

“Looking back now I did what I said I would never do. Which is compromise who I am in order to fit in,” Aden wrote on the social media platform. “Just remember they call it a ‘hijab journey’ for a reason and it is never too late to reinstate your boundaries.”

The Somali American model was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and first rose to fame in 2016 after competing in her hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Since then, she’s been on the covers of American Vogue, Vogue Arabia, Elle and Allure.

There was, she said, struggle and discomfort that went into making many of those images a possibility. She also highlighted moments in which brands had instead covered her hair with pairs of jeans or other ornamental objects rather than her hijab and used heavy makeup on her when she would have preferred a more restrained look that aligned with her modest principles.

She cited confusion, a sense of rebellion and a lack of fellow Muslim representation in the industry as leading factors in her internal battle.

“The pressure was getting unbearable, and I’m sad to say I went through a period of resenting the hijab,” Aden wrote on Instagram.

She went on to write that the pandemic and a break from the industry had led her to realize where she felt she went wrong in her own hijab journey.

Muslim women who choose to don a head scarf often have deeply personal and dynamic relationships with their hijabs, and Aden was met with a wave of support from many who had similar experiences on Instagram and Twitter.

“Halima’s decision to step away from the modeling scene has just reinforced my beliefs,” Aminah Bakhtair, 19, who wrote on social media about her admiration for Aden, wrote in a direct message. “I feel proud of her for taking a stance that many would hesitate to take, and to take back what the Hijab truly means and stand up for the religion of Islam.”

The act of simply wearing a hijab has often been met with discrimination on both a social and bureaucratic level, particularly in Europe. France has banned the hijab in public schools and the public workforce. German chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2016 that full-face veils, sometimes worn by Muslim women as part of their hijab, should be banned.

In the United States, Muslim women have long reported instances of feeling as if they had been discriminated against for wearing their hijabs, and President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries is still in effect.

Asmaa Ali, 23, an observant hijab wearer for much of her life, has experienced Islamophobia both in person and online but said she felt inspired by Aden’s message and tweeted that she found the model’s story “beautiful.”

“The decision to take her hijab more seriously really inspired me to hold on to my faith and be unapologetic about my identity as a Black, Muslim woman,” Ali said. “I think the essence of what Halima was talking about is not necessarily that there’s a right way to wear a hijab or a wrong way to wear a hijab. I think the message is to stay true to yourself.”

Fellow hijabi models like Ikram Abdi Omar also weighed in on how Aden’s public revelation had impacted them.

“Honestly, Halima Aden’s insta story posts brought me to tears and I started looking back on my old pictures on Instagram and I miss that Ikram more than anything,” Abdi Omar shared on her Instagram story.

Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid also reposted Aden’s story on their own Instagrams. Gigi Hadid wrote, “It is so important, as a hijabi or not, to self reflect and get back on track with what feels genuine to us — it’s the only way to feel truly fulfilled.”

Aden and her longtime agency, IMG Models, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. According to her stories on the platform, the model plans to stop doing runway shows and traveling for fashion season.

“I owe no one but Allah SWT,” she wrote — the letters stand for the Arabic phrase “Subhanahu wa ta’ala,” meant to glorify God when mentioning his name. “And y’all can literally kick rocks.”

Also Read: Hijabi Model Halima Adel makes Milan Fashion Week debut

 

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Agencies
January 5,2021

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London, Jan 5: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express his regret over not being able to visit India as planned for Republic Day on January 26 due to the growing crisis created by the new variant of coronavirus.

His call with Modi came a day after he addressed Britain in a televised address to plunge the country into a new stay-at-home lockdown as his medical chiefs warned that the National Health Service (NHS) was under threat of being overwhelmed by the rising infection rates.

Johnson has indicated that his India visit would take place during the first half of this year and before the G7 summit presided over by the UK, planned for later this year.

"The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

"In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus,” the spokesperson said.

The two leaders underlined their "shared commitment" to the bilateral relationship, and to continuing to build on the close collaboration between our countries – including in response to the pandemic.

“The Prime Minister said that he hopes to be able to visit India in the first half of 2021, and ahead of the UK's G7 Summit that Prime Minister Modi is due to attend as a guest,” the spokesperson said.

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Ahmed Ali Kulai
 - 
Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021

Wise man and good decision - Not like Trump

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Ram Puniyani
January 14,2021

Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020, passed by UP on 27th November 2020, has set the ball rolling. On one hand many other BJP ruled states like MP and Haryana are activating their machinery to bring in similar law in their states and on the other at social level many interfaith couples are being subjected to harassment, some of the Muslim men in particular are being put behind the bars. This law has intentions which are out and out communal as already from 1960s there have been anti-conversion laws. The new laws have goals which are sinister and have the potential of being misused to create social disharmony.

While the ordinance does not use the word love jihad, the foot soldiers of the Hindu nationalist politics are out in the open with apprehending Muslim Man-Hindu girl couple and subjecting them to increasing degrees of torture. In Northern states the phenomenon of intimidation and violence against such couples, the Muslim men in particular is surging. Gradually more couples are being brought into the spiral of moral policing and intimidations. The worst part of the process is that those taking the laws into their hands enjoy impunity and are becoming bolder in creating a divisive atmosphere in the society and pushing back the minority Muslim community into submission and marginalization. At the same time these are putting pressure on Hindu girls and restricting their mobility and freedom.

This time two issues are being rolled into one. The fear of conversions away from Hinduism is being linked to Hindu girls having relationship with Muslim boys. At one level interfaith and inter caste relationships are natural in an open society, where people from different castes/religion interact at various levels.  

Dislike for interfaith marriages was put bluntly by the UP Chief minister Adityanath Yogi, who citing a recent ruling of the Allahabad High Court which said religious conversion for the sake of marriage is unacceptable, warned that those waging “love jihad” should mend their ways or be prepared for their last journey — “Ram naam satya hai ki yatra nikalne waali hai”. (The slogan recited in the funeral processions) The instructions have also been passed down that parents should keep a watch on their daughters.

The new law brought in by the UP Government needs to be questioned in the courts as it is an outright attack on different clauses of the Constitution, which gives us the freedom to choose, practice and propagate our faith and other provisions giving us liberty to choose our life partner. This present law (UP and possibly in other states) aims to popularize that Hindu culture is under threat, Hindu girls are vulnerable and Hindu males have to act as their protectors. While the ordinance does not mention the word love jihad, the background and the statements of the top leaders of Hindu nationalism and the actions of vigilantes makes it clear that it is an outright attempt to target the inter faith marriages , especially when the groom is a Muslim. The accusation is that after such marriages the Hindu girl is unable to practice her religion in her marital home and is forced to convert.

Such cases of interfaith marriages are few and far between in this large country of ours’. In more democratized countries interfaith marriages are on the rise, close to becoming social norm. Also Muslim girl and Hindu boy cases are fewer in number, and in the present scenario even the Hindu boy (Ankit Saxena) has to face the wrath of the parents of the girl. The Trinmul Congress MP Nusrat Jahan was also trolled for her choice to marry a Hindu. But overall the hue and cry, the target is the Muslim boy.

 In Maharashtra, a group “Hindu Rakshak Samiti” has been claiming to save Hindu religion by breaking up the Hindu Muslim couples, if the girl happens to be a Hindu. A booklet in Marathi on Love Jihad shows a Muslim boy riding the Motor bike, with Hindu girl riding pillion. In case of a Muslim girl marrying a Hindu and converting is presented as Ghar Wapasi (return home) so is not attacked by Hindu vigilante groups. The police investigation mostly showed that there is no such phenomenon as Love Jihad. The organizational promotion of such marriages is a hoax but has become part of social understanding.

Why are there such and opposition to inter faith marriage? Is it a plan by Muslims to lure Hindu girls, marry and convert them? This is a make believe propaganda. As such it is an attempt to paint the Muslim men doing it deliberately under a plan! What is missed out in the whole scheme of things is that here, in this assertive aggressive propaganda and violence the agency of Hindu girls/women is reduced to zero. Hindu girls are presented as being gullible and without any will or decision making power of their own. While Muslim men are presented as a threat to Hinduism and the Hindu girls are presented as being without any mind of their own. The advice being given to parents to keep a watch on the movements of their daughters and their contacts is a mechanism to control the lives of girls.

All sectarian nationalist ideologies are strongly patriarchal and so the woman has to be under the control of men as ‘their property’. Patriarchal values and nationalism under the wraps of religion go hand in hand. With Independence and implementation of Indian Constitution this journey takes a good leap and we can see the women as their own selves coming to all the spheres of Indian social, educational and political life of the country. This is a matter of discomfiture to those who pay lip service to values of equality and eulogize the ancient holy texts, which give subordinate place to women.

Hope the judiciary is able to restrain the state governments in withdrawing these laws which are oppressive. The interfaith amity needs to be promoted at all the levels.

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Agencies
January 8,2021

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New Delhi, Jan 8: India has reported 18,139 new cases of Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours taking the national Covid-19 case tally to 1,04,13,417 on Friday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

These include 20,539 people who have recovered from the deadly infection and 234 people who succumbed in the last 24 hours.

While 1,00,37,398 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus so far, 1,50,570 persons have lost their lives to the virus in the country.

There are 2,25,449 active coronavirus cases in India, as per the Union Health Ministry.

Kerala, the worst affected state in the country, has reported 64,639 active cases.

Maharashtra witnessed slight improvement with 52, 276 active cases reported on Friday morning.

Delhi has 4,168 active cases, 6,14,026 recoveries, and 10,644 fatalities, according to the Health Ministry.

As many as 17,93,36,364 samples have been tested for Covid-19 up to January 7 including 9,35,369 samples tested on Thursday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed.

Meanwhile, ahead of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, the second dry run has started at three-session sites of 736 districts across 33 States/UTs today.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan who is a visit to Tamil Nadu to oversee the dry run drill said that in the next few days, India should be able to start inoculating its citizens against Covid-19.

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