THE MUSLIM STUDENT PUBLICATION AT UC BERKELEY VOLUME 16: ISSUE 2
Editor-in-Chief: Noma Kahf Managing Editor: Uzma Amin
Letter from the editor
Layout Editor: Fayyaz Mukarram Layout Designers: Sarah Alsamman Tahmina Achekzai Photography Editor: Husna Hadi Photographers: Manal Ahmed Narmeen Damous Finance Manager: Asad Akbany External Affairs: Marium Navid Web Editor: Hana Ghanim Advisor: Sarah Mohamed Spring Writers: Tahmina Achekzai Abdul-Rahman Hamud Ali Palla Ali Hussein Eiman Kazi Guest Contributors: Omar Rehmane, Aman Falol, Tian Soepangat, Sajid Nasir, Adeeb Ahmad, Sadiq Patel, and Sarah Mohamed Al-Bayan means “The Clarification” in contemporary Arabic and “Eloquent Speech” in classical Arabic. The goal of this magazine is a convergence of both, to clarify issues pertinent to the Muslim community in the most eloquent of speech. Befitting the dynamic Muslim community in one of the world’s premiere intellectual hotspots that Berkeley is, Al-Bayan continues to grow and expand. We ask for your duas and your feedback! Insha’allah, we serve our purpose to the best of our ability with the help of the Almighty. Published with support from the ASUC and Campus Progress/Center for American Progress. CampusProgress.org CONTACT AL-BAYAN: email@example.com VISIT OUR WEBSITE: albayanmag.org
I am excited to present to you this Spring 2014 issue of Al-Bayan! Through the process of putting it together, I was reminded by our team of writers that one of the best ways to counter Islamophobia, besides spreading awareness about it, is by creating diverse, non-reactionary cultural productions. The non-reactionary component means defining ourselves positively according to our own experiences, values, and personalities rather than as a reaction to the way we are defined by the media. While it is important to challenge stereotypes, the underlying message behind most of our productions should not be “we are NOT [insert stereotype about Muslims].” Nor should our work give the impression of uniformity. Indeed, we are “one body,” as Ali explains in his article about brotherhood, but not all parts of the body are identical. Some of us write critiques directed at the Muslim community, such as Omar’s reminder not to overlook the small deeds and Tahmina’s piece about respecting various religious interpretations. Others write about universal experiences that are shared by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, such as Adeeb’s piece about objectification in the media. Still others among us communicate through comedy and satire, such as Abdul-Rahman’s tips for winning a poetry slam and Ali’s guide to infiltrating a mosque. For some of us, photography and poetry is the preferred medium of expression. We hope that this issue of Al-Bayan has eloquently combined these diverse talents and perspectives into the pages of one narrative—that of the Muslim American community. It has been a pleasure working with various Al-Bayan teams for the past three years, and while I am excited to graduate, leaving my Al-B baby behind is bittersweet. I want to take a moment to thank our dedicated board and staff--both present and past--for making this magazine come together in print and web forms. I am confident that the magazine’s future leaders will continue to make it grow. Please check our website, www.albayanmag.org, for regular content and join the conversation by leaving comments! We welcome guest contributions. If you have an article, poem, or photo piece that you’d like to submit, or if you have any questions or feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy reading!
Assalamu Alaykum (may peace be upon you) Noma Kahf Editor-in-Chief
AL-BAYAN SPRING 2014
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Article by Tahmina Achekzai
arlier this year, I received a message in a group text with my cousins that steered off our usual conversations of organizing Denny’s midnight dinners and strategizing for fantasy football. One of my cousins was recounting an incident on her campus in which she saw a Muslim girl ordering chicken tenders from the cafeteria. “I was like wuuuuuut…I don’t get it…she seemed really religious she was wearing the long clothes and everything.” I felt as if she was expecting some sort of extraordinary reaction out of me – which she didn’t get. My cousins are not ones to shy away from Big Macs at McDonalds or beef jerky from 7-11. But because this student was supposedly extensively pious, it was somehow astonishing to see her eating non-zabiha meat. “What is that supposed to mean? I don’t eat zabiha,” I replied. I was taken aback by what I received in response: another cousin trying to tell me that because I wear hijab, I should be eating only “halal” meat. “If you’re going to go that far, you might as well go all the way. Not pick and choose which parts of the religion you want to follow,” he contended. What he didn’t realize is that the strictest or most mainstream path is not always
GOD - BOOK - UMMAH
guaranteed to be the one, true sirat-al mustaqim. It is not my – nor any mere human’s – place to judge what makes a believer more or less “Muslim” than another. As far as I know, a Muslim is one who declares God as one and Muhammad (peace be upon him) as his final messenger. One who submits him/herself to the word of Allah as spelled out in the Quran. Yet those words are read and understood differently by each and every person. Just because one of my brothers or sisters does not follow the same interpretation I do, it does not mean that they are any less sincere in their faith.
have tried to convince me to restrict myself to only zabiha meat, explaining that it is easy to do so with the number of Muslim-friendly restaurants in the Bay Area. That argument, however, assumes that I am refraining from “going zabiha” simply because I don’t want to limit my options when eating out, and that it’s the wrong decision. What constitutes “halal” and “haram” meat is a point of contention even among scholars who have devoted their entire lives to studying Islam. Leaders like Abul A’la Maududi have argued that . because of verses like “You shall eat from that upon which God’s name has been pronounced” (6:118), Allah’s name needs to be declared when slaughtering animals and thus supermarket meat is not permissible. Contrarily, jurists like the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa, have issued fatwas explaining that Shariah law tells us to think well of people and that if a majority of the population is made up of People of the Book, “it is unlawful to be overly particular” in such matters. Both base their justifications on the Quran and hadith but reach different conclusions.
Just because one of my brothers or sisters does not follow the same interpretation I do, it does not mean that they are any less sincere in their faith
I realize that this might seem obvious to a good portion of our readership. But it’s easy to look through a black and white lens and assume – even subconsciously – that the definitions we follow are the same. A number of my friends
photo by Narmeen Damous
Yet the mistake of prematurely assuming that the distinction between “halal” and “haram” is more clear-cut than it actually is extends beyond the meat issue. In January, I attended the MSA West conference at UC Davis. Packed with Muslim students from all over the coast, it was an inspiring, valuable and absolutely wonderful experience. I was a little disconcerted, though, come Entertainment Night – just by a few lines in some
COMMUNITIES - BACKGROUNDS - EXPERIENCES
INTERPRETATIONS of the spoken word pieces presented that last day. Some performers, in order to illustrate an “Islamic State of Mind,” ventured into the blurry, gray area of hijab – which was not a problem, except in the way that they addressed it. One poet included a line in her poem that spoke to non-hijabis as lacking the “courage” to cover their heads. That statement – and especially, the snaps it received – surprised me, to say the least. Before this summer, I didn’t wear hijab. But it was not because I “lacked the courage” to express my faith in public (and what if it was? Being Muslim -- and making it obvious -- in an overwhelmingly non-Muslim country can be a struggle. But that’s beside the point). I simply followed a different interpretation of the Quran – an interpretation that up to half of American Muslim women share and one that was being ignored by those words. Those words were telling the sisters in the room that were not wearing hijab, or who did not wear it regularly, that they were – quite literally – cowards. It honestly, truly felt to me like an attack against them. It may have not been meant that way, but the script of poetry is powerful and should be used with caution. The message those few words sent assumed that there is one ideal, perfect and clear image that all Muslims should ascribe to. That image may make life easier for our community – it could have saved me the countless hours I spent this summer reading about and listening to lectures on modesty in Islam – but it does nothing to recognize its clear diversity.
makeup on your face / and wear them skinny jeans…” Now, I don’t even own a pair of skinny jeans. I am absolutely useless with a tube of mascara, and I can probably count the number of times I’ve worn makeup since I came to Cal on one hand. And yet, I found those lines quite offensive. No, Allah did not give us a shopping list for 21st century malls. He spent the vast majority of his 114 surahs telling us instead to pray, to give thanks, to be kind. He did not focus on mundane issues like whether a girl is wearing eyeliner or what size her jeans are – because they are exactly that: mundane issues. As a result, there will be differing opinions on such matters, opinions that should be respected, not disparaged in front of thousand-people audiences. Islam’s principle ideas encompass much larger concepts – a sign to us about what is more important to focus on. I can guarantee you that a good portion of the sisters in attendance were indeed wearing some form of makeup and – if they were not sporting them that particular day – had a pair of skinny jeans in their wardrobe. Was it because they were not afraid of their Creator? Were they any less pure in their intentions? Or did they just have a different understanding of God’s prescription of modesty?
Let’s recognize and embrace the varying viewpoints in our community and not try to eliminate or ignore diversity that will always, inevitably exist.
Another poet spoke to sisters who wear the hijab, asking, “did Allah tell you to put / all that
The ummah is made up of a diverse population: that is, diverse in race and ethnicity, but also in ideas, backgrounds, culture and experi-
ences – all which shape our understandings of the religion. We can’t pretend or assume that all Muslims see the text in the Quran and hadiths the same way we do – that sort of approach is narrow minded and limiting, not to mention, potentially offensive and insulting to those who may not share the same perspective. Our subtle remarks or actions can easily make others feel uncomfortable or like outsiders. Let’s recognize and embrace the varying viewpoints in our community and not try to eliminate or ignore diversity that will always, inevitably exist.
Excellence is achieved by consistent commitment to mastering the basics.
There is a sort of fallacious logic that we give into sometimes, that we can ignore the “little” things in the religion, and that grand gestures can make up for missing “little” things - a sort of “trickle-down” approach to the religion.
Article by Omar Rehmane Photo by Fayyaz Mukarram
ne of Islam’s greatest attributes is its simplicity. Though it can be difficult at times to adhere to the faith, it is never particularly complicated. So simple is it, in fact, that the solution to pretty much every problem we have is the same thing – returning to the faith and begging Allah for help. It is worth mentioning that this isn’t an endorsement of not striving in worldly affairs. We cannot expect to succeed at work or school or in any of our endeavors unless we train in those things. But if we truly want to achieve or gain something, sticking to the religion is key. There is a sort of fallacious logic that we give into sometimes, that we can ignore the “little” things in the religion, and that grand gestures can make up for missing “little” things - a sort of “trickle-down” approach to the religion. But this idea falls apart upon inspection. In the religion itself, we find that Allah loves consistent efforts, even if they’re small, more than great single acts. But more importantly, the things we consider little are not little at all but rather form the basic foundation of each of our connections to the faith. Things like praying and lowering our gaze and manners have to be maintained no matter what else we are doing – they can never be sacrificed in favor of any other deed, no matter how noble.
consistent commitment to mastering the basics, thereby making them second nature. In other words, when the heroes of the past executed their great deeds, it was not because they just happened to have some inborn special ability. Their ability to be decisive and brave in a moment of crisis was a result of their consistency in pursuing the basics. We are all familiar with the idea that nothing should come before our religion, but more specifically, nothing should come before the basic duties Islam has laid out for us. If ever the thought to abandon our basic duties should knock at our mental door, we should be aware that it is the true danger – and that perhaps our best course of action is to tread lightly. So if our efforts towards a goal are not succeeding, and we cannot think of any other worldly vectors to pursue, then we should re-examine our connection to the deen. After all, there can be no higher pursuit than the pursuit for the pleasure of Allah.
In the face of how the religion talks about the basic and small actions, how can we ever think to neglect them? There are, of course, many reasons. One is that we (rightly) seek to emulate our heroes. Since history determines its heroes through great deeds, we seek to create our own legacies through similar means. But to go after the great deeds while ignoring the normal ones is to ignore the core tenet of excellence, which is that being excellent in any endeavor is never about gaining some secret or hidden knowledge. Excellence is achieved by photo by Narmeen Damous
Islamophobia IN FRANCE
...But a Rise in Converts Article by Eiman Kazi Photo by Husna Hadi
s Muslims in a post 9/11 America, we struggle trying to fight ignorance and prejudice that we face on a daily basis. From being called terrorists to protests calling Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) a “pervert” to being told that Muslim women are oppressed, America clearly has some work to do in thwarting such strong anti-Islamic sentiments.
For example, when a Muslim woman was fired from Abercrombie and Fitch for wearing a headscarf, CAIR and the Legal Aid Society made a legal victory in a lawsuit against the store, and the judge ruled that the store violated federal and state civil right laws against workplace discrimination. Clearly, the law can be used to fight Islamophobia. But unfortunately, this is not the case in other parts of the world.
But do Muslim Americans really have it that bad when witnessing Islamophobia? Sure, we feel ignited when someone denounces our holy Prophet or calls Muslim women oppressed for wearing the headscarf, but we still have the fundamental American right to worship openly and wear the hijab proudly. We have the right to speak our minds on Sproul and even freely pray jummah on Memorial Glade in peace. People can condemn Islam all they want, but at the end of the day, the law enables us to practice our faith in any manner we please.
In April 2011, France banned the wearing of full face-veils in public, in an effort to “preserve” French culture and diminish what was perceived as oppression of Muslim women. Women who wear the face-veil, or burqa, would be fined or required to have citizenship lessons.
If the government does hinder individual civil rights, such as through racial and religious profiling in the workforce, singling out Muslims during screening at the airport, or FBI spying or interrogation, these actions can be challenged relatively easily especially with resources such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Naturally, the fact that French law infringes upon a Muslim woman’s right to fully express her faith creates tension between the government and Muslim community, resulting in an Islamophobic environment. In fact, according the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, anti-Muslim incidents in France have risen about “60% in recent months. For example, in June, a 21-year-old pregnant
You always have to show people that you can be a free woman and that you can be funny or intelligent even if you wear hijab.
Many French Muslim women, including those who do not wear the face-veil, feel that Muslim women are not oppressed and that they should have the choice to cover themselves as they chose. The government takes that choice away, and ironically, the government becomes the oppressor.
Muslim woman was attacked by two men who ripped off her headscarf, cut her hair, ripped her clothing, and kicked her in the stomach, causing her to have a miscarriage. Later that August, a teenage Muslim girl was attacked by two boys who ripped off her headscarf. Dima Chollar, a French student studying in Berkeley for a semester, shared her own perspective on Islamophobia in France, admitting that wearing a headscarf can be a challenge. “In a general way, I can say that wearing hijab in France is difficult. You always have to show people that you can be a free woman and that you can be funny or intelligent even if you wear hijab. It is difficult because the environment doesn’t help. I mean, when you read the newspaper or watch the news, you always have something against Muslims,” Chollar said. However, Islamophobia in France is not limited to women or Islamic attire. but also extends to discrimination against Islamic dietary law. The mayor of Lille filed a complaint against a fast food chain restaurant because it only served zabiha burgers. In fact, the prejudice has superseded cultural and religious differences. Muslims in France are scapegoated for “exploiting the financial resources of the country and posing a threat to national security,” said Ayhan Kaya the director of the European Institute at Istanbul Bilgi, according to Today’s Zaman. When a group is targeted for posing a threat to the nation, hate crimes, such as vandalized mosques in Paris and southern France, pig heads hung from headstones on 148 French Muslim graves, and plans by extremist groups to attack mosques, become
SPRING 2014 more common. The War on Terrorism has not only compelled some Americans to fear Islam as a religion of violence and evil but has also propagated anti-Islamic sentiments in France and worldwide. However, despite all the social injustices and violence associated with prejudice against Islam, there is one positive thing that ironically results from this ignorance: knowledge. Although Islamophobia masks the peaceful aspects of Islam, it encourages people to seek knowledge about the religion.
of the convertsâ€? since about 150 people convert annually. In the past 25 years, the number of converts has doubled. Of the 6 million Muslims in France, about 100,000 to 200,000 are converts. According to The New York Times, sociologist Samir Amghar states that Islam allows people to integrate more family values in their lives, maintain structure and self-discipline, and use Islam as a source of peace. For example some nonMuslims in France demonstrate the structure and self-discipline that Islam advocates by fasting during the month of Ramadan.
In spite of veil banning and attacks on women and mosques, there has recently been a rise in Muslim converts in France. In Creteil, a mosque is dubbed â€œthe mosque
While Islamophobia creates a hostile environment where people perceive Islam as violent, it also helps society realize that perhaps such prejudices are hyperbolized.
Rather than resorting to the media for the truth, people eventually talk with other Muslims, discuss the religion with experts, and rely on the source itself, the Quran.
To overcome Islamophobia, it is our job as Muslims to educate others about Islam while being mindful of their beliefs and to continue fighting prejudice with knowledge. We may encounter prejudice, but we still have the resources to write about it freely, protest injustices, and gather as a community to eradicate Islamophobia, not only locally but also globally. We have the law on our side, and a right to make a difference. We must use that right.
Source: Pew Research Center
: D O O H N A I P M O M L E U V E D Article by Ali Husain Photos by Manal Ahmed
hough it may not be immediately obvious, the concept of brotherhood and sisterhood underlies Islamic activities ranging from everyday greetings to funeral processes. In the greeting of “peace be upon you,” the speaker wishes peace unto his brother or sister. On a larger scale, the community is collectively responsible for the proper burial and funeral of all Muslims who pass away, both to preserve their honor and pray for their success in the next life. In Islam, the meaning of brotherhood centers on the idea of empathy, as shown by the famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
”In regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling, the believers are like that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” (Muslim) The dilemma we face in the modern world is that while electronic communications have connected us with each other, they have also caused us to be perpetually exposed to the world’s turmoils. Every year it looks as if there is a new addition to the list of troubled areas around the world. As soon as a hardship is overcome in one area, there are ten to replace it. For many people, this brings about a feeling of sadness and hopelessness. The only solutions seem to be to perpetually grieve or to grow apathetic. This is a problem that was unheard of in the past.
Y D O B D E T I N U A G N A more careful look at the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) sheds important light on how to understand and deal with dilemma. It is important to note that the Prophet uses the human body as an example, not a tree and its leaves, or a building and its bricks. When part of the human body is in pain, the body uses what it can to stop the source of harm. The body neither paralyzes itself from the pain nor does it ignore it completely. A more careful look at the Prophetâ€™s choice of metaphor shows that the solution does not have to be either grief or apathy. The human body, unlike a tree with its leaves or a building with its bricks, neither paralyzes itself from pain nor ignores it completely. Rather, it uses what it can to stop the harm at its source. Likewise, the solution to our modern dilemma is neither of these. Consider the case when a person breaks his toe. Despite their power and importance for bodily functions, the eyes cannot directly attend to the pained toe and neither can the mouth nor heart. The only parts of the body that can immediately tend to the situation are the hands. If the eyes mistook themselves as the hands, they would only feel despair and powerlessness when they see the damaged toe so clearly but cannot attend to it. They would not have realized that their true role was different from that of the hands. In fact, the body did not even need the extra hands; instead, it needed the eyes to coordinate so the hands would not grope around in darkness. During this entire ordeal, what would be the purpose of a passive body part such as the stomach? The stomach has neither the power of the hands, nor the important strategic role of the eyes. However, while the stomach cannot externally help the toe, it must continue to keep its interior well-ordered so that it does not fail while the toe is being taken care of. If the digestive system were to fail, the body would not get its nutrition, making it impossible to function.
Some of us are the hands; we can directly interact with the community in need, but require the help of the eyes and muscles to do so. Others among us are the eyes; we have valuable skills to offer the rest of the body, but we are paralyzed upon discovering our inability to mimic the â€œall-importantâ€? hands. Still others are the stomach; we may believe we are doing nothing, but by keeping our locality safe and under control, we play a pivotal role that often goes unacknowledged. The key is that each part of the body must understand and play its unique role.
AL-BAYAN Ummahood: Developing A United Body continued...
This is a curious idea, for how exactly are we brothers? The answer is not how comfortable we are around each other, nor how much time we spend in each other’s company, nor how well our jokes are received amongst ourselves.
Not putting down our brothers with backgrounds different from our own
Putting down others based on their backgrounds can have tremendous effects on our thinking. We only need to look at the Instead, God lists several critical characteristics: state of America around a hundred years ago 1. Not putting down our brothers with to see this. Colored Americans were put down On the practical side, there is the issue backgrounds different from our own so much by white Americans that people had of what we must do in order to internalize the 2. Not calling our brothers by nicknames difficulty seeing colored Americans as humans level of brotherhood exemplified in a body. they dislike deserving of respect and dignity. With no sense Perhaps the easiest solution is to merely consult 3. Not being suspicious of, backbiting, or of brotherhood between these groups, working an expert in human thinking. In fact, the best spying on our brothers together as one body was impossible. expert would be the creator of humanity, 4. Reconciling between our brothers In modern America, aggressive forms God Himself. In Surah Hujurat (49), the topic of discrimination are less common, but passive of brotherhood and community is discussed This is certainly a surprise! These seem forms still exist. They persist in such forms as extensively. like overly specific and minute characteristics prejudices and jokes. The true harm of this pasthat surely cannot help us achieve something sive discrimination is not in the actions alone, Though it is quite clear that most of us are as grand as having the world thinking like one but in the fact that they build walls between not blood-related, God still refers to the Musbody. However, they deserve a closer beyond groups, preventing brotherhoods from forming. lims as brothers and sisters. just the face-value.
“Learning to call others by names they find acceptable forces us to step in their shoes before speaking.”
dignity and honor. Mistrust often begins with suspicion based on personal bias and circumstantial evidence. This suspicion leads to further activity such as spying and backbiting.
to call others by names they find acceptable forces us to step in their shoes before speakNot calling our brothers by ing. We are forced to think about what we are saying, as well as how it will be received by our nicknames they dislike brothers and sisters. Building such empathy is Of the many quirks we have in our daily the reason why we are prohibited from bullying lives, nicknames are thought to be among the For example, a husband may be suspicious most mundane and unimportant of them. From and calling others by names they dislike, even that his wife is cheating on him because of when it does not seem significant. this perspective, this point would seem to be something he overheard her say. This suspicion merely pedantic and some would claim that is may grow to the point where he begins being doesn’t solve any real issues. The truth is deepoverly critical of his wife and even spying on her. er than this naïve line of thinking would sugNot being suspicious of, back- The wife will notice the husband doesn’t trust gest. The important issue this brings to light is her and the whole marriage becomes strained. that of bullying and of empathy. The way others biting, or spying on our brothers Small seeds of suspicion and mistrust can grow Mistrust is a quick method of destroying address us has very real, psychological effects very quickly into disasters, making cooperation on us; calling somebody ‘dumb’ or ‘fat’ for years the structure of any organization, especially and brotherhood impossible in some cases. something like the body which requires excelon end will affect their behavior. It can cause anything from anger issues to suicidal feelings. lent cooperation. It is fundamental for believers to feel safe and at ease leaving their property in In some cases it can bring about self-fulfilling each others hands. This does not only apply to behavior. For example, calling someone “fat” possessions such as money and homes but also may cause them to feel depressed and turn to Reconciling between our brothers includes the more important properties of overeating as a coping mechanism. Learning Disagreements are inevitable conse-
quences of relationships, but dealing with them before they cause animosity is vital. It is the community’s responsibility to help reconcile when a rift between people occurs. This can be on the scale of a single couple, up to rifts in between entire groups. As individuals, we play a part in this as well. Quite often, we take sides and blame the other group instead of working to reconcile between the two. In the end, it is more important to settle animosity fairly than to be on the side that was ‘correct.’ For example, consider two close family members who get into serious arguments over financial matters to the point where they no longer speak to each other. It is their relatives’ responsibility to reconcile between them. The wrong approach would be to pick sides and blame the other. Even if one side were to get its way in the financial matter, it would come with the cost of breaking familial ties. From the Islamic point of view, this is a much bigger loss than whatever would have been gained. This ability to reconcile makes relationships self-healing and robust, making for a strong brotherhood and sisterhood. Together these four characteristics take us from not knowing our brothers and sisters to having a tight-knit community. It begins with tearing down barriers before we even meet each other, that is, we avoid mocking people who come from different groups and work to remove our prejudices. Then, after becoming acquainted, we learn to interact while keeping their views and backgrounds in mind. This is learned by carefully considering how we refer to others, allowing us to learn how they perceive things. After establishing a connection, we are taught to build trust. This is done by avoiding suspicion and by taking care of the dignity and honor of others in their absence. Finally, God teaches us to proactively repair broken ties, making the brotherhood strong, and making for a united and healthy body.
Body Image T
Article by Adeeb Ahmad and Sadiq Patel Photos by Husna Hadi
elevision and multi-media advertisements have been evolving since their debut in the early 1940s. By the 1960s commercials began to target new audiences, some of which were pre-adolescent children. As time progressed, these ads became more and more sexualized; from Barbie commercials to car dealerships, everyone started adopting an unrealistic standard for women. This highlights one of the biggest double standards in our society today. One would think our Western super culture would promote a healthy view towards women; after all, we’ve had a consciousness-raising women’s movement since the 1960s. But the very same culture that is promoting these view of “equality’ and “independence” is creating an unsafe hyper-sexualized environment for women. While most of society agrees that exposure to such images seems to be unavoidable, there are effective ways in which the average consumer can protect themselves against the over-sexualization of our culture.
What does it mean to be objectified?
objectification is when an individual “ Sexual is no longer seen as a whole person. “
In 1997, researchers from the University of Michigan and Colorado College came together to lay down the foundation surrounding the adverse effects of sexualized media on the mental and physical health of consumers*. The culmination of their research resulted in Objectification Theory, which states that individuals develop their primary view of their physical selves by observing the perspectives of others. These observations can take place via media exposure or through personal experience. According to Objectification Theory, self-objectification results when the presence
of an outside perspective intensifies. Individuals are more likely to care about their physical appearance when they know that others are looking at them or will be looking at them.
According to this definition, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with self-objectification. At the same time it is important to understand that there can be negative consequences on our mental and physical health if the outside perspectives we adopt are too unrealistic. As stated before, the media uses hyper-sexualized images in order to sell and promote their
products. When the consumer begins to normalize these unrealistic standards of beauty, self-objectification transforms into sexual objectification. This is the type of objectification we are most familiar with when discussing contemporary gender issues. Sexual objectification is when an individual is no longer seen as a whole person; rather, the primary focus shifts to sex and a selection of body parts.
SPRING 2014 negatively associated with heavy weight and food. Roughly 94%** of American women’s magazines have over-sexualized images and have failed to share a wide variety of body types that more realistically reflect their target audience. Even if an individual chooses to not purchase a magazine, they are displayed at every checkout line at almost every major grocery store, making them virtually unavoidable.
How can we protect ourselves from our culture?
What are the detrimental effects of sexual objectification? Adolescent and college-aged females are at more risk of being affected by media images than males are. Various studies have shown that women report significantly higher body dissatisfaction than males. Fredrickson and Roberts, the co-authors of Objectification Theory, posit that adapting external views on one’s body leads to increased habitual body monitoring. This constant checking of the self, according to studies on undergraduate women who were exposed to various media images, leads to an enhanced state of self-objectification, anxiety in regards to their self-image, and depressive symptoms. Because the media isn’t reversing their unrealistic standards of beauty, more and more individuals, especially women, are developing mental health problems like eating disorders and depression. The bombardment of sexualized advertisements on young adults has been shown to adversely affect their relationships with their own bodies, eventually leading to the development of eating disorders and other mental health issues.
What motivates the media to use and promote such images and standards? The reason is that sex sells, and advertisements are all about selling products and services. The most immediate and direct way to combat such a detrimental business decision is to avoid buying from or supporting that business—in other words, divest. We often hear about divesting from various companies on social media for ethical reasons revolving around war and politics. War comes in many different forms, and the over-sexual ization of our culture is a war between the sexualization of multi-media and moral standards. Divesting from such companies is a way to send a message without much effort from the individual, all you have to do is withhold your support. Ideally, with enough individuals refusing to support this business practice, we can pressure advertising companies to appeal to something other than sex in order to sell their product.
“If we learn about
In addition to divesting, we must reinforce a proper and more realistic standard of beauty at the intrapersonal and communal levels. Dr. Emma Halliwell, a published scholar in public and gender health, conducted a study to see just how effective communication is against this “unavoidable” harm. Participants viewed videos which contained either hyper-sexualized images that were unnaturally modified and airbrushed or more normal and realistic images. Half of the participants from each group would also view an informational video on body dissatisfaction. Those who viewed the informative video immediately before viewing the sexualized media images showed little to no signs of body dissatisfaction when compared to those who watched the videos without learning about body dissatisfaction and its effects. This shows that if we learn about the issue, we can be resilient to its effects at the intrapersonal level.
the issue, we can be resilient to its effects at the intrapersonal level.”
For instance, fashion and so-called women’s health magazines are known for casting only thin, idealized models and actresses. Women are almost always positively associated with thinness and exercise while being
As a community, we shouldn’t hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations and let such false social standards dictate the way we view and carry ourselves. It is also important to spread awareness among those close to and around us. The more we inform our family, friends, and fellow community members on this issue, the more we will be able to combat this detrimental business practice. Body dissatisfaction is a very personal issue that affects the mental and physical health of all individuals, especially adolescent girls and college aged women, and should be taken very seriously.
Recap: The three levels of objectification There are three distinct levels of objectification. The base level is the framework of Objectification Theory, which states that how we view our own physical selves is influenced by observing the perspectives of others. The second level, an enhanced version of the first, is called self-objectification. Both of these levels are normal; for example when we follow the latest fashion trends we are technically objectifying ourselves, but it is not what it sounds like. When we hear the term objectification or self-objectification, we often think of sexual objectification, which is a level above the others. What makes sexual objectification distinct is that it stems directly from an unrealistic standard of beauty that turns individuals into sexual objects and body parts. This is harmful because exposure to sexualized images makes a lasting imprint on our own self-concept, whether we notice it or not. From eating disorders to depression, the effects of sexualized media are clearly harmful for society and we must take a firm stance against companies who endorse such immoral business practices. Until we gather enough support to increase regulations on media advertising, we must protect ourselves and those close to us. The key in building resilience against such an “unavoidable” harm is to learn about body image and body dissatisfaction as well as to teach others. Together, we can shield our communities against such immoral practices and win the war on body image. Sadiq Patel is a senior at UC Berkeley graduating with a degree in Psychology and Integrative Biology. Adeeb Ahmad is a senior at CSU East Bay graduating with a degree in Human Development with an emphasis in Women’s Development.
* Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T.-A. (1997). Objectification theory: toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 173-206. ** Harper, B., Tiggemann, M. (2008). The effect of thin ideal media images on women’s self-objectification, mood, and body image. Sex Roles, 58, 649-657.
Mosque Infiltration: A Rigorous Approach
Constance Noring and Omar Rehmane (Dated: April 7, 2014)
2. Foreign Uncle/Auntie Adopt a clear foreign accent when speaking and mix civilized and uncivilized clothing. It is important to note that the tactic is not to feign ignorance, but to exhibit confidence and stubbornness about your suspicious behavior and to maintain that is it commonplace in your country of origin. For example, one could be placing GPS tracking devices and if caught in the act, claim that this is an old tradition from your hometown in the jungle. 3. Manly Man Moslemian male circles are built around superficial displays of manliness6 and discussion of ”marriage.” ”Marriage” is rendered here in quotes as it is believed to be a code word amongst Moslimite males - each one speaks with authority upon the subject despite the vast majority of them being incapable of holding a conversation with a member of the opposite sex. Successful infiltration relies upon lowbrow humor, discussion of sports, and a complete dependency upon others for basic societal skills such as cooking and cleaning. 4. Queen Bee Certain Moslem females appear to act as conduits for groupthink, as all statements from these ”Queen Bees” are taken as gospel by other Moslemian females. Simple ideas such as ”racism” is bad” and ”women are people,” when posted by these specimens on social media, are inexplicably lauded as ”deep,” and often result in ”snaps.” In order to assume this role, female agents must grow their social networking profiles as large as possible and then post obvious ideas about society with a C. Infiltration Tactics passive-aggressive tone. Research into depriva To begin, the agent should construct tion of ”likes” and ”follows” on the Moslemian a personality with background information female is ongoing, but it is believed to be detribefore beginning the mission. Some useful mental to their health. templates are: Once a personality has been chosen, 1. New Convert This is the agent should adapt a disguise consisting of the simplest background, a towel over the head and artificial facial hair. no setup is needed, mere- To obtain the dark complexion, rub your skin ly state you decided to be- in dirt. This may seem archaic, but in reality it come a Moslem and you is a common misconception that people are are set. The main tactic actually born with colored-skin. All humans are is to blame all suspicious born white and beautiful, but some willingly behavior on your lack of choose to be uncivilized and use dirt (of various knowledge and culture. colors) to give their skin color1. As a tangent, For example, if you are this also addresses any arguments that the preaching to others about system of profiling is racist, because it is the violently attacking infidels profilee’s own fault for choosing their skin and you are confronted for color. The color matrix given a certain dirt type this, assure them that it is gol and Black’s function is given by the simple a common American tradi- relation: tion following mealtime.
point to consider is that head coverings, facial hair, and brown skin are key characteristics that Moslems use to recognize members of Although the science of infiltrattheir species. Consider the hijab (pronounced ing Mohammaden institutions, also known ”towel”) as shown in Figure 1. Combining the as ’Mosques’, has been ongoing for the hijab with modern FBI disguising technology is past decade, there has been no systematic a very effective method of assimilating into the method of teaching new agents how the task Moslem community, but this will be discussed is performed. As a veteran infiltrant and agent in more detail later. Sometimes you may find inprovocateur, we hope to provide a thorough dividuals with these physical characteristics but and rigorous explanation on how to disguise claim to be “Sikh”, “Nuns”, or even “Americans”. oneself as a member of the Moslem Cult, enter Such claims are false, and agents should never Mosques, install information gathering devices, fall for these tactics. and finally entrap a member of the cult to ter A mechanism of particular interest rify the cult. is the Moslemian hive mind. Years of research Usage: FBI Training has resulted in the conclusion that Moslems act solely based on groupthink, like the Borg or I. HISTORY Zerg. Each Moslem receives its orders from the collective five times a day by facing a certain It is a well-established fact that the first act of terrorism occurred on September 11, direction and assuming various poses. Field operatives have been unable to fool the hive mind 2001 on the World Trade Center1. In fact, the word terrorism did not even exist in the English into transmitting orders to them, however. Research continues into the method by which Language before this catastrophe. Thanks to advanced forensic study, we can conclude that the orders are transmitted. these actions were planned by the Moslem hive B. Culture mind1. Discussion of the mechanism by which this phenomenon is achieved follows, but the Despite the protests of anthropologists, agents conclusion is clear - all Moslems are complicit do not need in-depth study of the Moslemite in the planning and execution of those and all Culture. That is not to say that knowledge subsequent attacks. of the culture has no use; rather, everything needed to known about Moslemite Culture was A. Anatomy of the Moslem learned on September 11, 20014. Though it seems from the point of view of a civilised human that the members of the Moslem cult are easily recognized by the towel wrappings over their hair, some definitions need to made to avoid confusion. The key
FIG. 1. Figure A shows the traditional hijab, while Figure B incorporates advanced disguising technology
3. Textual Evidence Moslemian culture values pride above all else, and so no individual Moslem will ever admit to having a gap in their knowledge of their so-called religion. As such, presentation of false passages should allow agents to drastically affect Moslemite behavior, as they will act upon any evidence rather than admit to not being familiar with it. If attempting to entrap a target with advanced knowledge, agents should present real passages stripped of context. For foreigners the main tactic is to appeal their ignorance of American Culture. A tried and tested method is to tell the target that Googling ”DIY car bombs” and following the instructions is an American pastime that is often asked about in the citizenship interview5. According to our statistical analyses, the agent should have entrapped their very own Moslem at this point.
III. CONCLUSION At the fundamental level, the process of infiltration begins with agent himself. Much care is needed to properly assimilate and entrap Moslems; however, the end result is a great sense of satisfaction for defending Liberty and Justice. Agents should feel comfort that they are singlehandedly taking part in molding a future world with love and peace for everyone, except people that disagree with us. At the same time, the agents should not feel any fear for Moslemians. Sometimes agents in the FIG. 2. Figure A shows the growth of the economic value of methods. At the current rate of growth the value will increase to field may start feeling sympathy for Moslem210 Trillion Francs or more than the GDP of the Earth. Figure B illustrates a pie graph. Figure C clearly shows that the total ites, so it is imperative to understand that they number of entrapments will increase over time, as predicted by our methods. Figure D shows an astonishing linear relationship between the time after the release of our methods to the number of years after our methods were released. are fundamentally different than us. While we Once the persona is completed, the without exception prone to commit every crime can understand interpersonal communication and body language, the Muslemese have very agent should choose a cult site, or Mosque, to known to mankind123. When this is taken into difficult times understanding even the simplest infiltrate. It is highly recommended to choose consideration, entrapment should really be of jokes, making them fundamentally different an cult site that is frequented by immigrants referred to as proactive policing. Thus, agents because they are more easily entrapped. Do should take comfort in the fact that even if the creatures than us akin to fauna and flora. At this point, critics however may be aware that this comes with the downside target Moslemite is charged with a crime that point that we have yet to show any evidence that the agent must do their best to act even he never committed, the Moslemite would that our guidelines bring about practical 4 more uncivilized than expected. The agent have done so eventually anyways . Nevertheresults. First and foremost, we say ’tsk tsk’ to must remember this is a small sacrifice for less, the term ”entrapment” has become an such critics. The results of our methods can be dear Uncle Sam. After choosing the cult site, industry standard, so it will be used to avoid seen in Figure 2. A quick glance at the statisthe agent must be careful. The Moslems often any confusion. tics shows even the most amateur informants claim to encourage their own to receive hive Proper entrapment begins with than our methodology has revolutionized the mind transmissions (a ritual referred to as choosing a proper target. The best targets are ”Salah” or ”Namaz”) in the Mosque, but this teenagers (or young adults) and foreigners. This industry. In fact, these techniques have brought about such change as record high entrapments, is believed to be a method to root out infiltrais because both groups are easily persuaded unprecedented fear levels in the Moslem comtors, as mosques generally remain empty at all and coerced. For young Moslemites, the foltimes. Instead, agents are advised to maintain lowing tactics have been shown to be the most munity, lower gasoline prices, and has even cured various types of cancer. attendance at all mosque events and use this as effective5: proof of their ”religiosity,” or loyalty to Moham- 1. Crush Convince the target that by commit1] True History of the World Journal of History 21.479. 2011. medan ideals. ting mass murder they will finally get the love  Gossip Magazine 2001: Random House, N.Y. and affection of their longtime secret crush. In  E. H. Norman Japan’s emergence as a modern state 1940: II. ENTRAPMENT addition, they will finally be respected by their International Secretariat, Institute of Pacific Relations. peers for being so brave.  Bob Doe Anti-Foreignism and Western Learning in EarlyThe holy grail of infiltration is the entrapment Modern USA 1986: Harvard University Press. 2. All the Cool Kids are doing it Persuade the of a Mohammeden cult member, and is a fool Jorge Badros 1001 Cookbook Recipes 2012: Cambridge target into believing that all the popular kids University Press. proof method for agents to get tenured within had to first kill children in the name of their  See ”Ron Swanson,” or ”misogyny” the FBI. Before discussing the methods, the favorite deity before people started to respect agent should understand that entrapment is actually a misnomer. To be fair, Moslemites are them.
HOW TO WIN A
Article by Abdul-Rahman Hamud Photo by Husna Hadi
id you know that one in every four people in America have something that affects them? Today I’m going to teach you how to win first place at a poetry slam. It’s simpler than you think; content is one thing, but the majority of a victory depends on how you deliver the content. Just an F.Y.I., I’ve personally applied the four tips below, and the first time I did, it was like the crowd had just invented fire (because they snapped so much they created enough friction to spark the fuel that was my words). Think that’s deep? I didn’t major in poetry with a concentration in 2 Chainz Freestylism for nothing. Now let’s get started.
: The Blank Piece of Paper
No matter what your poem is about, memorize it, and bring a blank piece of paper with you. Famous poets like Hamza Siddiqui exhaust this tip (and many of my other tips for that matter). During your presentation, you’re going to act like you’re reading off a paper, then halfway through your poem, you’re going to say something like, “And you guys thought I was reading off my paper when in reality the words are glued to my head like my taper.” Of course, you might need to have a taper haircut to say that. If you don’t, a good default is, “You guys thought something was written on this sheet, but I don’t need to cheat when the words are flowing through my balanced benevolent beat.” “Balanced benevolent beat,” a classic use of alliteration - this leads to my next tip.
: Alliterating Alliterations
Alliteration always gets the crowd going; let’s reference 2 Chainz once more. In his hit song, “I’m Different,” he says the following line: “Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing.” He coherently alliterates the “s” sound, as seen in the bolded words. It doesn’t matter what you say in your poem - just alliterate. Poems are like rap songs; people pay more attention to the rhythm and style, not the words. This is the only time in life when overdoing something is beneficial. If my poem were about an apple, one of my lines would be, “I ate an aggravated apple and attempted to act arrogant.” Did you feel that? I sure did.
: THEY DON’T KNOW YOU
: “The Forgetful Cry”
No matter what, assume that your audience doesn’t know you. I’m sure you have your friends there, but just pretend they’re all strangers during your performance. Not only will this help you objectively express yourself, you also get to use one of the most famous lines in poetry, a line that Walt Whitman himself said to me right before he left this world: “Y’all don’t know me. Nah, y’all don’t know a thing about me.” This line itself could help you take home the gold or Chipotle gift card or whatever the prize is at the poetry slam. Of course, you need the build up, so before saying that, you have to say something like, “Y’all don’t know me” or “You think y’all know me?” I found this is best used close to the climax of your poem. Again, the lines will read something like, “(sarcastic laugh), Y’all think you know me? Nah, y’all don’t know a thing about me.”
This final tip is definitely edgy and many attempt it but end up losing the competition; use this only as a last resort. While reading your poem, get ready to tear up because what better way to stir your audience’s emotions. Repeat after me: “Humans are creatures of emotion.” Of course, don’t bawl your eyes out; just make sure your eyes are watery. When they are, at the middle of your poem, you’re going to cut yourself off, tell the audience, “I’m sorry,” wipe your eyes with a tissue, and then continue reading your poem. Don’t be surprised if you hear thousands of snaps and the occasional “dangggg” or “real talk.” Now of course this only works for sad poems, but hey, don’t let me limit your creativity; go crazy. (Notice my alliteration of the “cr” sound in “creativity” and “crazy.”) All right, there you have it; my secrets are out. These tips are a gift and a curse, so watch out. When you win your first poetry slam, you’ll know what I mean. I’ve won every poetry slam I’ve attended following these tips. (Either that or because I’m handsome.) I’m going to leave you with a story of a poetry slam I almost lost. For my high school poetry slam, I brought an onion from home to force myself to cry. I poked the onion using my librarian’s scissors (behind everyone’s back of course), and wiped the juices around my eyes. When it was my turn to present, I accidentally touched my eyes, so I squinted and groaned for a good five seconds on stage. Why am I telling you this? Because poetry.
Lust 101-Zakat and our Savings Account
A Poem by Aman Falol
Cradling one year old nephew on Saturday morning We sit in front of a grand breakfast Sunny side up eggs and charred roasted potatoes House smelling like no need for imagination and Food Network Reach out and flex toes Press power on remote control Because best meal eating plan includes cartoons for optimal satisfaction I then attack my plate Sink carnivorous canines into stove cooked prey And scarf down colossal portions But fork drops from sudden limp hand Intestines tie into triple strength knot As skeletons infiltrates international television signal A doctor of Yarmouk, Syria cradles one-year-old patient Feasting on starvation 30 days and counting Child’s bony ribcage protrudes off the screen with 3D graphic intent Purple and swollen cheeks signifying loss in feeling Not feeling fear or hope Only pain in living and peace in its absence Bloodshot eyes mirror battlefield trauma Bullets piercing through skin and organs Erupting external blood flow of volcanic proportions My eyes begin to rain Turn off TV to escape guilt of my spending But next to where I banish the remote Sits my wallet Complaining of its purpose, its practice Protesting multiple road trips planned along California Oceanside Fighting for divestment from daily Peets’ Caramel Freddos Occupying every inch of my thoughts Because the excess of my earnings Belong to the Struggling The Stranded The Syrians Civilians fluent in the profanity of war Yet still refuse to speak it
Allah: the Arabic word for God
An Open Letter to the Muslim Community at UC Berkeley March, 17, 2014 Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah My dear brothers and sisters, I’ve been a member of the MSA since day 1 of my college career. I’ve watched the MSA grow and flourish, watched as each new board added and made the community bigger and better than the year preceding it. I’ve been at the rallies for Egypt, the candlelight vigils for Libya. I’ve attended all of the MSA elections, and participated in the socials. I’ve campaigned vigorously for our senate candidates come election season, and I’ve always worn my affiliation with our MSA with such honor and pride.
hadith: a direct quote from the Prophet Muhammad halal: permissable; when used in reference to meat, it means “zabiha” haram: impermissible, forbidden hijab: headscarf worn by many Muslim women; can refer more generally to the concept of modesty hijabis: informal term used to refer to women who wear the hijab jummah: Friday service consisting of a sermon followed by a prayer people of the book: the Quran’s way of referring to Jews and Christians, because according to Islam, they follow divine, God-given books as well
every day, he would sexually molest her when no one was looking, as he sat there “teaching” her the Holy Book. She never told anyone, scared into silence. That little girl was my mother.
I want you to take a moment and think about that, and then think whether you have the courage to look me in the eye and tell me that we should still respect that scholar because he “has more knowledge” than I do. He may have more knowledge, but that means absolutely nothing if his actions prove otherwise. We are not judged by our knowledge, but by our deeds. I want you to think of the pain of my friend, who was forcibly taken to another country and married to a So today, I write with a heavy heart to share my disappointment, my hurt, and my utter disillusion- man that she did not know and then subject to marital rape. I want you to think of my cousin, ment with our community. who was beaten by her husband so much that she divorced him at the age of 23. I want you Over the last week, there was a social media maelstrom surrounding International Women’s Day. to think of my family friend, who was sexually molested by a family member for years. I wish it had been about celebrating the women in our lives, but almost all of the posts I saw were I want you to think of me. hurtful jokes, sexist comments, and humorless Facebook statuses. There were “make me a sandwich” jokes on brothers’ walls. There were conde- My appeal to you today is not one of argumenscending statuses about feminism that only showed tation or debate. Today, I am appealing to your humanity. I want you to imagine your mother the complete ignorance and misunderstanding being forcibly molested beyond her will. Think some people have about the subject. There were about that. How does it make you feel? Does it Abu Eesa’s jokes about rape, abuse, and female get you angry? Because that is the lived experigenital mutilation that had no context and never will. What was probably worst were the people say- ence of thousands of women around the world. ing that we should “respect our scholars” and that That is the experience of so many of the women his comments were “just a joke”. you know and hold dear to you, even if you do not know of their pain. I know that I can’t get through to you by explaining feminism or the Islamic fiqh of joking, because I have been a part of the Berkeley community it doesn’t seem to get through. Unfortunately, we for years, and never have I felt this hurt by you. are either too coward to admit to our mistakes, or we are too arrogant to openly listen to another You know who you are, and you know what you person’s perspective. Instead, I will tell you a story. have done. Even if you didn’t write the status or crack a joke, you did not stop it and that There was once a little girl, around 7 or 8 years old. implicates you. I expect our community to hold ourselves to higher standards. We cannot claim Every day, an Islamic teacher would come to her to be a religion of peace and justice if we cannot home to teach her how to read the Quran. And point out wrong from wrong and right for right.
deen: the Arabic word for religion. To improve one’s deen is to improve one’s practice of the religion.
Quran: the holy book of Islam; the word of God Ramadan: the ninth and holiest month of the lunar calendar, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. surah: chapter of the Quran (there are 114) sirat-al mustaqim: the straight path; quoted from the opening chapter of the Quran shariah: Islamic law and way of life ummah: global Muslim community zabiha: meat that has been slaughtered according to a particular scholarly interpretation in which the name of Allah must be recited during slaughtering
As a woman that has experienced and felt so much hate, hurt, and violence, I am almost numb to the fact. It makes no difference that I live in the Muslim community. I pray five times a day, I wear hijab, and I practice my faith to the best of my ability. Yet none of those things, not one, makes me immune from the violence. Rape and sexual violence are not caused by anything except power and the desire to exert it over another human being. My body and my sister’s bodies have been the victims of this violence for far too long. Please do not join those that violate me. Those that violated my mother, or those that violate my sisters. Please stand with me. Let us end this epidemic together. With peace, Your sister in Islam.
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Published on Jun 17, 2014
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