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Muslim model Halima Aden quits runway over religious beliefs


Model Halima Aden will no longer “compromise” her religious beliefs in the name of the “toxic mess called fashion.”

The 23-year-old star — who has appeared on the covers of British Vogue, Vogue Arabia, Allure and more — is walking away from her runway career, telling fans on Instagram Wednesday that the gig would often force her to skip prayers, wear clothes she wasn’t comfortable in and style her hijab in ways she felt betrayed her Muslim values.

She came to the realization during the coronavirus lockdown, which gave her time to reflect on how her career choice impacted her religion.

“They could call me tomorrow and not even for $10 million would I ever risk compromising my hijab ever again,” she wrote, pledging to never take part in runway shows or travel for fashion weeks again.

“That’s where all the bad energy came from,” she asserted.

She also expressed regret over specific campaigns she took part in, including American Eagle’s 2017 promotion of their first denim hijab.

Makeup artist Hector Espinal, Rihanna and Halima Aden on stage during a Fenty Beauty event.
Makeup artist Hector Espinal, Rihanna and Halima Aden on stage during a Fenty Beauty event.Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

“Why did I allow them to put jeans on my head when at the time I had only ever worn skirts and long dresses?” she wrote, explaining, “I was just so desperate back then for any ‘representation’ that I lost touch with who I was.”

The same year, a Glamour shoot left the model emotional after allowing stylists to style her hijab with green fabric and feathers.

“I went back to my hotel room and just sobbed after this shoot because deep down I knew this wasn’t it. But was too scared to speak up,” she wrote. “Also very common struggle when you are the FIRST to do something.”

Aden set several records for Muslim women in modeling, including being the first to wear a hijab and burkini in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue last year.



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Politics

A white man complained about Muslim woman on flight, launching 6-hour ordeal


When al-Khatahtbeh refused to leave without the other passenger’s removal as well, Port Authority officials were called, who escorted her off the plane and took her into police custody. “I refused to get off because they’re not taking the man that made me feel uncomfortable and complained about me off the plane,” she said in a live video streamed to Facebook

But the injustice did not end there, as al-Khatahtbeh was then handcuffed to a bench for refusing to remove her hijab, according to a post she shared on Instagram. According to CBS News, she was charged with trespass and delay of transportation. The whole “traumatizing” ordeal lasted at least six hours.

The incident follows policy changes passed less than a week ago in neighboring New York City allowing people who wear religious head coverings to keep them on during arrests and mugshot photos. The policy change for the New York Police Department applies to not just people who wear the hijab (a headscarf worn by those who practice the Islamic faith), but to all religious headwear including yarmulkes, habits, and turbans, Daily Kos reported.

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In response to Amani’s live tweets of the incident indicating that airline officials were trying to get police to remove her, a spokesperson for American Airlines replied: “We take this issue seriously and our team is working as fast as possible to understand what occurred.”

Bystanders also noted the bias the airline had in handling the incident and called it racist. “I got the gist that they wanted to take her off of the plane, and they didn’t really give her a clear explanation as to why,” Jake Tapia, who was also on the flight, told CBS News. “There were definitely some agitated passengers because they wanted to make the next flight, which I get, but I think complaining about your next flight is really missing the point of the racism that’s happening right in front of you.”

The incident is not a first for Muslims, especially those who wear the veil, and has sparked national outrage. Twitter users are sharing not only their own experiences of Islamophobia under the tag #FlyingwhileMuslim but their disappointment with airlines that have failed to address these recurring issues.

Multiple airlines have been accused of incidents of Islamophobia. While many go unreported, some cases have made headlines nationwide in efforts to seek justice. Last year, Daily Kos reported a similar incident in which another woman wearing the hijab was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight after passengers allegedly complained she was making them “uncomfortable.” Additionally, Delta Airlines was fined $50,000 in January for removing not one but two passengers on separate occasions, despite them being cleared by officials.

The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is representing al-Khatahtbeh in the matter and has reached out to American Airlines on her behalf. In a statement, both CAIR National and its New Jersey chapter, CAIR-New Jersey, called on the airline to issue an explanation on why only al-Khatahtbeh and not the man equally involved in the dispute was removed from the aircraft.

“Although we do not yet know all of the facts about this incident, we do know that American Airlines has a history of mistreating Muslim travelers,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said. “The airline must immediately explain why it singled out Amani by contacting the police and ejecting her from a flight based on the word of a man who had allegedly harassed her.”

“Law enforcement must immediately release Amani from custody and conduct a full and transparent investigation into what happened,” CAIR-New Jersey Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said. “Any investigation must look into the conduct of the unidentified man who allegedly sparked this disturbing incident.”





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Politics

Mauree Turner becomes first Muslim elected to Oklahoma state legislature


Oklahoma currently has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the country, making criminal justice reform that much more important. In their announcement, Turner noted that criminal justice reform impacts other areas of political issues including housing insecurity, substance abuse, and a lack of access to education and job opportunities. 

When asked about their inspiration to run for the State House, Turner told the Council of American and Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma chapter that growing up in a single-parent household as the child of an incarcerated parent impacted their decision. ”When we don’t have someone with shared lived experiences advocating for us inside the capitol it makes it a lot easier for us to be carved out of the solutions that govern our everyday lives – and that is also what I stress to the students I talk to in middle and high schools around the state,” Turner said.

“I always said I would never run for office, but would always be devoted to finding the best candidate out there. I live in House District 88, one of the most liberal places – if not the most liberal place – in Oklahoma, we should be driving the conversation, and action, around what inclusive and equitable policy looks like.”

Representation played a big part in Turner’s decision to run as they hope this new position will allow future generations to have a relatable role model. “As a child, I honestly remember having conversations with my mom where I thought that things would just be better if I was white, or if I was just different in some way, shape or form,” Turner said. “So, it means a lot to be able to provide that visibility for other folks.”

According to HuffPost, despite the district consisting of 20% Latino and 10% Black residents, there have been no Black or Latino representatives in Oklahoma’s 88th District. In an interview with the HuffPost in October, Turner said that it would be “formative for young Muslim folks to see” should they be elected as the state’s first Muslim lawmaker. “We are no longer fighting for a seat at the table,” Turner said. “We’re creating a whole new table where everybody eats.”

Turner grew up in a multifaith household and learned about Islam from their father after he converted in prison. Prior to running for office, the hijab-wearing progressive worked as a field director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s criminal justice reform project, Campaign for Smart Justice. Additionally, Turner has worked in direct policy advocacy at the state capitol since 2018.

In sharing what their experience has been in running for state office as both a Muslim and person of color, Turner was simultaneously vulnerable and truthful. “In this fight my community is fighting to no longer have an ally represent us, but actually be our own representation,” Turner told CAIR Oklahoma. They said that the experience has been difficult, with people encouraging them to back out and run for school board or city council instead.

Reflecting on the Quran’s Chapter 2 Verse 177, Turner said that while they felt heartbreak from the people who would not support them, they felt healing in the reason why they chose to run, and encouraged others to read the Quranic chapter to “think about what that means in the context of where we are in the nation.”

“I also found peace in seeing folks show up for this movement I would have never expected. We have had folks hold fundraisers for us in other states, we have had artists create artwork for this movement, and around this campaign, we have had donors from across the country,” Turner said. “To be able to find, educate, and build community across the nation has been wonderful, Alhamdulillah.”

Black, Muslim, and Queer, Turner’s win is historic.





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Survey Finds President Trump Has Far More Support From Muslim Voters Than Joe Biden


A new survey has found that Muslim voters are backing President Trump over Joe Biden, and by a large margin.

Democrats and the media have spent years falsely describing Trump’s temporary travel ban as a “Muslim ban” in an obvious effort to portray him as anti-Muslim. This has obviously failed.

Trump’s approval among Muslim’s is even higher than Obama’s was in 2012, according to the survey.

The Washington Examiner reports:

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‘Trump does what he says’: Muslims abandon Biden, back president

President Trump, whose Middle East plan is winning support from Arab nations, is gaining strong support from Muslim leaders and their followers who believe that the Democrats haven’t delivered on years of promises, according to a new survey of Islamic leaders.

In a shocking turnaround, 61.48% of the 109 Muslim leaders who “represent two million voters” plan to vote for Trump. That is a slight edge over their 2012 vote for Barack Obama.

The survey of the leaders was done by the Washington correspondent for Aksam Gazetesi, a Turkish news site. It suggested that the Muslim leaders’ support for former Vice President Joe Biden was 30.27%.

Those results represent a dramatic flip of the Muslim vote, which for years has sided with the Democrats.

Aksam’s Washington correspondent Yavuz Atalay shared his results with Secrets and said, “It’s about the trustworthy. Obama, Clinton said good words, but they did not do what they said. Biden is doing same things. Good words but no action. Trump does what he says.”

This is a remarkable development which is being largely ignored by the mainstream media.

Here’s an interesting theory about the support:

It will be fascinating to revisit this after the election to analyze the results.

Cross posted from American Lookout.





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