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From the Archive: Muslims Wearing Things

Last week, the American media landscape was in an uproar over comments former (and now, recently fired) National Public Radio (NPR) analyst Juan Williams made during an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor,” the Fox News Channel program of conservative, professional provacateur Bill O’Reilly. In a discussion over whether or not the United States has a “Muslim issue,” Juan Williams stated that he is:

…not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

Williams was subsequently fired from NPR and Fox News announced they were offering him a $2 million contract. The episode and how it was handled touched off a firestorm in the American media.

Similarly in French public life, legislation recently banned certain forms of Muslim women’s garb prompting two young female Parisiens to videotape themselves walking through the streets of Paris in hotpants, stilettos, and niqabs in an act of protest.

On this side of the Atlantic, one of the more comedic responses to the Williams episode and the encroachment of Islamophobia in American public life is a blog that invites submissions from readers entitled, “Muslims Wearing Things.” The site chronicles Muslims in all sorts of garb, such as Lebanese mega popstar Haifa Wehbe who, according to the site, “wears fishnets and just a few strands of pearls.”

From my own archive, some submissions of Muslim women wearing things:

Marie Sherzai, an Afghan immigrant, wears a pantsuit and turquoise shawl with a floral pattern to assist her grandson during a bowling tournament in northern Virginia.

Azeri popstar and former Azerbaijan Eurovision contestant Safura wears a sultry blue dress and long, flowing locks to perform her single and Eurovision song “Drip Drop” at an international wrestling tournament in her native Baku.

Aysel Teymurzadegi, another former Azerbaijan Eurovision contestant and popstar, wears a wife beater and black mini-shorts while hanging with industry friends on the roof of the Landmark Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Dr. Derya Karagelik and Dr. Demet Algay wear hoodies and cardigans in an examination room in their office in the remote Kurdish village of Haskoy in Turkey’s far northeast.