Monday, May 30, 2011

Amazing Egyptian Women

There was a tag on twitter the other day #amazingegyptians where people were off naming a bunch of cool Egyptians. I noticed one tweet that said not many women were on there. So I after some research and asking around, I compiled a list- a very eclectic list of a plethora of Egyptian women ranging from scientists, journalists, doctors, actresses, and bloggers. Feel free to comment below to add more awesome Egyptian women because I am sure there are SOO much more!

Dr.Samira Mousa the first women to study nuclear science, PhD in Atomic Radiation, worked to make medical use of nuclear tech affordable to all Egyptians

Kamilia Abdelfattah - Egyptian psychologist and educator

Radwa Ashour - noble essayist, author, and lecturer, who won prizes all over the world for her artistic novels

Shams Ahmed, Egyptian bassist

Leila_Ahmed Egyptian writer on Islam and Muslim feminism, novelist, the first women's studies professor at Harvard Divinity School

Umm Kulthum - dubbed greatest female singer in Middle Eastern history.

Tamav Irinie, A modern Coptic saint.

Injy Hassan Aflatoun - Painter, whose political attitude showed in her work.

- Activist, Blogger, President Obama reads her blog.

Shahira Amin - Anchor/journalist for Egyptian State TV who resigned during Jan. 25 Revolution because of the station's lies.

Dalia Ziada- Activist, blogger, one of 150 most influential women in the world

Mona Eltahawy- columnist, feminist, public speaker

Nermeena - blogger, had her blog since 2004, one of the first bloggers in Egypt.

Eman Hashim award-winning blogger, teacher, writer, ophthalmologist

Nadia Younes: served as Deputy Spokeswoman for the Secretary-General of UN, Director of the UN Information Centre

Butheina Kamel, TV show host, candidate for Egypt's first free presidential elections post-Mubarak

Nawal el-Saadawi Egyptian doctor, feminist, writer

Hoda Shaarawi
- Egyptian feminist, nationalist

Asma Mahfouz - Activist whose vlogs helped spark the revolution.

Hanan Turk - outstanding actress, former ballerina, volunteer, worldwide ambassador for the international NGO Islamic Relief

Azza Fahmy - jewelery designer, was British Designer of the Year.

Lamia Bahnasawy - Archery champion, participated in 2004 Olympics

Nadia El-Awady President of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Dalia Mogahed - Advisor selected by Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Executive Director of Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, executive director at Women in International Security (WIIS)

Jihan El Midany - Pentathlete at Youth Olympic Games

Ethar El-Katatney
- Award-winning journalist, author.

Aya Medani, Competed in 2008 Olympics, Pentathlon, fencing.

St. Mary of Egypt - who took on man's garb to enter monastery and was falsely accused of sin

Ragia Omran - exceptional human rights lawyer

Hayat Farag- Egyptian wrestler, competed in 2008 Olympics

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My #Jan25 Tweets Compilation: Re-living the Revolution

I wasn't even in Egypt during the #Jan25 revolution but I often miss it so much that I watch videos on YouTube for hours. I also searched for my tweets and compiled them here as a memoir and I'll eventually make a scrapbook. Just going through them all reminded me of all the time, effort and hard work Egyptians went through, which eventually resulted in #Feb11. Scroll down to start with #Jan25 then keep scrolling up. The revolution continues ...

Feb 13 w kol share3 f beladiiiiii #jan25 #egypt
Feb 13 my #egypt #jan25 cupcakes made it on @AJE !!
Feb 13 mom told me re #jan25 "lesson learned, when u believe in something you keep fighting for it until you reach it, don't change mind in middle"

Feb 12 I'll finally be able to look like a normal human and look decent when going out #jan25 Congrats Egypt
Feb 12 We will never forget those martyrs who died for their country #jan25 #Egypt
Feb12 fail: bush goes to war with 2 countries over YEARS to give them "democracy" ... win: egypt = democracy = 18 days Congrats Egypt #jan25
Feb 12 RT“@cypherbug: Got a Dictator in your country?......Hire an Egyptian #jan25”
Feb 12 and whats with ppl stilll saying we should respect hosni mubarak? FE SETEEEN ALF DAHYA TAKHDO #jan25

Feb 11 This is surreal #jan25 #egypy
Feb11 Masr masr masr #jan25 #egypt
Feb11 Power to the people #jan25 #egypt

Feb10 I love u Egypt #jan25
Feb10 I'll always keep fighting until your full rights #jan25
Feb 10 RT “@cnnbrk: Egyptian information minister denies President Mubarak is stepping down, state TV reports.”
Feb10 Excllent step Egyptians! We should celebrate but we also need to continue to demand our full freedom and rights and democracy #jan25
Feb 10 Young Egyptian Elites Share First Hand Experience Protesting at Tahrir Square
Feb10 RT“@WTOL11: LOCAL NEWS - Toledo Egyptians disappointed by Mubarak's announcement”

Feb 9 i havent tweeted much today, but egypt has been on my mind all day, did my assignments for class all wrong, asked my prof to redo it. #jan25
Feb 9 egypt is my role model. period. #jan25 #tahrir

Feb 8 RT “@ashrafkhalil: Just back from Tahrir. If numbers keep growing like this, these guys are going to need a bigger square #egypt”
Feb 8 RT “@izzarian: Went to #Tahrir today, it was exhilarating. #Egypt”

Feb 7 Cnn email:Google executive Wael Ghomin, who went missing in protests in Cairo, Egypt, has been released, Google says. <- lol spelling #jan25

Feb 6 RT “@FaithCNN: Christians, Muslims hold hands in Cairo, some holding up crosses and Korans #Egypt #Jan25 #tahrir #mubarak”

Feb 5 RT “@HaninSh: RETWEET if you believe that Twitter is a better news source than other media channels! :) #Jan25 #Egypt #World”

Feb 4 I'll be at work till 6 can't update cuz I work with kids can't use iPhone. Tweet me updates so I can read later plz #jan25
Feb 4 i have never everrr been this exhausting and sleepless. i cant imagine what those living in egypt and protesting are feeling. #jan25 respct
Feb 4 :( #jan25
Feb 4 is proud to walk like an egyptian #jan25 #tahrir
Feb 4 I'd love to show a large crema pie in Mubarak's face just about now #Jan25 #jan25 #egyot
Feb4 for anyone at #tahrir square today you are my hero. can i have your autograph? #jan25 #Jan25 #egypt #Tahrirsquare
Feb 3 Lol people on my FB telling protesters to go home. Man people these days thinking a revolution would be a piece of cake hahaha #jan25
Feb 3 Peter Bergen @CNN: I dont think the Muslim Brotherhood is dangerous at all #jan25
Feb 3 i love egypt. period. #jan25 #feb1 #egypt
Feb 3 its time for me to sleep. hope i wake up to good news. send me updates. ill wake up early to catch up on updates. good night all #jan25

Feb 2 who else is mad?! i cant be the only one? why are people saying theyll wait 8 more months? why are people pro mubarak?# jan25 #feb1
Feb 2 a distant relative claimed that mubarak is a good man and shes furious that everyone is attacking him.we're not related anymore #jan25 #feb1
Feb2@BloggerSeif welcome back online we've all been tweeting and writing about u guys#jan25
Feb1 My uncle is at tahrir square and my cousins too! #jan25 #feb1'

Jan31 I love u Egyptian and non Egyptian tweeps out there tweeting updates and support. Power to the people #jan25

Jan 30 Running on 3 hrs of sleep and it's not exam week it's revolution week #jan25 #egypt

Jan 29#jan25 so proud of egyptians and non-egyptians all over the world protesting injustice and corruption in #Egypt

Jan 28 Cairo and Egyptian are trending
Jan 28 Hopw u had nightmares all night mubarak you've kept thousands of sleepless for years #jan25 #Egypt
Jan 28 It's 1 15 am should get some sleep #jan25
Jan 28 keep #Jan25 trending! The world needs to know the illegal crimes committed by Mubarak
Jan 28 Silence is a crime #jan25
Jan 28Tawaqalt gala Allah #jan25
Jan 28 #jan25 here we come

Jan 27 I rarely curse, but I have cursed these past couple of days, and here it goes again damn you to hell Mubarak. You're a piece of shit. #jan25
Jan 27 i just tweeted khloe kardashion about the revolution in egypt when she asked whats going on today hehe. #jan25

Jan 25 My moms so cute she called me and told if we were in Egypt on this day she would have joined the protesters #jan25 #Egypt

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Female Sahaba Riding Camels/Horses

Mona Al-Sharif was detained in Saudi Arabia for driving and encouraging other women to drive by posting a video on YouTube and Facebook. She was released later. Read more about it here

For your information, "Religious" Saudi Arabia rulers, female sahaba, including the Prophet Muhammad's wife drove a camel.

Al-Bukhari reported from Abi Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said:

“نِسَاءُ قُرَيْشٍ خَيْرُ نِسَاءٍ رَكِبْنَ الْإِبِلَ أَحْنَاهُ عَلَى طِفْلٍ وَأَرْعَاهُ عَلَى زَوْجٍ فِي ذَاتِ يَدِهِ“

“The women of Quraish are the best women who rode camels, they are most kind with their children and most caring for their husband’s wealth.”


Muslim reported from Shuraih ibn Hani’ that ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) rode a camel, and it was somewhat defiant, so she kept on beating it, and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said to her,

“عَلَيْكِ بِالرِّفْقِ.”

“Adhere to gentleness.”

Camels and horses during that time was a means of transportation = driving cars these days.

So Saudi Arabian kings, change your preposterous laws and give women their rights back -- rights originally given to them by Islam.

For people who want more proof on this hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad), other rulings:


Flying Hijab(less)

I travel a lot. I used to always travel from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport when I lived in the Midwest. Occasionally I would have to do an extra pat-down, but once I didn't even beep, and was told to sit down so I would be extra searched. So I told the security guy, why though? I didn't beep. And he let me go! That's how it's supposed to be. Racial profiling sucks. Traveling out of South Carolina is even worse because there are only a handful of Muslims and/or Arabs here. Every time I travel from here I get to be extra searched, pat down, and do that PETN search (where they have you run your own hand on your scarf, then hold your hand out to the officer, and they take the sample from your hand and screen it).
One time traveling out from here I had to be searched for a total of 25 minutes- I barely made it to my flight. Pissed me off.

I didn't even sound when I went through security (I wear minimal jewelery when traveling, take off my watch, etc). But they told me I had to step aside for extra searching for wearing 'bulky clothing.' (O_o) So I had them do a pat down and the PETN search. The lady came back and said they would have to do extra search and I had to take my scarf off (gave me the option to take it off in public or in a tiny room). I kept telling them I was going to be late to my flight and I don't understand why I had to be extra searched. The lady came up wit ha theory that it might be because I had just washed my hair and put conditioner on it (O_o). After taking off my scarf and all that fun stuff, she apologized for any inconvenience and I ran to make my flight. Thankfully I did.

But think about it. You didn't sound. You were just like all the other people who went through the security and didn't sound. But you, since you are wearing "bulky" (what the hell does that mean anyway? I thought you were supposed to travel wearing loose fitting clothing to be comfortable?) you had to be searched for an extra 25 minutes, be escorted to a private room while all the people behind you in line are freaking out and praying that they don't end up on my flight.

So a couple weeks after I put a beret over my hijab and tried to hide my hijab as much as possible and wrapped the hijab ends as a scarf on my neck. I felt like a normal person! No odd stares, security was a breeze, no extra screening, and people didn't have that "please don't have her sit next to me" look on their face when I set foot on the plane. I felt like a real life American (not to mention my facial featured really helped-fare skin, light eyes, so I looked 100% Caucasian). I felt like I finally fit in. At the boarding gate there was a Muslim hijabie (which is very odd, since I had never seen a Hijabie at that airport before while traveling). I said salamu alaikum and she seemed surprised. At that moment I felt ashamed that I was covering my hijab because the other lady was the one who was being started at but she looked confident nevertheless. I still wanted to complete my experiment though and I took off the beret on the second flight to San Francisco where I was sitting next to another hijabi on the flight and told her all about my experiment.

After that experiment, I realized that fitting by being someone else did not necessarily make you happy. I have always heard the phrases "be your self, you don't have to fit in, be original, etc." I finally understood those words. I realized that wearing the hijab was being myself, and covering it up with a cute little beret was disguising who I really was. It was fun and relieving though to feel like I was really part of the American culture, although I have always considered myself an Arab-American, that one time I felt that others accepted me because ... I simply blended in.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hijab and Southern Hospitality

I had originally written this piece for my university's newspaper but since they have't updated their website in a month, I doubt this will be posted. So here it is!

I moved to South Carolina last summer from Ohio for graduate school. I moved a lot growing up: New Jersey, North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. For the most part, I grew up in diverse communities and was always taught to never treat anyone less differently regardless of the color of their skin or how they looked. I had green eyes, dark hair, fair skin, so I fit in pretty well throughout elementary and middle school. I chose to wear the hijab (headscarf) in high school because how I perceived it; it was a way of being modest and not conforming to society’s elucidation of what a woman should or should not wear. I wore hijab solely for the sake of God. After all, Mary was always depicted wearing a head covering and nuns cover their hair as well, so fitting in would be a breeze. And it was—for the most part. Living in the Midwest and being an Egyptian-American myself, there was a plethora of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, so overall it wasn’t an anomaly to see a lady covering her hair. People just moved on with their lives and accepted the uniqueness. Of course there were always a minority of people who expressed their hatred feelings out loud, whether it was by giving me the middle finger as I was driving along minding my own business, or someone yelling “go back home.” It was bound to happen after the horrendous acts of people who “claimed” to be Muslims when they distorted the image of real Muslims on Sept. 11, and when my religion was hijacked. But even ten years later, today, Muslims are still targets of hatred and many people are still unfortunately xenophobic; just Google Peter King hearings, Hate comes to Orange County, Muslim child hung in bathroom, and Murfreesboro Tennessee Mosque.

Moving to South Carolina from Ohio was a culture shock. Not only was I blown away by the remarkable southern accent, but it was difficult to fathom that I wouldn’t wear boots and winter coats for 5 months (it snowed last week in Ohio. Yes on April 18). I have also been subjected to labels, comments, stares, and online hate comments (someone responded to me by saying the following on a local news article posting: “Just keep your sharia law in dump countries like Afghanistan and Somalia. I happen to like pork and alcohol and being Christian.”)

I never knew that covering one’s hair would be such a fuss here. I mean, people wear hats all the time, right? I have met some of the friendliest people here in my work places and classes. Their kindness and tolerance really defines southern hospitality and I truly appreciate it; so thank you coworkers and classmates you truly defined true southern hospitality for me. I have also heard some rather peculiar comments, such as “why is your English so good” (which I reply, thanks yours is too) “do you have hair” “where are you from” “why do you wear that” “are you hot in that.” So I will answer them all here to clear up any misconceptions. My English is “good” because I was raised bilingual-I grew up speaking Arabic at home and learned English at school. I also majored in English literature and journalism as an undergrad, so I am slightly obsessed with writing and reading. Yes, I have hair and yes I have ears (a little kid told me I couldn’t hear her because I didn’t have ears a couple weeks ago—too cute). The next two questions, I answered them in the first paragraph. As for the “am I hot in that,” well obviously I will not wear a sweater and boots in the spring and summer here – I don’t miss Ohio that much. I like to think of the light cardigans, hijab and maxi dresses I wear in the summer kind of like sun screen. Most likely, if you are feeling hot, then I am too and it’s not the end of the world; I chose to wear a hijab, and I love it, so please don’t look at me with pity. I love living in SC.

If I didn’t answer your burning questions in this piece, feel free to contact me or stop me in the street to chat. And remember, as I learned in one of my first classes here, America is no longer a melting pot—we’re not going merge into one bowl and overlook our individuality. Rather we are a huge salad bowl: we have our difference, but we are multifarious and work together with unique backgrounds and cultures to contribute to society. Befriending people from different backgrounds, cultures, race and religions undoubtedly helps dispel negative stereotypes and xenophobia you see every day and hear about in the media; so let’s spice up the status quo!

So original: My first post!

I always fail at blogging. I think I made a blog when I was in high school and wrote about my awesome vacations in Egypt. Then I made another blog one time about current issues. Then I made another blog about my random thoughts. The only blog I actually update is which is more of a professional site where I have any articles I have written over the past couple of years, being a freelance journalist and all. So this blog, hopefully it will not fail, will be about experiences I have faced that I think might interest others. Or just so I can write then and not forget about them.

P.S. I love the name I came up with for this blog. Creative, isn't it, ya'll?