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Was 2016 the landmark year for Muslim fashion?

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Models present creations by Indonesian Muslim designer Anniesa Hasibuan during Jakarta Fashion Week, in Jakarta, on October 28, 2016. (AFP)
From France’s burkini furore to New York Fashion Week’s first-ever show featuring a hijab as part of every look, Muslim fashion has captured Western headlines this year, as modest fashion becomes arguably more mainstream than ever in many parts of Europe and North America.
Last weekend, 19-year-old Halima Aden caught the fashion world’s attention when she became the first Miss Minnesota USA competitor to sport a hijab and a burkini during the pageant. The Somali-American teenager opted to stay covered for the competition’s swimsuit category and kept her hair under wraps for all other rounds of the event, with the support of its organizers, reported local news channel Kare 11.
This week she took to Instagram to celebrate the milestone, with a message that included the statement: “Beauty isn’t a one size fits all. We need to celebrate everyone and welcome those who are different than us.”

Aden isn’t the first woman to push this particular boundary — and it looks like the fashion industry might finally be taking note. Following the widespread outrage following some French cities’ creation of a short-lived ‘burkini ban’ this summer, 2016 has seen several proactive ‘modest fashion’ moments.
Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan set the tone in September when her New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017 catwalk show hit the headlines for exclusively featuring hijab-clad models, dressed elegantly in trousers, tunics and long-sleeved dresses.
Then in November, Muslim beauty blogger Nura Afia was unveiled as the star of cosmetic giant CoverGirl’s latest commercial. The YouTube sensation was recruited by the makeup brand, which has developed a reputation for championing diversity via its models and ambassadors, to front the campaign for its new ‘So Lashy! BlastPro’ mascara, which launched on November 1.
“I’m so excited to be a part of CoverGirl’s new campaign,” Afia said at the time. “It feels so surreal. Honestly, growing up and being insecure about wearing the hijab I never thought I would see Muslim women represented on such a large scale.”
The strongest message came at the very beginning of 2016, in January, when Dolce & Gabbana announced plans to launch its ‘Abaya Collection’. Aimed at clients in the Middle East, the collection featured the Italian house’s signature bold prints, alongside lace-trimmed hemlines and a dash of jewelled embellishment, ensuring that the lightweight pieces radiate glamour while remaining conservative in structure.

Columbus Mosque Focuses on Online Extremism, Radicalization After Ohio Attack

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Monday December 5, 2016

Worshippers at the West Columbus Abubakar Assidiq Islamic Center, Ohio, Friday, Dec 2, 2016.

COLUMBUS, OHIO — Friday’s sermon at the largest Somali-run mosque in Columbus, Ohio, has focused on online extremism, radicalization and the relationship between Somali parents and their children in response to the recent Ohio State University attacks.

“We chose our Friday sermon this week to address issues that concern our community, the challenges they are facing as a result of the recent tragedy, and the root cause of that tragedy.” said Horsed Nooh, the executive director at the West Columbus Abubakar Assidiq Islamic Center.

“In my humble opinion, I believe one of the major factors that make our children and youth susceptible to extremism and radicalization is lack of communication between them and their parents," said Nooh.
Nooh said it was a message to a community that remains fearful and cautious about a possible backlash after a car and knife attack on the campus of The Ohio State University carried out by an 18-year-old student, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who was associated with the community. Artan was killed by a police officer after 11 people were injured.

“Ninety percent of the youth are radicalized while on their beds,” Nooh told his congregation - which totals more than 2,000 people. “It's time for parents to stand up and have communication with their children."
He said the Mosque is spearheading efforts to eradicate the perception that Islam is a violent or extreme religion by offering question and answer inter-faith sessions.

“The mosque has been focusing to develop youth counseling and volunteer programs and we have already started Q and A sessions offered to the people of other faiths to come and ask us directly questions on Islam, rather than relying on the media and the misinterpretations of the extremists,” Nooh said.

Mohamed Omar Dini, who is the head of the board that runs the Mosque and the Islamic Center said the Ohio State attack left his community and the center shocked and cautious.
“The first time we got the news we said, ’O Allah don’t make the attacker Muslim and Somali. It was kind of shocking to us because this community has been living in the city for more than 25 years and there was no single attack associated with them before,” Dini said. “Our center has offered prayers to the victims in the attack and thanked the law enforcement agencies for their professional way of handling the case.”

Friday’s sermon was the first at the mosque since The Ohio State University attack last Monday. The mosque authority’s strong message to parents was to build a sort of positive communication, relationship, and trust with their kids so that they could predict the path their children are taking before they fall into the wrong hands.

Eastleighwood to hold Somali Cultural Day themed “Unique community, unique culture” in Nairobi.

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Posted by NepJournal
Date: November 20, 2016
By Adow Mohamed:
A youth organization is set to hold a Somali Cultural Day at Nairobi’s liberty shopping Center near Pangani Police station on Saturday November 26, 2016.
Organized by Eastleighwood, the event is expected to bring together Somali cultural dancers, religious leaders, community leaders, government officials and among other voices who will be making speeches and presentations.
There will be a food tent showcasing Somali cuisine, a video tent, Open dance workshops among other activities aimed to exhibit the rich Somali Cultural heritage.
The Cultural Day is intended to more importantly denounce the negative perceptions that other communities have about the Somali community.
Eastleighwood Youth Forum has strived in safeguarding and promoting profound issues of Somalia Culture through various interventions.
The organization is a youth-led non-profit which has been working in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area to empower and nurture the talents of youths through social platforms, arts, culture and community outreach programs (interactive Forums) as well as youth mentorship/training programs.
Executive Director of Eastleighwood Burhan Iman said they will showcase a number of activities that is going to be performed at the stage to entertain audience.
“The Products that will be Performed and exhibited include: Somali Cultural Dance, Somali music, Poetry, Video, food, Cultural artifacts among other items themed on issues of Inter ethnic Cohesion, Peace and harmony” he told Nep Journal.
Event sections/ actions
Eastleighwood has divided its events into three phases: the first phase starts with an open festival where all are invited at Liberty Shopping Centre grounds followed by a stakeholder forum targeting 100 community representatives at Grand Royal Hotel in Eastleigh.
The cultural day activities will then be shared on the different social media platforms those who will not be able to attend.
Participants and Targets;
The organization targets include:
100 Somali Youth Participating in Peer to Peer Influencing Action besides preparing and presenting Somali Cultural Products for the Somali Cultural Day.
500 Non Somali youths reached in peer to peer influencing action and also attending the Somali Cultural day.
2,000 Community members attending the Somali Cultural day.
50 Stakeholders to support and sustain the project.
Do you have something to add to this story? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

How Trump can help in fight to curb terrorism

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Sunday November 20, 2016

On Nov. 6, two days before his presidential election victory, Donald Trump spoke at rally at the Sun Country Airlines hangar at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. “Here in Minnesota, you can see firsthand with problems with … refugees,” he told his audience.

Donald Trump spent some of his last hours on the campaign trail in Minnesota, holding an airport rally just two days before the election. As thousands cheered him, the billionaire reality TV star harshly spotlighted a critical challenge this state faces: the recruitment of young Somali-Americans by terrorist organizations.

Trump’s remarks that Minnesota has “suffered enough” because of its Somali-American community rightly drew broad condemnation. Thousands of these new Minnesotans — the nation’s largest concentration of Somali-Americans — are entrepreneurs, students, promising political leaders and good neighbors working for a brighter future. That this community’s young people are considered prey by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a tragedy that should not result in sweeping judgment of all Somalis.

What the criticism of Trump’s inflammatory remarks missed was a serious error of omission. The man who is now president-elect failed to note that Minnesota is also at the leading edge of innovative efforts to prevent terrorist recruiting. These efforts, which are often referred to as Countering Violent Extremism, or CVE, take a preventive-­medicine approach to thwart recruiting by helping these new Americans put down roots in their new homeland. It is imperative that the CVE mission move forward and grow under President Trump.
It’s too soon to determine CVE’s fate in the new administration, though the sentencing last week of nine ISIL recruits from Minnesota should spur the state’s congressional delegation to publicly press the case for CVE. Whomever Trump appoints in the next few weeks as the new Department of Homeland Security head must champion CVE efforts or the program will wither, a development with troubling consequences for national security. Antiterrorism efforts must include many strategies, not just rely on stopping terrorists at the airport.

The Obama administration began building the CVE program, but the work is far from finished. The new Trump administration has a chance to turn its rhetoric on national security into a reality by making CVE a priority and securing improved funding. A Star Tribune editorial series has repeatedly criticized the paltry $10 million a year in appropriations for youth program grants. These are a CVE cornerstone. In the Twin Cities, these grants have helped support efforts to get young people off social media and into academic and athletic activities.

This holistic approach to countering terrorism is supported by many in law enforcement. The current CVE approach also encourages local leaders to take the lead in tailoring community programs. That’s preferable to a top-down federal approach and also fits with the local-control philosophy that many Republicans embrace.
Republican Rep. Tom Emmer, who represents many Somali-Americans, merits praise for working with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger to ensure that all Minnesotans feel safe. Emmer, who endorsed Trump, is positioned to lead on CVE. He should join forces with Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, a strong CVE supporter who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, to forge bipartisan support to strengthen these important efforts.

Tanzanian scholar Nurdin Kishki holds Islamic lectures in Nairobi

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Hiiraan Online
Sunday November 13, 2016

The popular Tanzania scholar, Nurdin Kishki has been giving Islamic religious lectures in Nairobi Kenya.
An event in which the sheikh is giving the lectures scheduled 12-13th November and taking place at Sir Ali Muslim Club is being attended by many Muslims living in Nairobi. The topics include Marriage While Still Studying. 
Other topics are, Tribalism in Islam and Tolerance among Muslims as well as Living with Non-Muslims.  

Hiiraan Online reporter at the event says sub-topics include fear of Allah. 'He who is wise is the one who works on the betterment of his life in the Hereafter'. Sheikh Nurdin said.
The sheikh discussed how to practice doing good deeds and the importance of Islamic religious knowledge as well as evasion of one's self from unnecessary activities (maa laa ya'ni). 
Sheikh Nurdin is well known across east and central Africa regions.
Sheikh Nurdin carries out sensitization programs among the populations in East and Central Africa.
He travels to Mombasa, Nairobi and Darasalaam as well as other parts of these regions on Islmaic da'wah propagation tours.

5 facts about the global Somali diaspora

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Pew Research Center
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Somalia has faced lawlessness and strife during its decades-long civil war. As the country of 10.8 million continues to experience political and economic instability, its people are increasingly living outside of Somalia. New migrants are making their way to places like Europe, but they face a long and dangerous journey over land and sea. Hundreds of Somalis reportedly died in April 2016 while crossing the Mediterranean Sea and after crossing over land through Northern Africa. And as a result of its long civil war, many Somalis have lived outside the country for many years. Recently, though, Kenya pledged to remove Somalis living in refugee camps from within its borders, potentially sending hundreds of thousands of people back to Somalia who have not lived there for many years, or possibly elsewhere.
Here are five facts about the increasingly global Somali diaspora
1 - Between 1990 and 2015, the total number of people born in Somalia but living outside the country more than doubled, from about 850,000 to 2 million. The share of Somali migrants abroad grew 136% between 1990 and 2015, according to United Nations estimates. At the same time, the population of Somalia itself has grown less quickly at 71%, increasing from 6.3 million in 1990 to 10.8 million in 2015. (The global Somali diaspora includes all migrants, both refugees and other migrants.)
2 - The number of Somali refugees displaced by ongoing conflict continues to rise. In 1990, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees estimated that about 470,000 of the total Somali global diaspora (about 55%) was living in a temporary refugee situation. By 2014, that number had grown to 1.1 million – still about 55% of all Somalis living outside of Somalia. Even though refugee camps are meant to be temporary, some Somali refugees have lived in camps located in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia for decades.
3 - Almost two-thirds of the global Somali diaspora live in neighboring countries. At nearly half a million, Kenya hosts the largest number of Somali migrants (both refugees and nonrefugees) of any other country, according to UN estimates. Not far behind is Ethiopia with 440,000 Somali migrants. Combining Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen (across the Gulf of Aden), nearly two-thirds of the world’s Somali migrants lived in neighboring countries in 2015. At the same time, Somalis have become increasingly dispersed across the world. In 1990, an estimated 90% of Somali migrants lived in the four nations near Somalia, a share that dropped to 64% by 2015.
4 - An estimated 280,000 Somali immigrants live in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, largely due to a steady flow of asylum seekers. The EU, Norway and Switzerland are home to 14% of the world’s Somali migrant population. Since 2008, these countries have received nearly 140,000 asylum applications from Somalis, according to the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat. The annual flow of Somali asylum seekers has held relatively steady since this benchmark year, but their destination countries within Europe have changed. In 2015, Germany and Sweden received about half of these Somali asylum seekers. In earlier years, the Netherlands and Italy were more common destinations for Somali asylum seekers.
5 - The U.S. Somali immigrant community continues to grow. Estimates from the United Nations indicate that the total number living in the U.S. was around 2,500 in 1990, but had grown to between 140,000 and 150,000 by 2015. In all, the U.S. is home to about 7% of the world’s Somali migrant population. Between fiscal years 2001 and 2015, the U.S. admitted more than 90,000 refugees from Somalia, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. This refugee flow continues today, with nearly 9,000 refugees from Somalia entering the U.S. in fiscal 2015. The U.S. also approved 1,645 green cards in 2014 for Somalis sponsored by U.S. citizen immediate family members, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Journalists' union opposes Bill on media content

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Kenya Union of Journalist's Secretary-General Eric Oduor addresses reporters at Sentrim Hotel, Nakuru County, on November 6, 2016. KUJ opposed the Bill proposed by the Kenya Film Classification Board seeking to control media content. PHOTO | JOSEPH OPENDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

·         Eric Oduor, the body's secretary, said the Bill is regressive because it threatens media freedom, demanding its withdrawal.
·         The union's Labour Relations Secretary Mary Daraja said the clauses are malicious and aimed at interfering with the independence of the press.

The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) has objected to a proposed Bill by the Kenya Film Classification Board that seeks to control media content.
The Union, whose national governing council met in Nakuru County on Sunday, rejected the Films, Stage Plays and Publications Bill 2016.
Eric Oduor, the body's secretary, said the Bill is regressive because it threatens media freedom, demanding its withdrawal.
Further, Mr Oduor said media stakeholders were not consulted during drafting and that it contains severe clauses which need to be expunged.
"The proposed law, if passed in its current form, is a threat to the creativity industry and practice of journalism in this country, and will thus water down the milestones made in the freedom of the media," he said.
Some of the contentious issues include licensing of mobile phones used in taking photos, monitoring and licensing of weddings and private functions as well as filmmakers being assigned police officers when doing their work - the officers will have powers to stop or intervene when necessary.
Part Three of the proposal provides that every person engaged in the making of film: as a proprietor, producer, promoter, financier, actor or photographer, will be required to apply for a filming certificate.
The same section requires the presence of a police officer at the filming scene, giving him the authority to stop or intervene the activity whenever he/she deems it necessary.
Part Four of the draft Bill on Internet service providers requires that the exhibitors and distributors be registered before using Internet platforms and the content be classified before it is shared.
The union's Labour Relations Secretary Mary Daraja said the clauses are malicious and aimed at interfering with the independence of the press.
KUJ has also accused the Film board's Chairman Ezekiel Mutua of trying to "overstep his mandate by seeking powers to execute roles that belong to other government agencies".
Moreover, the council said the Bill gives KFCB powers to control circulation of content on social media, which is a mandate belonging to the Communication Authority, the Ministry of Information and
Communications and the Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government.
Thus the journalists’ body is calling for the reconstitution of the Board to have professionals run it.

It also wants the Board to convene forums with stakeholders to debate on the Bill in order to strike a deal on an acceptable law.