Journalists compare Al-Qaeda women’s magazine to Cosmo

Al-Shamikha magazine, "Al-Qaeda's Cosmo for women"

Al-Qaeda released an extremist women’s magazine on Sunday, and for the past two days, the media has been obsessed with drawing comparisons between it and Cosmopolitan Magazine. The 31-page publication titled Al-Shamikha Magazine (The Majestic Woman) was written with the objective to coerce women into following fundamentalist Islamic principles, and support pro-terrorist activities.

Cosmo on the other hand is the polar opposite—a magazine that targets modern women’s interests in sex, fashion, beauty and entertainment.

The two were linked due to a comment made by James Brandon, a spokesman for Quilliam, an “anti-Islamic extremism” London-based organization. He told the Sunday Times that Al-Qaeda leaders “see how effective magazines are at pushing the ideals of Western culture and want to try the same thing…As a result they have come up with a jihadist’s version of Cosmopolitan magazine.”

Since then, bloggers in addition to news organizations worldwide have exploited the witty analogy in their headlines for the story. “Al-Qaeda magazine offers tips on how to look good before you blow yourself up” reads the National Post headline.

While news publications both online and in print have taken the Cosmo lead into the story, its underlying issues are buried under comical jargon about “how to score a mujahideen,” “interviews with the wives of martyrs,” “keeping clear complexions by avoiding the sun and staying indoors”  and “preparing your children to fight for jihad.”

There are a million miles between the West and corners of the world where Al-Qaeda-type thinking dominates society, and belittling a news story like this by Cosmo-fying it will provide little help in bridging that distance. Perhaps the media should give more attention to reporting on Muslim women’s reactions to the magazine, its readership, process of distribution and ways to counter this viral way of spreading extremist pro-terrorism ideals, rather than focussing on Cosmo catch phrases to sell the story.

Sources: The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Fox News

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