DISHONOURED: My cover story & final assignment at Journalism School

From April to November of 2012, my final months of studying journalism at Ryerson University, I was working on this story for the Ryerson Review of Journalism, a magazine circulated across Canada that tackles critical issues in national journalism. Last … Continue reading

Dear Pamela Geller…Muslim Cab Drivers Praying In Public is Not “Out of Line” or “Disruptive” to NYC Neighbourhoods

The headline of Pamela Geller’s latest blog post reads “Takbir! NYC Traffic Snarled By Muslim Cabbies Stopping To Pray.” Geller finds it upsetting that Muslim cab drivers park their yellow taxis on the sides of the roads, and pray on … Continue reading

All-Canadian Muslim: A Reality Show You Won’t Ever See On Television

TLC’s new reality show, “All-American Muslim,” has sparked lots of debate amongst the Muslim community in America. But in Canada, viewers failed to understand the hype and the controversy. Read my piece about Canadian’s’ reactions to the show, and their … Continue reading

21st Century Muslim Women are Defined by their Confidence on a Catwalk, According to Newsweek Magazine Article

As a journalism student struggling to find a balance between writing about two completely different  passions (fashion, and the Western perceptions of Islam), I often wondered if an opportunity would ever come to combine  both topics in one news article. … Continue reading

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