Muslim Girl is a new kind of magazine. It's targeted for Muslim American teens and twenty-somethings.
There's a variety of women of color. And it isn't just on one or two pages or limited to an Autumn photo spread. Ethnic diversity is throughout the pages, beginning, middle and end. Girls from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and all over the world. Women with brown skin, tan skin, white skin and everything in between. It's more than I've ever seen in any other American magazine like Vogue, Cosmopolitan or Seventeen.
Why aren't Christian magazines this committed to being diverse on a regular basis? It baffles me.
I especially like the fashion section where they give girls tips on how to be trendy yet conservative. I'm a big fan of scarfs and the array of all those dazzling fabrics sends my eyes on a trip down the yellow brick road. They're beautiful. I think hijabs are pretty cool, they can really accent a woman's face in a stunning way. Do I want to wear one every day? No. Do I think all women should be forced to wear them? No way! And not all Muslim women do. There's a good mix of articles and photos that display that.
I'll let you in on a little secret about me, every once in a while I pull out my collection of scarfs and put together a make-shift hijab. I'm just different like that. But what I've really wanted to do for years is go to the same stores where Muslim women buy their scarfs from and get some myself.
One thing I learned from reading through Muslim Girl is that they have a similar passion for their faith and their god just like I have a passion for my faith and my God. And for that, they have my respect and understanding. I know what it's like for the media to daily misrepresent your religion in the news and for people to stereotype you for the color of your skin. And I know that if I wore my scarf on my head out in public that people would look at me strange, like I might be a terrorist. I'd still be a Christian because I know that no piece of clothing can define your faith. Faith is so much more than what you wear. It's what you wear on the inside that counts. But that wouldn't stop their opinions.
One of my favorite scriptures is this:
If you're a Christian (especially a Christian woman) I encourage you to visit your local Barnes & Noble and to browse through Muslim Girl. Look at their faces, read their stories, consider their hopes and dreams and realize that these are real people, just like you. Muslims are not our enemies. Evil is our enemy. Sin is our enemy. Greed. Hate. Apathy. Lust. Those are true our enemies. And the devil is behind it all.
Pray for Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa, Indian, Palestine, Israel and other countries war torn and troubled. Pray for the U.S. - (God knows our society needs it with all the mess we've got going on within our borders).
We all need Jesus. Plain and simple. There's no other person, being and God like Him. Mention His name in any part of the world and the vibe of the room will change. No other name can evoke such emotion, whether love or hate. His name is full of power and grace. Sure, Christians throughout history have abused His name with things like slavery, racism, and bloody crusades. They were probably more interested in getting power for themselves instead of sharing grace with others. And for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that my brothers and sisters in the Christian faith have let people down and did things wrong and built a legacy that still leaves people with scars. And I'm sorry for missteps. For the times when I was too caught up in what I wanted instead of being focused on what I should be giving. We Christians have many moments where look back on the deeds of our lives ashamed by our behavior. But the good news is that God is bigger than our shame. He is able to work through our feebleness and do amazing things!
Just think about Mother Theresa and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Both Christian, both had their weak moments but look what they did! And there are countless versions of people like Mother Theresa and Dr. King, that work behind the scenes, not getting the glory like they did but yet still feeding the hungry, reaching out to poor and rallying for the underdogs in society. People like Shelley Lubben, Annie Lobert and Craig Gross who reach out to porn stars and prostitutes. People like Cynthia Bauer who minister to children with disabilities in Africa. And people like those at Starlight Ministries and The Dream Center who reach out to homeless youth.
Once again, Muslims aren't our enemies. They're not confined to the hostile stereotypes that are portrayed on the nightly news and on the covers of Time and Newsweek. And when some of them do violent acts in the name of Allah (keyword: some), Jesus tells us to love them anyway. Now that's some wild stuff. No wonder Jesus' name radiates such power. There's power in love. And as the Bible says, "God is love."
Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading Muslim Girl as much I do.