Bismillah ar-rahman ar-raheem.
My name is Anh-My.
My Islamic name is Muminah.
I am a revert to Islam, masha Allah.
Hey! Asking a question doesn’t make you sound stupid at all, it’s quite the contrary actually since you’re willing on learning. Okay I’ll explain it all to you.
These [ 1 , 2 ] are the urban outfitters posts in question.
The pattern/style used on these clothing items that Urban Outfitters is selling is actually from a Palestinian solidarity scarf know as a Keffiyeh/Kuffiyeh/hatta. The pattern and scarf are universally recognized and worn amongst the Arab and Muslim world collectively, however it’s symbolic to the cause of Palestinian resistance. In the 1930s the Palestinians revolted against the British Mandate of Palestine and Zionist militias in Palestine, many of them had worn the scarf in order to hide their identity or show their support. Thus it had become a s symbol of resistance. To wear it meant that it was worn in solidarity. In the 1960s, the keffiyeh became even more recognized as a form of Palestinian solidarity when the leader of the PLO Yasser Arafat had worn it, amongst other Palestinian leaders and freedom fighters. Ranging from faceless stone throwers in the intifadas, to the female freedom fighter of the PFLP, Leila Khaled.
As you can see there are years of history behind the Keffiyeh. Not only is it something that belongs to our culture, it’s also something we cling to culturally and symbolically in order to collectively resist our oppressors the settler colonial state of Israel and the illegal inhumane occupation.
There is certainly no monopoly on the Keffiyeh in terms of wearing it in the arab/muslim world, because it is worn for simply cultural/religious reasons alone by some people who wear it on their heads, but when worn around the neck it is usually a symbol of solidarity.
Regardless, it is mainly well known in the middle east and mostly recognized as a Palestinian solidarity symbol. However it has been regularly bashed and labeled by western society as a “terrorist scarf” which insinuates that those who wear it (Palestinian supporters) are akin to supporting terrorism, which simply isn’t the case.
We are given dirty looks when we wear these items and we are accused of spreading hatred or even being terrorists ourselves when we wear these scarves. Instead of recognizing that we wear those to support the Palestinians who were uprooted and expelled from their homes, and Palestinians that continue to struggle to this very day of apartheid, siege, blockade, and countless instances of human rights violations, we are simply vilified using one extreme word that our movement continuously suffers from ‘terrorist’.
Western media has continuously labeled it as ‘violent’ and use words like Jihad, islamist, hamas, and terrorist to describe something that’s very important to us.
In recent years the Keffiyeh has gained a lot of attention in the fashion world, it became worldwide phenomenon for many people to wear it. It was sold all over the world mainly being imported from China and people were wearing it for ‘fashion’ as opposed to recognizing it for the symbol it carries, and the struggles it has been through.
Often when Muslims and Arabs express their solidarity by wearing a keffiyeh we are berated and denounced as violent people, but when westerners wear it they are simply chic, hipster, and edgy, and even fashion forward. Most don’t even know what it means and can easily discard it when it’s not in season anymore while we live with it our entire lives.
The worst part of all of this is that this sudden popularity of the scarf had not benefited Palestinians in any way.
There is literally only one Keffiyeh factory left in Palestine located in Hebron (Khalil) known as the ‘Herbawi factory’ and they made no profit off of this whatsoever. They struggle to stay open while most stores purchase their keffiyehs from china at a cheap price and re-sell it at a huge percentage markup.
It’s a slap in the face to actual Palestinian Keffiyeh makers who are struggling to keep their business alive. They sell it at a much lower price and are the original makers of this item, yet they are being outsold by stores who do not care about the Palestinian resistance, and often even criticize it.
It would be an abomination to attempt to sell this shirt for $115 in Palestine, they will ask you if it’s laced with gold. $115 is equal to over 400 Palestinian shekels when a scarf is usually sold for around 20 shekels or less making it simply 5 dollars. But although the price is much more fair on the Palestinian end, and its original, they are the ones struggling to survive meanwhile companies that do not care about the Palestinian cause, and often donate to Israel that continuously kills Palestinians and violates their human rights are profiting off of something that is important to us, while we get nothing.
This cultural appropriation angered me especially as a Palestinian when the whole keffieyah phenomena was occurring. At first I was excited because I was younger and I actually believed people wanted to know the meaning of what they were wearing. I thought many people would be introduced to the Palestinian side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and side with the Palestinians and use the Keffiyeh to raise awareness. I was wrong of course. It was simply another fashion trend wich people followed because It was in style. It felt like a mockery to see my solidarity staple donned around the necks of so many people who didn’t even acknowledge the Palestinian struggle. The sentimental value was being ripped to shreds when every store carried it in different styles and colors.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against cultural exchange or allowing non-palestinians to show solidarity. If you’re familiar with the conflict and are in solidarity with the Palestinians you have every right to buy it, wear it, and flaunt it. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with any people of any race, nationality, or ethnicity wearing anything representing Palestine as long as you support the Palestinian cause. I would also heavily suggest that you try your hardest to purchase these things from companies that actually benefit Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.
It’s not cultural appropriation it’s a symbol of resistance if you wear it the right way.
And I would encourage all of you to signify your support physically through such items as long as your stance is to support Palestinians.
Wear the keffiyeh and a Palestinian bracelet in your everyday wardrobe if you’re prepared to answer questions about it
If you’re doing it because you stand with palestine
If you’re doing it because you care
And if you truly support palestine and want to raise awareness.
Most, if not all palestinians I know including myself have no objection to anyone representing Palestine as long as they know what they’re representing and they believe in it. I actually love it when people wear things to represent Palestine because it keeps the country alive and keeps people informed. I always get really happy when I see non-palestinians, non-arabs, and Non-muslims wearing things to represent Palestine because it means our message is spreading and I find it to be pretty awesome :)
I think it’s completely fine and actually encouraged to wear a keffiyeh but only if you support the Palestinian cause and understand it and also purchase it from an actual Palestinian to benefit Palestine and not just any random online store, so it could actually go to benefiting Palestinians as opposed to putting them out of business. If you’re interested in supporting us, check out these sites.
Your opinions on Palestine as an independent state and as a rallying cause are (imo) fairly irrelevant to the discussion above compared to the cultural ignorance and appropriation that the keffiyeh is but one example of.
Pretty sure it’s relevant. *hint* I’m Palestinian. Therefore if all this stuff means something to me and other Palestinians as Palestinians and we tie it to the keffiyeh then I’m pretty sure we know what we’re talking about. Keffiyeh is not a symbol of resistance without the occupation.
1) I was a vegetarian for 7 years until my husband really convinced me to start eating meat again in concern that I’m underweight…….
2) ….Which is true….. I’m about 10 pounds underweight and am naturally skinny to begin with. Though I get my 2,000 daily calories and eat a lot I still cannot gain weight and cannot figure out why. So I guess starting eating meat again didn’t work? And no, I’m not anorexic.
3) Practically everything about me is sensitive. I am sensitive to noise, have a sensitive stomach, sensitive feelings, sensitive teeth, as well as being sensitive and very empathetic to others emotions.
4) I reverted to Islam in 2007. What started out in learning about religion solely intellectually, I started to investigate into Islam and the more I learned, it appealed to me spiritually and couldn’t uproot it from my heart no matter how hard I tried. So I gave in. I reverted. And it was the best decision of my life, masha Allah!!! Oh, and I have been wearing the hijab since 2010.
5) I am bi-racial with Vietnamese and Chinese on one side of my family and British, Hungarian and German/Jewish on the other side.
6) I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in New York, Pennsylvania (where I lived on a farm for 2 years) and Ohio.
7) I got married to a Muslim brother earlier this year. He is a revert to Islam like I am, alhamdulilah!!!!!
8) I have a great aunt on my mother’s side who was a passenger on the Titanic and survived. Her name was Anna Sophia Turju and she was a passenger on the ship when she was 18 years old.
9) When I was a child, I was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism, in which I did not talk in school or to people out side of my family from 2nd to 8th grade. It took a lot of psychiatric intervention as a child to deal with my anxiety in a healthy way. I still have a degree of anxiety to this day that I deal with.
10) I have read all 37 Shakespeare plays. My favorite Shakespeare plays are King Lear and The Tempest.
You are beautiful. Your beauty, just like your capacity for life, happiness, and success, is immeasurable. Day after day, countless people across the globe get on a scale in search of validation of beauty and social acceptance.
Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.
It’s true, the scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love. Don’t give the scale more power than it has earned. Take note of the number, then get off the scale and live your life. You are beautiful!”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free