A cartoon by syndicated artist Sandy Huffaker offers a tongue-in-cheek "suggestion for Britney Spears" - namely that she convert to Islam. The cartoon's left panel, before her conversion, shows a woman in a bikini, legs and arms and hair flying as she sings. The right panel, after her conversion to Islam, shows an inert burqa-clad black lump.
It's perhaps not the most hilarious or subtle cartoon you've encountered, but it does make a point. Well, one reader, a certain Lamyaa Hashim, had an original response to the cartoon, one which she addressed directly to its author:
While you may or may not have meant your Britney Spears cartoon (before and after conversion to Islam cartoon) to be an insult to Islam or maybe to Britney - I, as a Muslima who observes Islamic dress by choice, liked the cartoon. You did call it a message to her - and I think that the message was a correct one - for our Islamic dress gives us respect and dignity. In Islam, the woman is not on display for merchandising - she is a thinking and valuable part of the human race who should not lower and disgrace herself by putting her worth into enhanced sexual features and movements as eye candy for those who have no interest in her worth as a human being nor her soul. So, thank you for that cartoon. It really brightened my day!
And who, one might wonder, is this Lamyaa Hashim who would burqa America's beauties? The answer, provided by Joe Kaufman in a May 2003 article at FrontPageMag.com, is an unsettling one:
Lamyaa Hashim, or Um Ahmad as she often goes by, is a well known Islamic poet. Her poetry, including one poem which seems to be about a suicide bomber (‘My Beloved Left for Palestine'), can be seen on such radical sites as palestine4ever.net. The site belongs to the medical director for the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund, Rosemary Davis (Shadya Hantouli), and features a picture gallery of past suicide bombers. Hashim gave permission to put her poetry on the site.
You can also access more of Hashim's poetry on her personal website, ‘Struggle in Palestine,' which contains on its homepage a picture of someone burning an effigy that says on his (the effigy's) chest, "WAR IS HELL, BUSH IS SATAN." In addition, there is a link on her site to an organization associated with the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a link to a site praising Abdullah Azzam, the founder of the organization that became Al Qaida.
Lamyaa Hashim is also important, because she ran a Deerfield Beach, Florida charity called the Health Resource Center for Palestine (HRCP), which as of late has closed down.
The moral of this tale? That the distance between endorsing burqas and endorsing suicide bombers is closer than one might wish. (January 18, 2004)