Religious Diversity News

Showing all news articles with tradition Islam AND in metro area Boston.

New England art exhibition shows another side of American Muslims

Next week, the Massachusetts State House in Boston will house a collection of artwork by 24 Muslim artists from the Midwest to Massachusetts.

The artwork is part of the annual art series “More Than My Religion,” now in its fifth year, a project organized by New England Muslim artists to reflect American Muslims’ multifaceted identities beyond their religious practice.

“We’re focusing on American Muslims because their narrative has been the most hijacked,” said organizer Irum Haque, a pastel artist in Westford, Massachusetts. “We want to reclaim who we are and tell our own real stories. And every art piece that hangs in the exhibition is the story of a human life as American Muslim citizens.”

Source: New England art exhibition shows another side of American Muslims – Religion News Service

In The Wake Of Recent Attacks, Boston’s Jewish And Muslim Communities Connect In Solidarity

On Massachusetts’ third annual Open Mosque Day on Sunday, 18 mosques across the commonwealth opened their doors to the larger public as members answered questions and gave their neighbors a chance to get to know their local Muslim community. After prayer and a video presentation, Kashif Syed, who represents the outreach team at the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, opened the floor for questions. One woman raised her hand to ask about oppression: “How does your community deal with that?” “We put ou

Source: In The Wake Of Recent Attacks, Boston’s Jewish And Muslim Communities Connect In Solidarity

Massachusetts Gets Its First Hair Salon Designed For Muslim Women

For most people, going to a beauty salon and getting a haircut is routine. But for Muslim women in Massachusetts who cover their hair for religious reasons, it can be a real challenge. At a traditional hair salon, they risk men seeing them without their headscarves on.

But that is now changing. Massachusetts’ first salon and spa established specifically for Muslim women opened on Monday.

Shamso Ahmed is the woman behind the new business. She says she’s been dreaming about this since she was a young girl.

At the age of 10, Shamso Ahmed fled the civil war in Somalia and arrived in Boston with her family. Two years later, she started wearing a hijab, a Muslim head covering, and that’s when she came up with the idea of opening a salon.

“I envisioned this huge, big salon that had all the services you could think of,” remembered Ahmed. She wanted a place where “women felt safe.”

Now, some two decades later, Ahmed has a degree in accounting and training in cosmetology. And she has a salon. While it’s not huge, the storefront on the Roxbury-South End line is decked out.

“I am in love with chandeliers,” said Ahmed as she walked through the space on its first day open to the public.

In a neighborhood peppered with beauty shops, what makes Shamso Hair Studio and Spa unique is not the silver and black décor — or even the henna body art or the hammam steam spa — it is who is allowed in and who is not.

Ahmed says the space is carefully designed to be female-only. At the door there’s a camera and a code required. The windows are frosted so people walking past can’t see in.

For Muslim women who wear hijabs, Ahmed says it’s long been hard to find a place to get your hair done.

“That has been the biggest challenge,” Ahmed said. She said some women go to a salon and befriend a stylist, asking them to come to their home. Others ask to go to a salon after it’s closed for the day or they get their hair done in a backroom. Still others rely on female relatives.

When Ahmed isn’t working on her other business, a translation service, she has often worked as a stylist going from house to house. Now, Ahmed is hoping her clients and others will come to her salon — any time of day, no backroom necessary.

Ahmed said there’s been a lot of enthusiasm in the Muslim community, and people came from other states just to attend the opening. “Maine, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire,” she ticked off the places. “Some of them came from Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, D.C.”

And some, like Koldia Shah, have come from just down the street. She is checking out the new space on behalf of her daughters, ages 7 and 9. She said when they start covering their hair, this will be really nice.

Shah said she likes that her daughters will “not feel like they have to scavenge around all over Boston to just do something nice for themselves.”

Right now, Shah cuts her own hair, and said she’s not sure how she would feel about taking her hijab off outside the house.

“What if a woman doesn’t even want to sit with other women?” Shah asked Ahmed.

Ahmed said she hadn’t thought of that, but assured Shah that they “would arrange something.”

Shah admitted she’s a bit old-school. She said it would not only be an adjustment to take her hijab off, but it would also be strange to pay for something she’s long taken care of at home.

However, the younger generation doesn’t seem worried.

“Couldn’t wait,” said Farhia Ali, who is part of the Somali Muslim community. “A place to go my day off to just relax and do something. It’s really hard to find [a place] for us as Muslim women in Boston where we can just go and get pampered and get our nails done and someone actually understands what we want. This will be the place.”

Ahmed can’t say exactly how many women her salon might serve, but she said several hundred people came out to attend her launch party.

For Ahmed, this isn’t just a childhood dream she’s fulfilling. She said she’s also living out her mother’s dream, who owned a small business in Somalia before war broke out. And, she said, she’s following her religious role model.

“The prophet Muhammad — peace be upon him — his wife, Khadijah, was a very powerful businesswoman, and she encouraged others to follow her footsteps,” Ahmed said.

Boston Launches Anti-Islamophobia Poster Campaign : The Two-Way : NPR

The city of Boston is launching a poster campaign to fight Islamophobia by encouraging bystanders to intervene, in a nonconfrontational way, if they witness anti-Muslim harassment.

Starting Monday, the city began installing 50 posters around the city with advice on what to do if you see Islamophobic behavior. The posters recommend sitting by a victim of harassment and talking with them about a neutral subject while ignoring the harasser.

Source: Boston Launches Anti-Islamophobia Poster Campaign : The Two-Way : NPR

Dispute Over Proposed Muslim Cemetery in Massachusetts Town Deepens | WWRN – World-wide Religious News

Boston — A dispute over a proposed Muslim cemetery in a small Central Massachusetts town is deepening, as the state attorney general and the U.S. attorney’s office have intervened, warning local officials they could be violating civil-rights laws.

Source: Dispute Over Proposed Muslim Cemetery in Massachusetts Town Deepens | WWRN – World-wide Religious News