Muhajababes!

29Jan07
muhajabah noun (Arabic) a woman who veils
muhajababe noun (Arabic) a veiled and sexily dressed young woman

Meet Allegra Stratton, hip young journalist. She’s been wrong about the war in Iraq, fallen out with her friend, and is fast approaching a quarter-life crisis. In her disillusionment she takes herself to Beirut, Amman, Cairo, Dubai, Kuwait City and Damascus to understand what daily life is like for Arabs of her own age. She finds that two-thirds of the Middle East population is younger than 25. That there are more graduates than at any time in history, but few jobs to go round.

The youth are trying to come to terms with the Middle Eastern ripple of change: Iraq’s first post-Saddam elections, Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution, Kuwait giving women the vote. Islamic revival is in the wind. Or is it? While looking for youth culture as she knows it, Allegra soon discovers that it is the massive video industry of airbrushed, heavily produced, scantily clad singers who hold the affections of young Arabs-the Muhajababes. And there’s a contradiction: many of the fans of these semi-naked popstrels are also very devout.

Is this trendy Islam, or just another form of religious conservatism? The answer to this question may lie closer to home than Allegra thought.

Allegra Stratton is a producer on BBC Newsnight and before that spent three years producing BBC1’s This Week. She has written for the Independent, The Times and the New Statesman. She lives in London.

*Melbourne University

Just ordered the book from Amazon; hopefully customs will let it slide.



20 Responses to “Muhajababes!”

  1. seems interesting
    might order it
    3ad i am in a “books bout home” phase 😛

  2. 2 Purgatory

    Why do you advocate a book about women? they should be all punished for spreading global warming

  3. how dare you cut me out of the picture!.. this was my chance for fame! I ain’t talkin to you no more!

  4. hehehe.. but seriously, shino ya3ni? hahaha .. funny shit I swear!

  5. hahahaha! Purg!

    This looks interesting! Im really curious as to what she wrote! I bet there will be others who are curious as well!

  6. Wallah I was gonna blog about this book last week, but then I saw that GEOrhythm has written about it ages ago.

    I spent about a half hour browsing through this book last week in London at the airport before my plane took off, but didn’t end up buying it because I was only interested in the chapter about Kuwait, which I managed to read anyway. The chapter about Kuwait is titles Geezzing (o: and there’s a Kuwaiti guy in it who says “Bluetooth changed my life.”

    I’m sure it’s a fun book to read even if it’s not like a proper anthropological study. Let us know how you liked it!

  7. why do i know her?

    where did you get this from?

  8. 8 geo

    isn’t it sold in kuwait? i got mine in dubai .. so i’m just assuming it’s easy to find in kuwait .. anyways kuwait’s chapter is disappointing nothing special

  9. 9 talisman

    She looks cute!

  10. 10 Boss

    She should release a new edition with a chapter on Orientalism.

  11. 11 k

    Yazeed:
    I wouldn’t suggest it .. I have a feeling this is going to be a depressing book.

    Purgatory:
    Menopause and hormones are today’s CFCs.

    the11thmuse:
    This isn’t your picture… And let’s be honest you’re not photogenic (come to think of it, have you ever taken a picture). I will reserve my laughing until after I read it.

    Marzouq:
    I am very interested in how other people view the Muhajba-babe’s..

    q8sultana:
    Gezzing and Bluetooth? When I read about women’s endeavors (voting, etc.) I figured it was an honest look at the forefront of hip Islamic women. I guess it’s just a book reconfirming that the Muhajababes are confused and disillusioned (couldn’t hold back my opinions anymore).

    Judy Abbott:
    Remember that time when we all went to Disney Land together… actually, I have no idea who she is. A friend of mine sent it to me by email.

    geo:
    They sell books in Kuwait? Like I said above .. The concept was intriguing, the author gave Kuwaiti’s too much credit.

    Boss:
    Are you talking about the Geisha looks of Kuwaiti Muhajabas? 🙂

    Actually, I do believe this book has levels or Edward Said’s Orientalism, at least when reading the above comments on the Kuwaiti Chapter. There is an attempt to paint the Muhajabas of Kuwait in a revolutionary manner .. The plight of the new Muslim women. The section about the women in skin tight leopard jumpsuits, faux-hijabs and loose morals after leaving the watch of ‘baba’.. Was lost somewhere at the printer.

    Although, I am going to keep my final opinion for after I read the book; not judge it on its cover.

  12. Nibaq and I saw that book in Dubai and I would have sworn I knew someone who had it in Kuwait! I just can’t remember anymore!

  13. chub haha!

  14. They sell it at our university bookstore 🙁

  15. 15 holla

    this bok is haram like the satanic verses. i hoping she gett fatwa on here head like salman rushdie.

  16. 16 k

    The Stallion:
    I don’t think they got it from Kuwait..

    the11thmuse:
    You know its true..

    adorra:
    Did you read it.

    holla:
    If she gets a fatwa .. she will become famous .. then Muhajababes will think they are cool. Do you really want to go down that path?

  17. I bought the book today, I’ll read it when I have the chance! I flipped to the q8 bit and read about transexuals and bluetooth ROFL!

  18. I saw it at Jazz house couple of weeks ago…he has it..i guess he got it from Dubai..it seems interesting to read..

  19. Yo..

    About customs – I don’t think you need to worry.
    I bought it at Virgin here in Kuwait about 4 months ago 🙂

    Enjoy!

    -Amunki

  20. 20 k

    ananyah:
    So basically the book isn’t worth getting..

    Maze:
    I might steal his copy then..

    Amunki:
    You never know .. They might find the cover a bit too tempting.


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