There is a whole sub-culture of Islam that is often missing from Western papers, especially Americans, which focus disproportionate attention on trivial and extremely marginal, albeit loud, fundamentalists groups.
Insignificant groups may be able to commit horrific acts, but that does not make them politically meaningful. One anarchist assassinated U.S. president McKinley and several other prominent Western officials, that does not mean that anarchism was a tangible political movement in America or the West-at-large or that it posed a threat to order.
Likewise, the horrific terrorist actions of 19 men are not backed up by an popular support. Most Muslims have no regard for such a radical ideology nor feel any need to prove their peacefulness or loyalty by dedicating their lives to condemning such acts as Westerns often obnoxiously ask Muslims to do so. Do Americans go around condemning their wars?
Anyway, this sub-culture aspires to a kind of Islamic coolness. It ranges from hip hop to fashion. I have written before about Islamic hip hop, but I will now concentrate on Islamic style.
There is ‘Islamic style’ – such as fashion tastes influenced by certain Islamic practices but not seen or defined as Islamic, the kufiyaa is the best example of this – and then there is a style that is dedicated toward a genuine Islamic message:
T-shirts and hoodies declare “Terrorism has no religion.” A head-covering tunic bears the message: “Hijab. My right. My choice. My life.”
A German fashion label is out to tell the world that Islam isn’t just compatible with Western values of tolerance and free expression — it can be hip, too.
The project was born in 2006 as Muslim mobs rampaged across Europe against Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Designer Melih Kesmen became fed up with the anti-Muslim stereotypes that sprang up over the protests as well as the rioters’ attempts to stifle free speech.
So Kesmen, a practicing Muslim born and raised in Germany to Turkish parents, decided to express his feelings through fashion.
“I first created a sweater just for myself with the slogan ‘I love my Prophet’ to take a stand as a peace-loving, tolerant Muslim,” said the 34-year-old designer, sporting designer glasses and a black goatee.
The reaction was huge: People kept stopping him in the street to ask where he had found the top.
Kesmen quickly realized he’d found a market gap.
Together with his wife, Yeliz, he set out to create Style Islam, a brand of hip, casual clothing with Islamic-themed sayings as its focus.
More than three years on, Style Islam offers 35 different motifs that playfully merge Islam and pop culture. Besides clothing, their collection also features bags and posters.
Above all, the brand strives to spread a message of tolerance. One design reads: “Jesus & Muhammad/ Brothers in Faith.”
Here is their website.