Al Qa’ida Takes on the Value of Fashion

Image courtesy of BBC
Earlier this month, al Qa’ida released Al-Shamikha, "The Majestic Woman." At first glance, it would look as if al Qa’ida has acquiesced to Western calls to liberalize and expand women’s rights in the Arab world. But this 31-page glossy magazine written exclusively for women isn’t meant to empower them in the Western sense. Rather, the magazine pairs beauty tips right alongside the merits of marrying a martyr. According to the magazine editors, the key to a perfect complexion is achieved only by staying in the home with a covered face.

Is there a real danger in exposing women to such nonsense propaganda disguised as a glamour magazine? The answer, at this point, is that it's hard to tell. This isn’t al Qa’ida’s first attempt to reach the female Muslim population through media. Just last year, they launched a different magazine, The Granddaughters of Khansa, much akin to Al-Shamikha, but that endeavor only made it two issues before collapsing. So while demand may not yet be high for such antagonistic materials, it is quite clear al Qa’ida is continuing their battle to control and proliferate women’s minds and lives.

According to the Al-Shamikha editors, "The nation of Islam needs women who know the truth about their religion and about the battle and its dimensions and know what is expected of them." Thus it is Al-Shamikha’s role to educate them. Scary thoughts, when you consider the headlines from the most recent issue "Marrying a Jihadist," "Sharia Law that Applies to You," and "Your House is Your Kingdom."