Jihad...and it's not what you think
The world is changing - weather is getting erratic, politics are running like a reality show, currency is taking a dip and the global population is making a turn - towards Islam. From media to marketing, Islam or Muslims are the in thing - sometimes good, sometimes bad.
As we all know, the fastest growing religion in the world is Islam, the most unrepresented and misunderstood religion is also Islam. That is the sad reality. But it doesn’t have to be that way and many of us - the new generation of Muslims - are taking matters into our own hands. Sounds like a jihad. Well, in reality it is.
The word jihad unfortunately has taken on a negative connotation. Why? Look through the newspapers and it’s evident why. But the word jihad simply means fighting a struggle within oneself or striving for something. And that can be anything. From achieving a lifelong dream of opening up a cupcake shop, to the struggle of having your voice heard when all the world sees you as is a girl in a hijab. #iammorethanmyhijab
The jihad of today’s generation of Muslims is to have their voices heard. In a peaceful manner of course. Taking to social media, this new generation of Muslims, made up of YouTubers and bloggers, believe modernity and spirituality go hand in hand. That we can indeed assimilate in today’s modern society without compromising our belief and faith.
...the word jihad simply means fighting a struggle within oneself or striving for something. And that can be anything...
The global Muslim population is set to rise from 1.6 billion to 2.8 billion by 2050. And this is the world's most rapidly developing consumer group. From food to fashion, the new generation of Muslims around the world is making up that big demographic. More so the new generation of Muslim women. Not just because women love to shop, that’s a given. But aside from food and entertainment which covers both genders, Muslim women consume fashion, beauty, pharmaceuticals, more than men. Furthermore, with the hijab, Muslim women are physically more recognizable as a Muslim than men. (I’m not talking about the men in thobes here.)
Naturally, global brands are slowly sitting up to take notice. From Uniqlo, to Apple, to now CoverGirl, brands are taking notice and giving us a chance to be represented. Is this is a good thing? If done well, yes. Sadly many brands don’t seem to understand that Muslims come in all shapes, colours, nationality and ethnicity.
Many simply think an Arab is a Muslim and non-Arabs aren’t. I say, come over to Asia for a visit and you’ll see all of us in different shades of colour. And I guess that’s my jihad. Through the pages of GAYA, I get to let these individual and unique voices speak in their own words. To let the world know that, hey, Muslim women are here and we come in peace. I’d like to have your voice heard. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your voice heard.
Juliana Iskandar is the Editor-in-Chief of GAYA Magazine.