By Ade Agis
Hello everyone. The muslim forum I used to write at has been closed so I moved ^^
I am in a doubtful situation: I've been almost 2 years looking for a job, possibly according to my studies, which I came to finish with heavy efforts (terrible student). I was not able (neither I've been now) to find anything out of them, till now. In the middle of these 2 years I became muslim, I was able to generously pray the mandatory ones (and even more) till I found a job which didn't required experience and which also made my studies worthy (a diamond ore, we could say). The thing is, while my mother forbade me to go to Masjids (she's afraid of the Umma, generally and despises the religion) she also forbade me to reveal that I am muslim. She's toughly serious with this... meanwhile, I've been losing Dhuhr and Asr (I recovered them with 2+2+2+2 rakats after maghrib every time I came back home) since I started.
I made tayammum sometimes, and mumbled silently while working, also praying back at home. But I don't really know how this works, if I am doing something wrong, besides it could be dangerous for me to reveal my religion, and if I lost the job cause of this my parents could really take their favours away from me... and it may also become impossible to get another job (knowing how much I took to find this one) or finding another one just to have the same problem...
The thing is I prayed there (moving my mouth in a very stealthy way), without postures, while working. ¿Could it count? I need to travel by car to my workplace so I made the traveler's prayer, when Dhuhr and Asr. But it felt so poor...
The second thing is that the items I make (in a halal way) are used to haram issues (wine bottles, bank furnitures, parts of gambling items/machines, its kinda one of those things...)
Leaving the job would be a major risk (I, and a loss of time and money and a motive of agitation to me), telling what I am, too.
When Ramadan comes I could have a way to hide it, (and perform at least Dhuhr's one) properly but I am nuts about it at this moment... when passed a year or two I may also leave the job (cause I need the experience years to find another one, similar but with no haram things around), but feeling unsecure about where I shall fall. I want to know how to compensate this before the God, how much trouble i am getting to myself. And about Jumuah prayer, well... my parents forbade me to go to any Masjid, with such severity in their manners about it, specially my mother.
Brand Islam is fast becoming the new black in marketing terms
We should be paying more attention to the 'third one billion' and the Islamic economic paradigm, argues Jonathan Wilson
The Islamic economic force is about much more than 'meat and money'. Photograph: Dan Chung for the Guardian
The ancient Muslim tradition of commerce along the silk roads and spice trade routes has been rebranded into a phenomenon I have termed "Brand Islam".
Islamic marketing is a term that is only about five years old. This facelift has seen it flourish into a new marketing sub-discipline, of growing global interest in industry and among scholars. Previously, relevant issues would have been addressed under a banner of multicultural or ethnic marketing; but it's becoming clear that this approach doesn't reflect enough of the nuances associated with Muslim consumers and markets. Now, Islamic marketing seems ready to become another must-have in a growing portfolio of marketing degree and professional courses on your CV.
The 2011 Census in the United Kingdom has the Muslim population at 2.7 million, which is 4.8% of the total population. Of those, around 100,000 are converts to Islam, about two thirds of whom are female. There were an estimated 5,200 conversions to Islam in 2011, making it the fastest growing religion in the UK.
In 2010, Miles Young, Global CEO of Ogilvy, described Muslims as the "third one billion" in terms of market opportunity, and bigger news than the Indian and Chinese billions. One quarter of the world's population are Muslim, with well over half of Muslims today under the age of 25. If we look at Jim O'Neill's acronyms for the emerging economies to watch – in 2001 it was BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China); and more recently in 2013 MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) – then it's clear that economies with large Muslim populations are growing in importance.
At the end of 2013, at the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), held for the first time outside of the Muslim world, in London, and at the first Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES), speakers stressed that Muslim majority and minority markets, while rooted in Islamic principles, transcend faith. PwC, Thomson Reuteurs and Dinar Standard used these conferences as platforms to share findings in their new reports. The global expenditure of Muslim consumers on halal food and lifestyle sectors is estimated at $2.3tr (£1.4tr); and Islamic financial assets are growing at 15-20% a year.
We've moved beyond Theodore Levitt's 1983 Harvard Business Review classic on globalisation. Globalisation has not made us all the same – we are seeing evidence of duality rather than singularity. On one level there is a convergence, but we are also becoming more cultural as a mechanism of coping and maintaining a unique identity. This is more about having a cultural compass than a moral compass. An Islamic identity has risen as something that homogenises diverse audiences and governs key behavioural traits. Furthermore, as with other niche segments, there is evidence to show that there are patterns of higher consumption and greater loyalty, when aligned with Islam.
Just as the Chinese have brought us new terms and concepts such as guanxi (social relations) and mianzi (maintaining one's face); and likewise the Japanese with kaizen (improvement and change for the best) and kanban (just-in-time production); the modern Muslim world has specific characteristics.
While Sharia finance has been in pole position and halal has been the powerhouse driving the concept of an Islamic economic paradigm, this is about more than meat and money. Brand Islam is joining sectors together, including fashion, cosmetics, entertainment, tourism, education, pharma, professional services and others under one narrative.
We are seeing Muslims searching for a way to reach out and harness spirituality in a post 9/11 era. This is perhaps analogous to a post African-American civil rights movement, where 'black' music, comedy, fashion, cosmetics, and sports now transcend race and ethnicity – minority is a mainstream cultural phenomenon.
Author John Grant draws parallels with the Muslim world (which he calls the Interland) and the rise of Japanese brands, like Sony – which manifested a desire to change negative world perceptions towards Japan post occupation in 1945.
An emerging contribution of Islamic marketing is the idea that professionalism cannot be judged by products and services alone. Islam exacts that individuals, in both their professional and private lives, stand beside their offerings and audiences – you practise what you preach. This is not unique to Islam or Muslims, but they are at the forefront of this wider agenda. Furthermore, having made all of these points, relatively speaking there is a paucity of data on what makes Muslims tick and how we should be advertising to them in a way that resonates.
Dr Jonathan A.J. Wilson is senior lecturer in advertising and marketing communications, University of Greenwich
Muslim women face an uphill battle against prejudice to find work
Many Muslim women feel pressured to change their appearance to get a job. Employers must question their own assumptions
Baroness Warsi may have opted for shalwar khameez for her first meeting of the cabinet in May 2010, but for many Muslim women, the struggle is to downplay ethnic or religious difference in order to find acceptance – and employment. A recent parliamentary report found that Muslim women often feel pressured to change their appearance or anglicise their name in order to access employment.
Often, it is the "triple paralysis" of being a woman, migrant, or perceived as such, and Muslim. While in some cases, the barriers are cultural, linguistic or educational, research suggests that 25% of the ethnic minority unemployment rate for both men and women could be explained by prejudice and racial discrimination.
South Asian Muslim women have the highest rate of unemployment in terms of both religion and ethnicity in the UK. Many are highly educated, ambitious women like Shazba, a speech therapist and single mother, who struggles to understand the consistent rejections. She has been unemployed for five years despite a masters qualification and extensive voluntary experience: "I've been through numerous interviews for my first job. Needless to say, I feel I'm not getting the job as employers see I wear hijab and look for reasons to turn me down." When I push her on how exactly she can be sure her headscarf is the problem, given high rates of unemployment more broadly, she responds: "It's body language, tonality – I once walked into an interview and the interviewer's face just crashed."
Others encounter difficulties within the workplace itself, where requests for minor adaptations are met with resistance. Reema, a 34-year-old obstetrician, has to remove her hijab in order to perform surgery. She explains that her London hospital trust has been unwilling to consider small alterations to the scrubs uniform worn in surgery, despite the possibility of ensuring sterility standards. In her experience, "when young doctors in foundation stages see the problem with hijab in theatres, they think of choosing specialities without surgery, even though they are interested in surgical specialities." This self-selecting out of certain professions is one of the barriers to employment noted by the report.
Others include assumptions about Muslim women and how their religious identity is likely to impact on their work. A recurring theme was of women feeling "essentialised" – Muslim journalists consistently asked to cover "Muslim" stories, Muslim solicitors hired as a means of accessing certain communities, or a hospice worker whose conversations were routinely directed at her faith. From questions about pregnancy plans through to being asked, "We have a lot of gay staff here – is that going to be a problem for you?", many women felt their identity was reduced to their scarf and the assumptions people made about it.
For women who had to undergo a traineeship, the pressure of what one's supervisor might think made them vulnerable to prejudice. Some were advised to change the style or colour of their scarf in order to appear more "client friendly", others were asked if they intended to keep wearing it, a question they interpreted as meaning it could work against their application. A trainee solicitor at a leading international law firm was told she was "sheltered" and "deferent", something her employers put down her "background". She eventually opted to remove her scarf. Fiyaz Mughal, director of the Tell Mama (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) campaign says: "These are not just isolated problems. There are strong perceptions in Muslim communities that employment discrimination is rife."
According to the report, the impact on women's self-confidence is significant, something Mughal corroborates: "This causes a lack of confidence … as they think about where their future lies." Such concerns are not unfounded. Consistent workplace inactivity in younger women can lead to difficulties in finding a job later in life. This is all the more worrying given that Pakistani and Bangladeshi families experience extremely high poverty rates and in light of the fact BME concentration in the public sector means they are more likely to be affected by cuts.
The portrayal of Muslim women in the media as passive victims, or as problems, undoubtedly renders them less desirable to prospective employers. Barrister Sultana Tafadar explained that some chambers were concerned that women in headscarves might be perceived as less competent and more judgmental of clients. Women who work in the service sector were made to feel they'd struggle to fit into the team. But it would be a mistake to assume this sort of subtle discrimination is limited to women. Ed Husain, author of the Islamist, revealed that he changed his name because he didn't feel comfortable with Mohammed and in 2009, researchers uncovered widespread racial discrimination against workers with African and Asian names, among whom unemployment rates remain consistently higher than average.
Muslim women stand at the intersection of race, gender and religious difference, which significantly increases their likelihood of suffering prejudice. But the focus on Muslim women shouldn't serve to further essentialise their identity – they merely represent the sharp end of a stick which indicates the persistence of sexism, racism and religious discrimination in broader society and their impact on people's life choices.
By My Peace
My Peace is Australia’s fastest growing Islamic not for profit organisation aimed at breaking the barriers between Muslims and Non-Muslims in Australia and around the World.
We are looking for natural passionate fundraisers to be part of a team based in Bankstown Sydney. This new role is an exciting opportunity to 'make it your own' and we want to hear from creative thinkers who like to have their opinions heard.
To be successful you will be an excellent communicator, with a track record of achieving your goals. You will be passionate about making a positive difference to the world we live in.
Would you like to work within a team of fundraisers contributing to a positive team atmosphere?
We are looking for,
Proactive, solution-focused individuals determined to exceed delegated targets
Confident and reliable
Commitment to the work of My Peace & general interest in Islam
Friendly, fun loving personality
Full time positions available
18 years or older
To apply please send your resume to mypeaceorg[at]gmail.com