A hijabi bunny?

Published: September 30, 2016

Although Noor has an appealing goal, the platform she has used to reach that goal is questionable. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/NOOR TAGOURI

Muslims have it hard living in the West. Nowadays it is perfectly acceptable to sling all kinds of vitriolic, hate-filled misinformation towards Muslims that simply would never be thrown at adherents of other religions. So it is natural for Muslims, who fight hard against these stereotypes every day, to want to make a huge impact in trying to rid themselves of all the negativity that they become shrouded in.

Unfortunately, sometimes in the quest for shaking off the adverse image, no real progress is made. This comes as a hijab-laden Muslim lady, Noor Tagouri, appeared in Playboy magazine as a journalist aspiring to be ‘America’s first hijabi anchor’ on commercial television.

Playboy magazine is usually connoted with sexual frivolity, bunnies and Hugh Hefner’s promotion of unabashed hedonism. How could a Muslim woman possibly use Playboy as a platform to launch her career? Could this move be classed as absurd or highly ingenious? The news definitely raised eyebrows and spearheaded Noor’s intentions into the fast lane. It has also started a raging debate (which spilled over into Twitter) about Islamic morality and contemporary culture.

Last year Playboy announced that it would no longer feature nude women in its publication because online pornography had rendered such a purpose rather pointless. Instead, the magazine would focus on articles about various topics like politics, history and even hijab-laden women. Noor’s presence in Playboy has been met with a mixture of reactions, ranging from abhorrence to acceptance. Many Muslims still find it difficult to disassociate themselves from Playboy’s image of being a magazine which shows images of naked women. A hijabi in Playboy just doesn’t bode well.

Although Noor has an appealing goal, the platform she has used to reach that goal is questionable. But on the other hand, she may never have gotten the requisite attention she needed to accomplish her goal had she remained on the straight and narrow path.

It’s a murky world out there and the lines between morality and licentiousness are increasingly becoming blurred. Muslims have to be original in how they get their message out there albeit in a manner which minimises offence in their community.

It will be interesting to see how far Noor Tabouri goes in challenging stereotypes that people hold against Muslim women, but this stint definitely challenged a spectacular amount.  If anything, it definitely made me see Playboy in a different light.

Faiza Iqbal

Faiza Iqbal

A law graduate from King's College, London Nottingham Law School. Having worked at Mandviwalla & Zafar as an Associate, she now writes freelance articles and is trying to qualify as a barrister in Canada.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.