A new Hip Hop trend is threatening to drive a wedge between the Muslim and urban communities. The Muslims are taking offense to a style of dress adopted by rappers who wear a jalabia – a Muslim symbol of freedom – around their necks as a scarf. The jalabia is a traditional head dress worn by Muslim freedom fighters.

The new style first made popular by Island Records president of Urban Music, Jermaine Dupri, is now being worn by everyone from Jay Z to Omarion and Chris Brown. But while celebrities think the head garment is stylish to wear around their necks, it is causing a furor within the Muslim community. The Muslims want celebs to stop desecrating their symbol – or face the consequences.

One man who asked to remain anonymous told me, “Men died fighting in a war for that. Arafat wore it. People took bullets in the back fighting for that! [Rappers] don’t know what the meaning of that is.. they’re ignorant! They go overseas and they go to Dubai then they come back and say, ‘look at the new trend I started’. It’s disrespectful!”

The Muslim man I spoke with thinks rappers need a little sensitivity training, “If I see them wearing the jalabia, I’ll make them take it off!,” he said.

  • http://yahoo.com Dr. 90210

    My husband is from Bahrain and he is a Shia Muslim and he doesn’t take offense to this. He says if what they are doing is wrong let God be their judge. I agree!!

  • hellava10

    A new Hip Hop trend is threatening to drive a wedge between the Muslim and urban communities.

    Were they ever on the same page? When was there ever a united front? The new music artists are always ‘sampling’ something. There is no creativity and if that is thier thing, find something else to put around your neck. We don’t need anymore excuses for…..you watch CNN…

  • tony

    the muslims should be more worried about other muslims attacking american again….they would worry about all the muslims that are killing each other overseas verses what some rappers are doing

  • http://www.myspace.com/birdshu Bird

    I tried to do research on a jalabia so that I could find out the religious or cultural significance of it and it turns out that it is a dress. Most sites advertised the sale of Jalabia’s for women, but I was able to find a picture of a man in one.

    I had to search further to find any information on muslim headresses for men. I couldn’t find any examples of them being referred to as jalabia nor any military significance to the headress. It is an optional garment for muslim men which of course is not the case for the women.

    Anyway, I don’t know what this man is talking about. Until it is wrapped on the head it is simply a piece of cloth that means nothing. Still I hate when people latch onto a trend to the point where everyone is wearing the same thing.

  • Lou_Brock

    I have to agree with the Muslim men. If they happen to take offense, and if we are ignorant to the cultural significance of the Jalabia, then we need to stop wearing them. Period!

    If as black people, we expect others to respect our culture and not misuse the symbols of our culture; Then we need to respect this symbol of their culture. Feel me?

  • Coo Coo Bananas

    Actually, its called keffiyeh. Had to look it up after I saw pics of rappers looking like urban arafats. The Jalabia is a dress, I think.

    This is a funny trend. Kind of like when people were stocking up on all things Che Guevera after Jay-z wore a shirt with his face on it for that UNplugged special.. not knowing the man was a racist who didn’t even like black people.

    Bird.. see this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keffiyeh

  • imanih

    Actually, it’s also called a shemagh. Regardless trendy people from N.Y. to D.C., and even when I was in Cali have used them for scarves for a minute. Actually the rap community is late on using them. We are actually going back into using REAL scarves again. That’s why story is funny because that trend has been out for years up top and out west.

  • NoirFemme

    What I find ironic and humorous about this trend is that it isn’t “new” at all. The white hipsters/emo/scene kids rocked it like, last year or so, when Urban Outfitters began to stock them. So all these black celebrities and black kids walking the streets with them (and the boys in skinny jeans, and the multi-colored hair, lip piercings, et al) are copying white kids’ trends from a year and a half to two years ago. Haha!!






  • brinabelle

    AS IF!! it’s a frickin scarf..i too feel offended as an american-haitian i wear those scarves to bed, to keep my hair together..these rappers don’t know the pain of waking up in the morning with a line across my forehead because i didnt tie it right..they should not be taking this lightly!

  • aqtpie

    LMBAO @ brinabelle

  • Ladyy

    That’s how frivilous it is Brinabelle. If muslims are gonna make an argument over a frivilous scarf then you can make a silly ass argument over anything. And these rappers are not even wearing it like the muslims do which is on their heads so what is the fuss. And I don’t see how rappers are being insensitive because a scarf is a scarf & muslims did not create the ‘scarf’. So rappers can take a white t-shirt & wear it around their necks & I bet someone will still find error.

  • http://www.youtube.com/queencee1 babyny87

    I wonder how Jermaine Jackson feels about this…

  • Angee

    Rappers are not the trendsetters for wearing this scarf. I got mine when I went to Egypt during a quad race. Im from Amsterdam, and these scarfs are practical worn by everybody. Amsterdam is very multicultural with LOTS of muslims (maroccan, Turkish) they are the biggest muslim population…but I never heard any of my muslim friends complain…to be honest..THEY even wear it as an fashion item.

  • http://myspace.com/akiey5 akiey

    We Black people easily fit the into the class of most hypocrate folks on this planet!
    We’re very, very quick to protest, denounce even ban anyone who even remotely misunderstands/misjudges our ‘culture’ and ‘symbols’ (aren’t we still lambasting Elvis for stealing Black music? etc) BUT…when it comes to taking time to understand the sensitivity attached to symbols from another culture we want to get all “rational and know-it-all, can-do-it-all, don’t-question-my-motives hypocrites” …and we keep teaching that to our kids.

    My People, let’s respect everything about others BEFORE we expect other to respect everything about us.

  • maema

    FYI — last December, my husband and I visited London for the holidays. This was December 2006 through New Year’s Day. While there, we noticed that ALL the guys were wearing these scarves. I loved the look, so bought one from a street vendor for my man. He’s been wearing it ever since. I often wondered if he would get any backlash from it — not from muslims, but from people who are prejudiced against muslims (lol!) nothing so far.

    moral of this story — (1) most people don’t mean any harm and (2) celebrities rarely start trends. they merely popularize them.

  • tbrown

    LOL @ #10

  • ReadTheBlog

    I agree with the Dr…I say let Allah judge! The Islamac community is so quick to take justice into their own hands. We have better things to be worried about.

  • closetcolumnist

    agreed with #5 and #11

  • Angel_Minded

    I agree. I mean if it offends their culture then they have every right to be angry. No one wants to be synonomous w/ Hip-Hop, look what it ‘represents.’ Now in regards to ‘brinabelle’ & whoever agrees w/ her – trying to compare something of religious/culture significance to a regular scarf to wrap your hair, can’t even be compared! I seriously doubt thousands of muslims would be wearing these for the ‘fashion aspect of it’ clearly it is something that is a part of their culture and belief, and they view it as disrespect. This situation, is actually quite similar to the n-word, how black on blacks can use it but non-blacks can’t. The n-word is significant in our culture and a large percentage of us takes offense to when other’s use it, so why don’t these hip-hop artists just respect their culture, the way we’d want them to respect the usage of the n-word.

  • http://www.myspace.com/millyly milly

    Old dude who made the comment and asked to be anonymous needs to sit down somewhere…I’m muslim and I’m not offended by it, people( and I dont care what religion you fall under) just need to learn to let god do the judging instead of taking it upon themselves.

  • http://notenoughrealmen.blogspot.com 2thick4u

    This is crazy. These people whip a teacher 65 times for naming a class bear “Muhammed” when the kids were the ones who voted for the name.

    This is ignorant…find something else to talk about. You allow every other race, culture wear this scarf but when black celebrity men start wearing them it is a problem.

    Get The Fuck Outta here with that nonsense.

    The trend ain’t cute to me but if people want to wear a scarf around their neck fine…as long as it ain’t a noose!!!

    Holla at your GIRL!!!

  • secret

    Oh please I was wearing that scarf back in the 80’s and 90’s. There is nothing new about this scarf you could buy them off the street from a muslim in the NYC years ago.

    You people talking about respect but really who do the muslim respect? They have no respect for human life but they are worried about a dumb ass scarf?? PLEASE!! What consequence are the Rapper going to suffer? NONE!!!

  • http://COMEUPKIDS.COM comeupkids.com

    I posted something about that on my blog.. being a Palestinian it is hard to see everyone running around with it on…


    fadia kader

  • ms.peaches

    Wow I didn’t know it was that serious I have to agree with comment 22 & also if you were to go out to a street vendor to buy a paticular item like the scarf in question 9 outta 10 it will be a muslim that sells it to you so again Rappers may not know that the muslims wear it for a cause or certain meaning but I don’t think they are being disrespectful it’s not like they wiping there ass with the thing, honestly it’s about to be 2008 & things seem to be getting worse instead of improving!!


    As from a Muslim background, If muslims take offense then respect that. There are plenty of Black Muslims out here. I happen to agree that Black people arent educated on religion. They just follow a fad. I personally think it looks stupid if you are not praying. Black people are followers, we have always been and always will be. We as a people need to become educated. Its bad enough that people think we are the dumbest creatures on earth, Wake up People

  • Sharonda

    You know what I find this so funny because when I was living over in Portugal men and women, children and whoever been wearing things like this.They even wear it on the runway!John Galiano to any fashion ad or runway, but no let a negro wear it ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE!
    Go to any country Europe I PROMISE YOU men been wearing their scarfs like this I even wore my scarf like this when I was a young girl.Since when scarfs been a muslim thing?

  • atlentesq

    FYI to Sandra and everyone else reading this article. The referenced individuals DID NOT start wearing the Muslim head scarfs as neck scarfs. Individuals in the urban areas of the Northeast (NYC tri-state especially) have been wearing these since at least the 80’s.

  • aqtpie

    I wouldn’t wear one but, since this is the UNITED STATES and is supposed to be a free country, people can wear whatever the hell they want to. If they are visiting places like Dubai, I do feel they should respect the beliefs of the people THERE and do not wear them.

    If I found the scarf to be fashionable, I’d wear it here in my supposed to be free country THE USA and wouldn’t give a damn who felt disrespected, if you don’t like it move or don’t look, it’s a free country here. I don’t go around telling people who practice religions other than mine what I think they should stop doing to respect mine. Here in the USA you can pick and choose any religion you want, if any at all. I believe my religion is 100% the truth, so another religion has no significance of importance to me; therefore I feel no need to educate myself in religions I will not follow.

    I had to look up that story and I must say if that isn’t the most absurd story I have ever heard of in my life. This is what I’m talking about, evidently those people find nothing wrong with their thinking. Which means they believe their GOD would find it justifiable to execute a woman for naming a bear Muhammed. *a name that her 7 year old class voted on* I’m not getting ready to pray to a GOD that so many find would be okay with this illogical thinking *to me* and therefore I don’t have to respect someone who does so in my own free country.

    I keyword I, believe there is only one GOD, so in reference when I speak about their GOD; I clearly say this because, I 100% wholeheartdly believe that the GOD I pray to, wouldn’t find the execution of a woman who named a bear Muhammed justifiable and since they *the people who do* find GOD to clearly be okay with it, it’s obvious we aren’t praying to the same GOD. If I offended anyone, the intention was not there but, this is a country where freedom of speech is supposed to be upheld and it’s how I feel.(sp)

  • NaturalFromHead2Toe

    Well frankly- I don’t like the scarves or whatever they are called. They are too feminine for men in my opinion.

  • aqtpie

    OOPS I meant 2thick4u not bird

  • Lou_Brock

    @ aqtpie:

    Again, I feel you on the ‘free country” talk. But what happens when white people want to say the N-word??? It’s a free country, but we expect people to respect us and our cultural wishes. If we expect to get that respect from others, then we damn well better be prepared to give it.

    To everybody that sees this as a trivial matter:

    We don’t get to pick and choose what is important to another culture. If they feel this type of scarf is sacred… who am I to judge. All I’m saying is, its right to respect their wishes!

  • brinabelle

    “angel__minded” said:
    Now in regards to ‘brinabelle’ & whoever agrees w/ her – trying to compare something of religious/culture significance to a regular scarf to wrap your hair, can’t even be compared!
    i was not comparing it to a religion..i was showing how ridiculus this ‘anonymous’ statement was/is. maybe you should click on the link and read up on the keffiyeh..they are wearing scarves as bandana’s not as a religious head wrap..

  • aqtpie

    That’s just the thing because it is a free country and freedom of speech is supposed to be upheld, “they” *whites* have the right to say ni**er. Do I agree with them using the word? Nope, neither do I agree with blacks using it either. If we don’t respect ourselves enough to not call each other that, then how in the hell do we expect other races to respect us and not use the word also? Because of the origin of the word ni**er, I personally don’t agree with the word being used as an alledged difference of context bullshyt given by some blacks who use the word amongst each other.

    As far as free country; I will use the Muslim man in this post for example, he is offended by the, quote “latest” unquote trend in hip hop of scarves being worn in an insensitive manner to him and that is his right to feel that way. Americans living here in the USA have the right to also feel they can wear whatever they want to in a free country. Out of respect I wont list the four religions I feel offended by but, I don’t go around demanding that they stop practicing the things that I find offensive, or telling them how I feel their religion should change some things because I feel if not, they are doomed to hell.

    Religion is such a touchy subject so I wont name any and will use the example of the KKK. I don’t respect the things they say and do *what they stand for* or their way of thinking so I, I am speaking for MYSELF don’t
    to respect them. I wont go out of my way to disrespect anyone but I don’t have to respect everyone. It is a free country so they have the right to think whatever they want to about me and personally there is not an ounce in me that cares what they think. I am not asking everyone to respect my religious practices, therefore I don’t find myself being hypocritical. *Again I wouldn’t go out of my way to intentionally disrespect anyone.* I give what I expect, no more, no less. If I expected other races to respect my race then you best believe, I’d respect theirs. If I expected all religions to respect all of the things I practice in mine, again I’d do the same. It’s a free country and therefore people of other religions or races do not have to respect my religion or race. It’d be nice if they did and vice versa but, speaking for myself I can’t respect something I don’t believe in. I don’t believe in satanism, so why should I be expected to respect that religion and the religious practices of that religion? Even though I don’t believe in it, I’m not going to intentionally disrespect someone who practices it but, I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure I don’t step on the toes of someone who practices that religion either.(sp)

  • aqtpie

    Ooops my post was meant for Lou_Brock. =)

  • brinabelle

    very well said aqtpie

  • kat

    after reading this FABRICATED story…and seeing some of the responses…i’m convinced that ya’ll are a bunch of MORONS and sandra has ya’ll brainwashed!!! WTF….sandra, i gotta give it to you…you are truly a fool and you be having these folks going on this site! LOL! smh @ ya’ll!

  • ansel0215

    If this is the case then everyone….I mean “EVERYONE” needs to stop wearing the “CROSS”. Now how bout that! I am in Jerusalem right now and headed back to the states…..the spirit of Christ is truly here but He has ascended……and what he died and rose for yes we have the cross as a symbolic symbol! However, if I didnt have “RELATIONSHIP” with my father in HEAVEN, the fact that people wear it who dont have relation, with Him would be an offense to me…..but its not! The fact that my mother can’t ride in my car and play her favorite 8tracks……LOL but now has to put in a CD, that is now the way of time…..and guess what she’s not offended but only now sit back and relax and sign along with the CD and sing “IF I COULD TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME”. Get some relationship and be ready to bow down to “The Most High God”……minus the scarf!

  • MikaDee

    I just wanted to say
    1)Kudoos for those who actually did research, most ppl just blindly believe and comment on things before getting a full picture.

    2) Just because 1 Muslim is quoted as feeling a certain way about things doesn’t make it a truth for all Muslims. Just like 1 black person or 1 Christian doesn’t speak for the entire group. It seems this is an obvious statement except when it comes to Muslims. Understand that culture plays a major role unfortuately for many Muslims.. the religion it self is perfect while its followers are not.

    3) regarding the lady in Sudan and the teddy bear issue.. I hope its clear not that she was not harmed at all in this event.. no lashing.. no execution..just deportation. Again I thought it was common knowledge until reading a few posts on here.

    Before you go out and condemn an entire group of ppl or even before you take 1 news story as being the whole truth and nothing but, I suggest that you all educate yourselfs. Understand why so many people outside the US see us as lazy Americans.. we believe EVERYTHING our news reports as the truth and have NO desire to learn about whats really going on in the world or our own backyards.. In this day and age we have no excuse for being uniformed and out of touch

  • Nadine

    If I were you JD, I’d take that shit back to Kandahar where u got it from. It’s ugly and it’s lame as hell. The Muslims have no style as far as I’m concerned…For crying out out, these people tried to kill a woman who’s teaching their children, because she named a frickin teddy bear Muhammad! LAME!!

  • Mrz.krissy4life

    how iz dat threatening 2 them?