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.