Two Muslim Women Are Headed to Congress. Will They Be Heard?

Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar speaks to a group of volunteers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 13, 2018. (KEREM YUCEL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The first time a veil was worn on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, the wearer was not, as one would expect, a Muslim woman. Instead, it was a woman named Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic representative from New York. In October 2001, as the ruins of the Twin Towers were still smoldering, Maloney put on a blue burqa, the kind worn by women in Afghanistan, as part of a theatrical appeal to get representatives to vote for a war against the Taliban. “The veil is so thick, it is difficult to breathe,” Maloney declared as part of her plea for war against the Taliban whom she—incorrectly—blamed for the 9/11 attacks.

In January 2019, Ilhan Omar, the congresswoman-elect from Minnesota’s 5th District—who wears a headscarf—will become the first veiled woman to serve in Congress. Much has changed in the past 17 years. The myth of saving Afghan women by bombing their country into oblivion has shown itself to be a devastating proposition. The Taliban are still around, and there is talk of making peace with them as the United States wearies of trying and failing to produce some sort of victory. Maloney is also around, winning her 14th term in last week’s midterm elections, even as Omar won her first. Nor will Omar be the lone Muslim: Joining her will be Rashida Tlaib, a longtime activist of Palestinian descent, who was elected in Michigan’s 13th District.

Maloney, Omar, and Tlaib represent divergent views of feminism. Maloney’s brand is American feminist exceptionalism, in which American women—intrepid and veil-free—are beacons of freedom with a duty to evangelize their particular brand of empowerment, even if it means using bombs.  

If Maloney’s is the feminism from above, bestowed on black and brown women by white ones, the progressivism of Omar and Tlaib represents feminism from below. For both, their experience as community organizers reflects a faith in grassroots work. Theirs is a feminism of choice rather than one erected on glib pronunciations on who is or isn’t free or paternalistic exhortations of what poor immigrants or struggling blue-collar women must do to join the ranks of the elite white feminists who normally dictate U.S. feminist discourse. And because their backgrounds—Somali and Palestinian—have been shaped by long histories of failed foreign interventions, Omar and Tlaib are unlikely to ever to see the liberation of women, Afghan or otherwise, as an argument for war. Yet all three are Democrats—a fact that raises the question of which brand of feminism will ultimately define the future of the Democratic Party.

In the wider world, the elections of Omar and Tlaib have led to much gushing and rejoicing. Compared to President Donald Trump’s rage-fueled rallies, the stories of Omar, who lived in a refugee camp and knew no English when she arrived on U.S. shores at 12, and Tlaib, who grew up partly on welfare as one of 14 siblings, provided some solace. Even if the United States has a president whose cultish following relishes his denunciations of all Muslims as terrorists—in a speech hours before the 2016 presidential election, Trump insisted that Somali refugees were a disaster for Minnesota and that many were joining the Islamic State—here, it seemed, was evidence that the country was not so bad after all. If women like Omar and Tlaib can succeed, then perhaps the United States could be saved.

Beyond the haze of victory lie tremendous challenges. A Pew survey found that attacks against Muslims in 2016 surpassed the previous high in 2001. Half of U.S. Muslims said they felt that it has become more difficult to be Muslim in America than it used to be; three out of four said there was a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the United States, a view that was reiterated by nearly 70 percent of the general public. It wasn’t just discrimination: Many American Muslims reported that they had faced intimidation and threats of bodily harm and seen mosques and other properties vandalized.

The election of two Muslim women won’t necessarily make things better for them. One of the most recent attacks against a veiled Muslim woman took place in Dearborn, Michigan, which is Tlaib’s constituency. The incident, caught on a closed-circuit camera, shows a woman in a headscarf and a long black robe approach the desk at a hospital’s emergency room. Within five seconds, a man approaches from behind her and repeatedly strikes her head with his fist.

The attack is just one of many perpetrated by white men, which add to the general fear that pervades the very Muslim-American communities that the two women will represent. It will be difficult to highlight such crimes and protect these communities within a political milieu where Islamophobia has become a fixture in public discourse.

Defending Muslim-Americans from a perch on Capitol Hill will be a challenge—but reforming the community from the inside, particularly where the rights of Muslim women are concerned, will be just as hard. Communities that feel besieged tend to turn inward, so much so that they become uninterested in internal reform.

Since 2005, when the Muslim scholar Amina Wadud led a mixed-gender congregation in prayer, an act that initiated a campaign for equal rights within worship and mosque spaces, Muslim feminists have worked hard to push for greater rights. Twitter hashtags and online discussion forums have emerged to advocate for women to be admitted in the central worship spaces of mosques instead of being relegated to side entrances. Young Muslim feminists are eager to use the victories of Tlaib and Omar to push equality within the faith. But progress may be slow, and managing their expectations will likely be difficult.

 

Rafia Zakaria

 

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Thanksgiving History Facts and Trivia

Credits: State Archives of Florida

Thanksgiving may be America’s most beloved national holiday, but its history is all over the place. Even the details of the famous feast between the Plymouth Colony settlers and the Wampanoag Indians in November of 1621 are sketchy. The best account we have is a letter from English settler Edward Winslow that never mentions the word “Thanksgiving,” but tells of a weeklong harvest celebration that included a three-day celebration with King Massasoit and 90 Wampanoag men “so we might after a more special manner rejoice together.”

Over the centuries, that briefly-mentioned feast week has taken on a life of its own, with each generation adding its own take on the fall tradition. We’ve pulled together some little-known trivia so you have something to talk about (other than politics) around the Thanksgiving dinner table this November.

Where was the first Thanksgiving?

In Plymouth, Massachusetts, colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast in 1621 that is widely acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations. But some historians argue that Florida, not Massachusetts, may have been the true site of the first Thanksgiving in North America. In 1565, nearly 60 years before Plymouth, a Spanish fleet came ashore and planted a cross in the sandy beach to christen the new settlement of St. Augustine. To celebrate the arrival and give thanks for God’s providence, the 800 Spanish settlers shared a festive meal with the native Timucuan people. Read more.

What did they eat at the first Thanksgiving?

The Thanksgiving meal in Plymouth probably had little in common with today’s traditional holiday spread. Although turkeys were indigenous, there’s no record of a big, roasted bird at the feast. The Wampanoag brought deer and there would have been lots of local seafood (mussels, lobster, bass) plus the fruits of the first pilgrim harvest, including pumpkin. No mashed potatoes, though. Potatoes had only been recently shipped back to Europe from South America. Read more.

When did America first call for a national Thanksgiving?

America first called for a national day of thanksgiving to celebrate victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga. In 1789, George Washington again called for national day of thanks on the last Thursday of November in 1777 to commemorate the end of the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the Constitution. And during the Civil War, both the Confederacy and the Union issued Thanksgiving Day proclamations following major victories.

Which president refused to recognize Thanksgiving?

Thomas Jefferson was famously the only Founding Father and early president who refused to declare days of thanksgiving and fasting in the United States. Unlike his political rivals, the Federalists, Jefferson believed in “a wall of separation between Church and State” and believed that endorsing such celebrations as president would amount to a state-sponsored religious worship. Read more.

What does the poem, 'Mary had a little lamb,' have to do with Thanksgiving?

The first official proclamation of a national Thanksgiving holiday didn’t come until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln called for an annual Thanksgiving celebration on the final Thursday in November. The proclamation was the result of years of impassioned lobbying by "Mary Had a Little Lamb" author and abolitionist Sarah Josepha Hale. Read more.

How long has pumpkin pie been a traditional part of Thanksgiving?

Pumpkin pie was a staple on New England Thanksgiving tables as far back as the turn of the 18th century. Legend has it that the Connecticut town of Colchester postponed its Thanksgiving feast for a week in 1705 due to a molasses shortage. There could simply be no Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Read more.

When did we start canning cranberries?

Cranberries were eaten by Native Americans and used as a potent red dye, but sweetened cranberry relish was almost certainly not on the first Thanksgiving table. The pilgrims had long exhausted their sugar supply by November 1621. Marcus Urann canned the first jellied cranberry sauce in 1912 and eventually founded the cranberry growers cooperative known as Ocean Spray.

How did a botched Thanksgiving order lead to the TV tray dinner?

In 1953, an employee at C.A. Swanson & Sons overestimated demand for Thanksgiving turkey and the company was left with some 260 tons of extra frozen birds. As a solution, Smithsonian reports, a Swanson salesman ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, devised a turkey meal and recruited an assembly line of workers to compile what would become the first TV tray dinners. A culinary hit was born. In the first full year of production, 1954, the company sold 10 million turkey TV tray dinners.

Why is football a Thanksgiving tradition?

The winning combo of football and Thanksgiving kicked off way before there was anything called the NFL. The first Thanksgiving football game was a college match between Yale and Princeton in 1876, only 13 years after Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Soon after, Thanksgiving was picked for the date of the college football championships. By the 1890s, thousands of college and high school football rivalries were played every Thanksgiving. Read more.

Who was the first president to pardon a turkey?

Starting in the 1940s, farmers would gift the president with some plump birds for roast turkey over the holidays, which the first family would invariably eat. While President John F. Kennedy was the first American president to spare a turkey’s life (“We’ll just let this one grow,” JFK quipped in 1963. “It’s our Thanksgiving present to him.”) the annual White House tradition of “pardoning” a turkey officially started with George H.W. Bush in 1989.

Which president received a raccoon as a Thanksgiving gift?

In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge received a somewhat odd Thanksgiving giftin the form of a live raccoon. Meant to be eaten (the Mississippi man who sent it called raccoon meat “toothsome”), the Coolidge family adopted the pet and named it Rebecca. Rebecca was only the latest addition to their already substantial White House menagerie that included a black bear, a wallaby, and a pygmy hippo named Billy. Read more.

When was the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

To celebrate the expansion of its Herald Square superstore, Macy’s announced its very first “Big Christmas Parade” two weeks before Thanksgiving in 1924, promising “magnificent floats,” bands and an “animal circus.” A huge success, Macy’s trimmed the parade route from six miles to two miles and signed a TV contract with NBC to broadcast the now famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. See video

Dave Roos

 

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Dina Torkia's Modestly: There's no one way to be a Muslim woman

Dina Torkia is a blogger and YouTuber with millions of followers worldwide [@dinatokio Twitter]

"This is the story of my life. It's about me as a Muslim Brit embracing dual identities, surviving the turbulent teens and transitioning from self-doubt to self-belief... You can't get a Muslim woman in a hijab with no opinion, am I right?!" The synopsis to influencer Dina Torkia's debut book sets the tone for her journey into inspiring the world of modest fashion. 

Over the last few years, the British Muslim fashion blogger has gone from strength to strength. Today you will see Dina's face plastered for many fashion brands while talking about being a social media sensation to the likes of Vogue. But her journey began in early 2010, where many hijabis will remember her sharing trendsetting hijab tutorials on a mannequin's head on Facebook. The quality of the video was terrible, she was rather awkward in front of the camera, but none of that mattered: the concept was new, it was unheard of and the hijabi community was taken over with excitement.

She then moved her videos to YouTube and was one of the first headscarf wearing Muslim vloggers sharing her modest fashion creativity online. It was something we had not seen before, and it was refreshing to see awareness being raised about the huge lack of fashion possibilities for women who choose to cover. 

Dina has definitely paved the way for a hijabi presence online, and now boasts more than 800,000 subscribers on YouTube and over a million followers on Instagram. Of course, with such heightened success, one is prone to criticism, as the blogger can recently relate to after being bombarded with negativity over her choice to not wear her headscarf full time. But despite all that, the blogger stands firm on who she is as a person and her first book Modestly gives a great insight to the journey that has brought her here today. 

In the book, which was published by Penguin Random House in September, Dina talks about her childhood growing up half English and half Egyptian, how she met her husband, the struggles of getting married and becoming a mother, how she came to be one of the first Muslim modest fashion bloggers, and everything else in between - sprinkled with headscarf and makeup tutorials and a plethora of modest style advice. Mostly, she writes about the struggles of being a hijabi and about what modesty means to her.

In the book she mentions "the inescapable shedload of bold statements." However, I felt they were more 'statements' without the bold. Some interesting topics aretouched upon but only superficially. They are not really developed into elaborate arguments and the depth I expected them to be in. These 'bold statements' are also never backed with numbers or evidence, and are suggested to be things the reader should know and acknowledge, when in fact they are quite challenging of the common narrative.

However, some interesting topics covered in the book include her relationship with prayer, her views on racism within Muslim communities and her own white privilege, gender stereotyping and double standards when it comes to raising children. She also touches on the taboo of relationships for people of colour as well as talking about sex and marriage.

The first chapter, My Journey, is a biography of her life. It begins with her birth in Cairo in 1989 to moving to London a couple of years later, and then to Wales to settle there with her parents. 

She talks about having her first period at the age of eleven and when she first started to wear the hijab. She describes the awkwardness and difficulty she faced wearing it during a time in her life when it would have been much easier to "dress like the other girls." 

She also speaks extensively of the eating disorder and anxiety she struggled with growing up and as a young woman. She very honestly admits that being a hijabi never protected her from obsessively caring about her weight and appearance and having faith in God did not shield her from a mental illness.

She fights the stereotype that hijabis only care about piety and proves that they too, are normal women and girls who can suffer from the same ills as their non-Muslim, or non-hijab-wearing peers.

The book is a very quick and easy read, it feels more like a fashion or picture book than a serious autobiography, and it would probably not take anyone over two hours to finish it. 

The writing style is not very overwhelming and feels more like speech that has been written down; if you are familiar with Dina Torkia's videos, you will hear her voice speaking the words as you read. In a way, she stays true to herself and her personality, the book feels real, genuine and honest.

However, at the same time, if you have been an avid follower of Dina's blogging past, you will feel that 95 percent of the written content is a repetition of the things she has already said or ranted about on her YouTube channel or on her Instagram posts. But then again, being a book about her life, these repetitions are bound to be encountered.

 

Ilham Essalih

 

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Men's 'modest wear' set for global boom - experts

To keep up with a competitive market and growing demand, Sillas said Shukr is now ‘manufacturing to order’, which has allowed the firm to triple its range of available men’s styles and be more ‘nimble’.

As the international Muslim population expands, the global men’s ‘modest wear’ sector is set to boom, according to experts.

While the world’s media has lavished attention on women’s modest wear and the arrival of mainstream brands into the market, the concept of contemporary modest clothing for men is still nascent.

“There is tremendous opportunity for growth in the modest menswear market because this is a virtually untapped sector, especially in the Western world,” said Anas Sillwood, managing partner of the global Islamic fashion brand Shukr, which has offices in the UK and Jordan.

Amman-based Sillwood told Arabian Business that there are standards for modesty in Islam for both men and women.

“For example, men’s clothing should be loose and not form fitting. Tight trousers with shirts tucked in are not recommended for Muslim men,” he said.

Sillwood explained that modest wear for men usually consists of loose trousers with ‘western-style’ shirts which are slightly longer in length and can hang over trousers ‘covering the rear’.

The British-educated revert entrepreneur told Arabian Business he sees opportunities for men’s modest sportswear and occasion clothing.

He said: “Muslim men are supposed to cover at least the navel to the knee, so there is a need for [sports] shorts of extra length or with an under piece that covers up to the knee.”

Sillwood added that Muslim men often want to wear more ‘traditional’ clothes for religious occasions like Eid.

“They like designs commonly found in the Muslim world, but they want them to have a contemporary edge and to be designed and manufactured according to high end standards,” he said.

Male designs

Modest fashion is gaining mainstream interest across the board, with retailers and brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Uniqlo and Burberry entering the industry.

As the sector gains traction, Muslim spending on clothing and apparel is projected to reach $368 billion by 2021, according to Thomson Reuters – and some of this spend will be driven by males.

Britain’s London Modest Fashion Week featured male collections for the first time this year. The men’s designs on show in February featured kanduras, modest prayer hats and swanky sandals displayed on the centre stage to an expectant crowd of media, bloggers and fashionistas.

According to Sillas, Muslims are becoming more ‘mainstream’ in the west and this is affecting clothing choices.

He said: “Muslims are becoming more integrated and adopting more integrative dress and behaviour. But having said that, the opportunity is there to appeal to Muslim sensibilities in a contemporary way.

“The right creative designs combined with marketing that gels with the western Muslim experience could do really well.”

Western demand

Sillas, who launched Shukr with his business partner Jaafar Malik in 2001, said his company currently sells to over 70 countries and around 20 per cent of sales are in menswear, with the exception of the UK.

Sillas said: “Our percentage of menswear sales are higher in the UK than in any other country. About 30 per cent of our UK sales are menswear, compared to 20 per cent or under for other countries.

“This is largely because the Muslim population in the UK is more comfortable wearing outwardly modest or more traditional clothing, given the nature of the closely-knit Muslim communities in the UK and the well-known British tolerance for diversity and cultural expression.”

Shukr garments are designed in the US, and manufactured in Jordan and Syria. However, the firm mainly targets English-speaking markets in the west, with the largest percentage of sales coming from the US, followed by the UK, Europe and Canada.

“We have seen massive growth in the last decade and constant sales over the last year. However, there is now increased competition from online ‘marketplaces’ for Islamic clothing, such as Turkey’s Modinisa or Malaysia’s Hijub.”

 

Alicia Buller

 

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The Muslim Arts and Culture Festival which is “Spreading Honey Not Hate”

PHOTO: ISABELLA JEWELL

MACFest is the first festival of it’s kind, putting the spotlight on Muslim arts and culture from around the world. The festival will be a celebration of the richness of Muslim culture, showcasing  the art, music, cuisine, history and literature of 10 different countries.

The aim of MACFest is to unite communities; throughout the festival social inclusion is promoted between Muslim and non-Muslims in order to break down barriers and encourage conversations.

It is led by Qaisra Shahraz: a critically acclaimed British-Pakistani novelist who – amongst a long list of awards – was the winner of the National Diversity Awards ‘Lifetime Achiever Award’ in 2016. In an interview, Qaisra described how the scale of MACFest will be “groundbreaking” promising a diverse schedule of events and venues, 30 of which are free to attend.

MACFest will engage people of all ages and denominations, including school, college and university students using venues within the local community for the events. Venues include The British Muslim Heritage Centre, as well as our own Manchester Academy.

Having examined the enormous list of events, we have selected three free events which seem too exciting to miss.

On the 17th November is the panel event, ‘Celebrating Famous Muslim Writers from Around the World with Ajmal Masroor’, which will include an Authors’ Reading, as well as a Book Launch. Writers include Leila Aboulela, Ajmal Masroor, Yasmin Alibhai Brown, General Aamar Aftab, Rabia Avci, Hussam Haj Omar, Sahar.

If the fantastic line-up alone doesn’t excite you, Arts and Film editors Bella Jewell and Aisha Al-Janabi will be introducing the Sudanese author, Leila Aboulela, whose writing explores identity and the stories of Muslims in Europe.

On the 18th November the 13th Century poet and philosopher, Rumi, will be celebrated at the British Muslim Heritage Centre, where Gulcin Bulut, Pasha Abdollahi, Masoud Ghasemi, Farshid Mahyari and the Sahba Ensemble will perform ‘The Alchemy of Love’.

Bella Jewell

 

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Beyond the Burka: 'Contemporary Muslim Fashion' at the de Young

Melinda Looi (b. 1973, Malaysia) in turban, earrings, rings and tie-dyed effect long dress for the Sunset in Africa collection, 2012. Part of the 'Contemporary Muslim Fashions' show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, running through January 6, 2019.

As the first major exhibit to explore the intricacies of global Muslim fashion, Contemporary Muslim Fashions, running through Jan. 6 at the de Young, finally features a more accurate depiction of Muslim women—one that leaves the stereotypical black burka behind.

The exhibit features rows of beautifully dressed mannequins—both bare-headed and veiled. The yards of brightly-colored fabric represent more than Muslim style; they symbolize the importance of diversity and access. Altogether, it's a show that has already empowered Bay Area Muslims.

Curators Jill D’Alessandro and Laura L. Camerlengo consulted with the Bay Area’s Muslim community (which numbers over 250,000) and Reina Lewis, a professor of cultural studies at the London College of Fashion, to dig past the misrepresentations of Islam in mainstream media. They perused social media—the main platform used by Muslim women who want to reclaim their narrative—to select the 80 ensembles and 40 photographs featured in the exhibit, including Muslim pioneers like Halima Aden, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Mona Haydar.

These trailblazers serve as important reminders that Muslim women, like all women, have varying interests—and “modest” clothing will not stop them. Halima Aden’s religiosity does not interrupt her modeling career. Ibtihaj Muhammad fences while wearing the Nike Pro hijab. And Mona Haydar proves it’s possible to be a Muslim rapper. All of these women may have their religion in common, but their methods of practicing and their passions vary.

Muslim women can climb in Sarah Elenany’s “Hoody Dress” or swim in Aheda Zanetti’s burkinis without compromising their piety or personal definition of modesty. It is possible to participate in sports, entertainment, music and fashion while still being Muslim. In this, the de Young exhibit’s focus on varying interests explores recreations, rituals, and roots—and draws attention to the diversity within the 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.

As a global religion, Islam draws influence from all parts of the world, and molds to each country’s culture. The Malaysian songkets used in Dian Pelangi’s designs differ from the lehengas found in Pakistan, or the African influenced designs by Naima Muhammad. But all of these garments, varying in modesty, are worn by Muslim women.

 

Ilaf Esuf

 

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9 Fun Thanksgiving 2018 Activities That Aren't Football In The Front Yard

Evgenij Yulkin/Stocksy

Thanksgiving is either one of the busiest days of the year or the laziest. If you're hosting, it's a whirlwind of cooking and cleaning. If you're a guest, your only job is to show up and eat. There are lots of hours to fill until dinner though, so you might as well do something fun. On TV shows, it seems like everyone organizes a game of football, but if you're like me and don't have an athletic bone in your body, you'll want an alternative. Luckily, there are tons of fun Thanksgiving activities that aren't football in the front yard to pass the time until the turkey's out of the oven.

If you're lucky enough to be celebrating the holiday with a big group of family and friends, it's a perfect time to organize an outing or an activity that everyone will enjoy (not to mention keep the kids from getting in the way in the kitchen or complaining that they're bored). That may involve giving back to the community, laying out an arts and crafts table, or simply kicking back in front of the TV for a holiday-themed Netflix viewing.

Here are nine fun Thanksgiving day activities that the whole family can actually do together, and actually enjoy it.

1. Volunteer

On a day all about expressing gratitude for the blessings in your life, why not take some time to give to others who are less fortunate. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer on Thanksgiving. Pop Sugar suggested delivering meals to the needy, serving meals to the homeless, or visiting elderly people who might otherwise spend the day alone.

2. Run A Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving is the most popular day of the year to run a race, according to Runner's World. Even if you're a beginner, a 5k race is probably doable. And best of all, many of these events raise money for charity.

3. Watch A Parade

Thanksgiving's a great day for a parade. The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade features several new balloons and floats this year according to Mommy Poppins. If you'd rather see a parade live and in person, see if there's a local Thanksgiving parade to check out near where you live.

4. Get Crafty

Is it even Thanksgiving until your kid has traced their hand and made a turkey? Country Living has some great ideas for Thanksgiving crafts that will help keep the little ones occupied until dinner.

5. Give Thanks

Adults can get in on the crafting, too. Better Homes & Gardens suggested putting together a family thankful jar where everyone writes down what they're thankful for, which can then be read aloud over dinner.

 

Kristina Johnson

 

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15 Options for Thanksgiving 2018 Dining and To-Go Orders in Metro Phoenix

Turkey to Brussels sprouts to holiday pies — where to eat and what to do bring this Thanksgiving.

Poor Thanksgiving, all but forgotten while sandwiched between the mega holidays. But there’s a way we can fight back — partaking in the many Thanksgiving dining options and to-go bundles happening throughout metro Phoenix on that very special Thursday of eating.

From sage-roasted sliced turkey to sweet potato pie with salted pretzel crust, here are 15 places offering fantastic Turkey Day entrees, sides, desserts, and more indulgences throughout the Valley on November 22.

EXPAND Find slow-roast turkey breast and seasonal pies at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails this Thanksgiving. (Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix)

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
2 East Jefferson Street
Avoid the kitchen and set your eyes on the Thanksgiving menu at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Start with the roasted heirloom carrots and honey crisp apple soup and a shaved Brussels sprout salad before moving on to Thanksgiving dinner — an order of slow-roasted turkey breast, confit dark meat, smoked potato salad, haricot vert, rosemary marcona almonds, and tart cranberries. Other entree options include an eight-ounce filet of beef, handmade pasta, and blackened salmon. Seasonal pies will also be available. The Turkey Day menu is available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and to make a reservation, call 602-258-0231.

A 12- to 14-pound turkeys slow roasted over almond and mesquite wood is available for pickup at Bobby-Q's.

Bobby-Q Great Steaks & Real BBQ
Multiple Locations
For famed smoked Thanksgiving turkey, roasted over almond and mesquite wood, your obvious choice is Bobby-Q Great Steaks & Real BBQ. They’ve been packaging up Thanksgiving dinners for pickup since 2005, and this year is no different. You also get a quart of mashed potatoes, a quart of fire-roasted corn, a pint of gravy, and eight pieces of cornbread made from scratch for $75, or just pick up the turkey for $55. Turkey orders must be placed at 602-995-5982 a minimum of 72 hours in advance of the pick-up date — available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21.Bring the roasted butternut squash from Flower Child and you'll be a hero.

Flower Child
Multiple Locations

If you’re tasked with bringing a side dish to your host’s Thanksgiving dinner, consider grabbing one from Flower Child. Choose from the yuzu Brussels sprouts (with golden miso and Thai basil), the roasted butternut squash (with black kale, toasted mulberry, and maple chestnut vinaigrette), and the smashed organic potatoes (with roasted garlic and thyme). Each side is said to feed 10 to 12 guests and run $24 each. Right on.

EXPAND Imagine Thanksgiving dinner at Frank & Albert’s.

Frank & Albert’s 
2400 East Missouri Avenue

Frank and Albert's is hosting a three-course Thanksgiving menu from 1 to 9 p.m. Think starters like their signature tortilla soup, roasted acorn squash, and sherry bisque, while your turkey will be sided by buttermilk whipped potatoes, and sourdough stuffing with roasted chestnuts, apples, and sage. To follow, choose from traditional holiday pies, tortes, and small bites from the onsite pastry team. Thanksgiving dinner is $65 for adults, and $30 for children 5 to 12. Reservations are required at 602-955-6600.

Hearth ’61
5445 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale

This Mountain Shadows restaurant in Paradise Valley is offering a Thanksgiving dinner menu of butternut squash soup, a main course of slow-roasted Two Wash Ranch turkey, and sides like classic mashed potatoes, chorizo cornbread, stuffing, local organic vegetables, cranberry orange relish, and country gravy. Plus you get choice of bourbon pecan or pumpkin pie for dessert. Dinner at Hearth ’61 is 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and reservations can be made at 480-624-5458. There’s also a Thanksgiving to-go option of a full turkey dinner for $38 per person and choice of pie. Call 480-624-5431 by 5 p.m.Tuesday, November 20, for Thanksgiving pick-up.

M Culinary Concepts
20645 North 28th Street
The chefs at M Culinary Concepts are offering Thanksgiving2Go — a ready-to-eat meal for six (and for every purchased meal package, they'll donate one to the local UMOM organization). The package includes sage-roasted sliced turkey, turkey gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, herb stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, sauteed corn, roasted red onion, and pull-apart rolls with butter. You’ll also get you choice of a 10-inch pumpkin or apple pie. Add-ons include sage-roasted sliced thigh meat, baked yams with marshmallow, green bean amandine, and slow-cooked Brussels sprouts with bacon and onions. Cost is $249 before any add-ons. Be sure to get your order in by 3 p.m. on Friday, November 16, for a Thanksgiving Day pick-up.

EXPAND Enjoy Turkey Day with a holiday buffet at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa.

Royal Palms
5200 East Camelback Road
The Royal Palms resort is offering a holiday buffet in the Palmera Ballroom serving breakfast, light lunch options, charcuterie, decadent sides, seafood, and pasta. The buffet is packed with appetizing options like the Royal Palms Spanish paella, ballerine pasta rustica, chilled poached shrimp, oysters, crab claws, herb-crusted prime rib, an assortment of pastries, a waffle station, and more. The buffet runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Cost is $85 per person, $32 for children 6 to 12, and free for kids 5 and under. Make reservations at 602-283-1234.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort
5700 East McDonald Drive
You get two choices at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort — a four-course, prix-fixe menu at Sanctuary’s signature restaurant elements, or a Thanksgiving buffet in The Views ballroom. Elements offers the Traditional Turkey Dinner, plus entrée choices like butternut squash and ricotta raviolis, spice crusted sea bass, roasted vegetable Wellington, and even sweet potato pie with salted pretzel crust for dessert. Dinner at elements is $105 per person from noon to 8 p.m. The Views’ Thanksgiving buffet is $95 per person from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations are required at 480-607-2300.

Sushi Roku
7277 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
Sushi Roku is offering a gourmet four-course Thanksgiving feast from Monday, November 19, through Thanksgiving Day. The menu features an all-natural, sous-vide cooked Diestel Family Farms turkey, sided with country bread stuffing, sweet potato puree, roasted haricot verts, and maple pecan cranberry relish. You can also add in some Red Kuri squash soup, Brussels sprouts and radicchio salad, and pumpkin bread pudding. The four-course, pre-fixe Thanksgiving meal is $42 per person, and reservations can be made at 480-970-2121.

T. Cook's
5200 East Camelback Road
The Thanksgiving three-course, prix-fixe menu at T. Cook's at Royal Palms offers choices of starters, entrees, and desserts. Standouts include a roasted chestnut and pumpkin soup, Cinderella pumpkin ravioli, roasted free-range Diestel turkey, grilled Maine lobster with short rib cannelloni, and spiced pumpkin pie or cream cheese brûlée for dessert. Thanksgiving at T. Cook's goes from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cost is $95 per person, $38 for children 6 to 12, and free for kids 5 and under. Make reservations at 602-808-0766.

 

LAUREN CUSIMANO

 

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Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is causing an Alarm in Kenya

According to Star News, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Kenya is reported to be at least 357 as of January 5th 2018. However, for the past three months (September to November), one case particular case of violence has hit all media houses. A string of dramatic narration of events come with it: One victim is Rongo University student Sharon Otieno who found herself in a complex situation as she was dating the County Governor of Migori County in south nyanza Kenya. She was also pregnant by him.

This is a very common example of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Kenya, but this particular one caught the public eye due to the rank of the perpetrator in the country: the Governor Okoth Obado who committed a murder most foul. The accused is out on bond of five million Kenya shillings and he is back into politics - this shows that he is confident of the judiciary which has a habit of protecting the high and the mighty in the government. Justice for the family members of the late Sharon Otieno remains elusive.

The Suspects to the murder are still in court but the woman and her fetus are no more - hence they are charged with two murder cases. The family of the deceased is seeking justice from the Judiciary in Kenya but what I fail to analyze is why do women fail to get signal of an abusive partner and stay away? Is it too late to walk out or why do we take very big risks for our spouses?

Women and Gender-Based Violence (GBV)

A woman always knows and notices when a man is harsh or violent. What I mean is that when a man shouts at her and keeps numb this will cause future danger to her or family and the man’s aggressive activities will gradually accelerate to higher danger of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) if not acted upon early warning. Usually women like to talk to friends here and there with the hope the man will change but danger lurks ahead.

In Sharon’s case, there must have been days when she and the governor argued as couples do but she didn’t anticipate her murder. Sharon must have noticed the man’s behavior of shouting one time but as usual they kept on giving herself hope that all is well.

The trust and love and comfort she had for the governor made her enter into the vehicle that easily took her to her scene of crime. The Journalist Barack Oduor narrowly escaped death by a whisker as he jumped off the moving vehicle. Little did Sharon know she was the next on the chopping board: she was mercilessly murdered and before that she was repeatedly raped with protection as their intention was to make the sperm/semen unavailable for criminal investigations. This shows their intent to kill.

Love and crime of passion

Women get blindfolded and wallow in fear and fear even telling a neighbor when she finds out her spouse is into illegal or suspicious activities. What makes them to be so naive to understand that the spouse they are living with are up to something mischievous? Do they get any financial aid from the proceeds? Do they fear letting the police know for fear of being caught or fear of getting rejected by her spouse. What more evidence do they need to see from the malicious spouse? Do they do it under coercion or under duress or do they do it voluntary?

This under the penal code chapter IV sec 7 that states as follows: ‘Ignorance of the Law does not afford any excuse for any act or omission which would otherwise constitute an offence unless knowledge of the law by the offender is expressly declared to be an element of the offence.’

Her Spouse was charged with murder contrary to section 203 Penal code CAP 24 Laws of Kenya to another woman Monica Wambui Karanja a third party who was found dead in her residential home with her throat slit. This silence and fear and blinded love might cause her to be an accomplice of an offence whereby being termed as joint offenders in prosecution of common purpose if the court finds her guilty that is contrary to section 21 of the penal code as she is also charged alongside her partner Jowie. Women are empowered economically and professionally but most of us are weak and vulnerable.

Her spouse Jowie, if found guilty of murder, will be charged under the offence punishable by death: penal code per section 204. Besides Section 203, the penal code of Kenya section that defines murder are as follows:

‘Any person who of malice aforethought causes death of another person by unlawful act or omission is guilty of crime of murder’.

How big is fear in love as it costs women a lot of misery ahead?  Are we in such desperation of being single till we sacrifice our image for being engaged with being involved with a criminal? Do we lack awareness that men can be toxic and dangerous or are just vulnerable and weak women simply victims of circumstantial evidence in the name of seeking to fit amongst their mates who are happily married?

 

Ulfat Hussein

Ulfat Hussein is a Kenyan motivational speaker.

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Diwali Decors at Cafe SOL

Cafe Sol, a sunny little coffee house and community space, did something to brighten up their space with lights and diyas for the Hindu friends on this Diwali.

Faraz Talat said,

"Sol commits itself to cultural resistance against the rising tides of extremism. The team takes pride in operating a safe space for women and minorities and celebrating the marginalized cultures of Pakistan. It also takes joy in lending its space to various community-building projects, including free events on mental health awareness".

These are the highlights of the cafe on this Diwali.

 

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