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Founded by two sisters in 2008, the French webzine Hijab and the City has a unique place in the French cultural landscape. In an interview given to the online news outlet Rue89, one of Hijab and the City’s stated goals was to “give a voice to those who are often talked about but never talked to.”
As one blogger friend summed up succinctly, Hijab and the City is “a blog for girls who happen to be Muslim and not a Muslim blog for girls.” The “girly” content follows suit, with the usual rubrics one would find in a mainstream French magazine: fashion, love, cooking. The difference is that Hijab and the City also addresses issues of interest to Muslim women or women of Muslim culture in France, with articles like “You Know Eid’s Coming When...” Another article, “Prepare Your Vacation Well” address common issues before going on vacation- how to pack, what to bring, but with a Muslim twist: readers are enjoined to find cat or dog sitters for their animals, because “not taking care of your pet all the way is mistreatment, condemned in Islam” and “we all know what happened [in the hadith] to the woman who didn’t feed her cat.”
“Dumped by texto” is not what you would normally see on a “Muslim” site for girls, but—newsflash, people!—some Muslim girls date! Some are more serious topics related to Muslimahs treated with aplomb, like “She doesn’t fast,” an examination of the reasons and justifications for those who don’t fast and the people who condemn them. It asks the question, “Is it really shocking for us, as Muslims and westerners, to know that someone in our family, a friend or a stranger at a cafe isn’t doing Ramadan? People who don’t fast often cite the respect of their private life, but is that really the case as often we consider we have the right to say something to someone coming from the same community?” And finally, because it is a “girl” blog after all, the Fashion rubric is French with a Muslim twist, with articles like “Head Scarf Tutorial” (in English, natch), but also “What to Pack,” which could have easily been a spread in Marie Claire.
As a Muslimah and a self-fashioned tech blogger with her foot in social media, Hijab and the City impresses me. The language and the tone of their articles is in keeping with the way young French women view their world. Unlike insta-fatwa sites run by men and straight-outta-1998 masjid websites, Hijab and the City is sets itself apart with its sleek design and “web 2.0 compliant” full frontal social media platform (Facebook, Twitter and Youtube). Hijab and the City, with its decidedly French flair, is on trend and in keeping with its time, both in its platform and content.