The prom countdown was nearly complete...But as she looked at her reflection in the mirror, her one-shoulder lavender gown matching the elaborate hijab that framed her face in a cascade of flowers — a style learned on YouTube — Tharima Ahmed knew that what lay ahead was more than simply a prom.
^As organizer of Hamtramck High School’s first all-girl prom, which conforms to religious beliefs forbidding dating, dancing with boys or appearing without a head scarf in front of males, Tharima, 17, was forging a new rite of passage for every teenage Muslim girl who had ever spent prom night at home, wistfully watching the limousines roll by.“Hi, guys — I mean girls!” Tharima, a Bangladeshi-American, exuded into the microphone as 100 girls — Yemeni-American, Polish-American, Palestinian-American, Bosnian-American and African-American — began pouring into the hall on Bangladesh Avenue.This was prom, Hamtramck-style...In this season of wobbly heels and cleavage, the bittersweet transformation of teenagers in jeans and T-shirts into elegant adults barely recognizable to their friends is an anticipated tradition. But at the all-girl prom, there were double double-takes, as some of Tharima’s classmates, normally concealed in a chrysalis of hijab and abaya, the traditional Muslim cloak, literally let their hair down in public for the first time.Eman Ashabi, a Yemeni-American who helped organize the event...stunned her friends. “It’s ‘Oh my god!’ ” said Simone Alhagri, a Yemeni-American junior who was wearing a tight shirred dress. “This is how you look underneath!”...Tharima and her friends...found that 65 percent were not able to attend the coed prom because of cultural and religious beliefs. After discussion, the school supported the student-driven alternative. In addition to Muslim girls (and alumnae who never got the opportunity), non-Muslim students wanted to go, too. “I want to support all my girls,” said Sylwia Stanko, who was born in Poland and whose friends are mostly Bengali or Arabic. “I know how important it is to them.”...Jewish girls?And even Israel could learn something, that mosque decibels can be handled:During her English class, Tharima can hear the call to prayer over loudspeakers from the Islah Islamic Center a few blocks from school...The mosque, one of five in the city, was the subject of controversy in 2004, when some people strenuously objected to the city’s decision to allow it to broadcast prayers five times a day; the city ultimately prevailed, regulating the hours when the call may be sounded.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Not Quite A Bat-Miztvah