Behind guarded doors on the Arizona State University campus, Huda Shrourou and 350 girls and women walked across a red carpet and partied in a way
unknown to most outside Muslim circles.
In public, Shrourou wears a hijab, or head scarf, that frames her face and
modest clothes that cover her body as prescribed by her Islamic faith. But
this month, the 16-year-old Tempe McClintock High School junior put on
makeup and jewelry, did her hair and donned a bluish-purple ball gown in an
event that honored the accomplishments, independence and strength of Muslim
"A big misconception is that we just stay at home," Shrourou said. "I think
this does show we do have fun."
No men, including Muslims and fathers of the women, were permitted to the
10th-annual Al-Mu'minah Graduation Reception and Ball, providing a
comfortable place for the women to dress liberally. Shrourou disagrees with
the many non-Muslims who may see the traditional dress style for women as a
symbol of oppression. In contrast, she and others say the mission of
Al-Mu'minah, which translates to "the believing woman," is to strengthen
and enrich the young Muslim woman.
Aneesah Nadir, a professor at ASU West and founder of Al-Mu'minah,
described the group as a Muslim version of the Girl Scouts. The group held
its first celebration in Nadir's back yard with 30 girls and women in 1994
and continued to grow as the Valley's Muslim population increased..