“There are almost 1.2 billion Muslim people in the world. At least 15 of us are not terrorists,” quipped Obaida Abdel-Rahim, 28. “It could even be more than that. Maybe even a lot more.”
The Calgary, Canada-born Abdel-Rahim owns the Muslim t-shirt business Phatwa Factory, one of several Middle Eastern-accented t-shirt businesses to spring up in saucy retort to the outpouring of anti-Muslim sentiment since 9/11.
From Rootsgear’s “100 percent Randomly Searched at the Following Airports” and casualdisobedience.com’s “Enemy Combatant” tees, to the lighter “Lebanese Princess,” and “Allah’s Little Angel,” they are getting their message across.
Abdel-Rahim, who now lives in Gainesville, Florida, said he hopes to use humorous slogans to bust US stereotypes about Muslims.
“The best thing to happen to Muslim clothing since pants under a thawb [traditional men’s robe],” says a slogan for Phatwa Factory, which he started in 2006.
“I’d like Muslims to know that it’s okay to laugh,” he said, “and non-Muslims to know that we have a sense of humor.”
Dalia Ghanem had a similar idea. The New Jersey-born, Egypt-descended clothing designer dreams up hip t-shirts for people of Arabic heritage. She decided Arab-Americans needed a more optimistic representation of their culture after 9/11. (MORE)