A Niqab wearing housewife is poised to win the Dubai version of American Idol. The Million's Poet is an Arabic reality TV show that is a competition for the most talented poet in Arabic prose with a cash prize of over a million dollars.
Hissa Hilal, the outspoken Saudi housewife, pictured above has become a heroine for women's rights speaking out in her poetry against fundamentalism, censorship of the press and even the validity the clerical fatwas and decrees.
Or on suicide bombers,
"When I unveil the truth, a monster appears from his hiding place; barbaric in thinking and action, angry and blind; wearing death as a dress and covering it with a belt."
The former journalist and poetry editor who is now considered to the front runner in the contest, has received death threats, but claims that she is not afraid. She defends wearing the Niqab.
"When I went to some open (Muslim) countries, I noticed that western people looked at me suspiciously because I was wearing the niqab, but they would not do the same when they see a Sikh wearing the turban,"
And then goes on to blame the radical fundamentalists
"Who is responsible for this suspicious look? Who made it happen? It was this kind of people - extremists - who have given us a bad name. Muslims, instead of being respected, are a source of fear and suspicion because of these people."
This Youtube link from CBS (they won't let you imbed) explains the popularity and positive influence this intelligent and brave woman is having.
She makes me feel somewhat pedestrian today sitting my Mississauga kitchen after watching American Idol last night.