Sunday, April 23, 2006

Would you wear a pair of Al-Quds jeans?

Al-Quds Jeans" Divide Austrian Muslims

By Ahmed Al-Matboli,

IOL Correspondent
VIENNA, April 22, 2006 ( – A new Italian line of jeans designed for Muslims and named after the holy city of Al-Quds has drawn mixed reactions among young Austrian Muslims.
"It is a victory for Islam, to my way of thinking, when clothing makers race to lure Muslims into buying their designs," Egyptian-born student Haitham Abdul-Mohsen told Saturday, April 22.
Mohamad Labib, a tradesman, believes that the new design will appeal to a broad section of Muslim youths in Europe.
"I think it will be much sought-after among fashion-conscious practicing Muslim youths," he noted.

The Udine-based Italian company said Al-Quds Jeans are designed to be extra roomy so as to avoid the Muslim wearer stiffness while kneeling during prayers.
The pockets are also designed to accommodate the usual array of accessories Muslims have to remove whilst they worship.
Abdel Hamid Shaari, president of the Islamic Cultural Institute in Milan, said in remarks published by Italian media outlets that the design could open up a big market in countries with large Muslim populations.

"About 90 percent of Muslims, aside from a niche that wants Armani and other top designer-jeans, generally seek jeans that are both (wear) resistant and comfortable and not expensive," he said.
The company says the jeans are sold at a promotional price of $22.53, hoping to make an impact first among the 1.1 million-strong Muslim minority in Italy.

If successful, the company will plan to reach out to the estimated 18 million Muslims living in Europe.
Luca Corradi, designer of the new jeans, said the design is made by a plant near Karachi, Pakistan, that employs about 15,000 people.
Some 9,500 pairs of the new jeans have been produced and sold to French retailer Carrefour SA.

"Cheap Propaganda"
Other Austrian Muslims are not enthusiastic to name clothes after Muslim sacred places like Al-Quds, seeing it as "cheap propaganda" from such profit-seeking companies.
"I'm pretty sure that the company at issue knows well how dear Al-Quds is held by the Muslims," Syrian researcher Samer Ziyad said.
"We have never heard about any products named after the Vatican, Knesset of the 'wailing wall.'"
And he has got a clear message for the Italian company: "Stop exploiting our sanctities and Al-Quds," which is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine.
Other Muslim youths said the jeans entrench the stereotype that Muslims were isolationists, who tend to create ghettos or parallel societies inside their respective European countries.
Tunisian-born student Ahmad Salama said Muslims are in no need to specially-designed jeans.
"We can buy baggy jeans flooding the stores," added his colleague Ahmed Basiouni.