Tuesday, June 21, 2005
sharq magazine launched in london
Why do British Arab men go back to their home countries to find brides rather than marrying Arab girls brought up in the UK? This is one of the topics covered in the first issue of “Sharq”, a new glossy magazine of British Arab Culture.
In her article “Takeaway Bride”, Layla Maghribi argues that only an Arab girl raised in Britain can understand the bi-cultural upbringing of an Arab British man.
She asks: “What is it that our fellow compatriots have on the Arab continent that is sending the men over, away from the local and familiar women?” She blames among other things the laziness of Arab men, who take the easy option, and the snobbishness and unapproachability of many Arab women in Britain.
In their countries of origin, British Arab men are viewed as a “fine catch indeed.” And they may think women back home make “better wives”, and are more likely to be “pure.” But Maghribi says that girls back home could actually have a more “colourful history” than Arab girls in London.
The content of “Sharq” is a mixture of features, interviews, fashion shoots, beauty, travel, regular columns, reviews and listings of forthcoming events. The magazine has an agony Tante, Suhad Jarra, and a Girl About Town, Ranya Khalil.
The cover of the first issue is graced by a photograph of the musician, model and broadcaster Mona Ibellini. The caption reads: “Mona Ibellini: the New Alicia Keys?”
Sharq’s Editor in Chief and Creative Director is Reem Maghribi, who writes in her editorial: “I have had the pleasure of meeting some fabulously talented and generously spirited Arabs over the past few months.”
She mentions among others Isam, Waqas and Lenny, the members of Danish group Outlandish whose hip-hop is inspired by their Honduran, Pakistani and Moroccan origins.
The magazine includes a features by Judith Brown on “The Image of Arabs in the British Media.” The chairman of Arab Media Watch, Sharif Nashashibi, gives a first hand account of the daily ordeal of travelling around Palestine, and also contributes an interview with Dr Yahya Aridi, the director of the new Syrian media centre in London.
There is a review of the play “My name is Rachel Corrie”, based on the life of the American peace activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in March 2003. On a lighter note, in the Dating, Courting & Relationships section four women “tell all about blind dates, arranged marriages, a slapper and a mother-in-law.”
“Sharq” is sold by subscription and at hotels and newsagents in areas of London frequented by Arabs. It is to be welcomed as giving a voice to the new generation of Arabs brought up in Britain, provided it survives the tough challenges involved in establishing a new publication.
Saudi Gazette June 21 2005