"Modest and fabulous": Muslim women get new magazine

Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:01am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - There's a beautiful model on the cover, a teaser about an article on sex and a swimsuit spread, but what makes Asia's newest women's magazine stand out is its audience: stylish, modern Muslims.

"Aquila," which means sensible and intelligent in Arabic, was launched last month by founder and publisher Liana Rosnita Redwan-Beer as the first magazine to cater for young, educated Muslim women with a worldly outlook who also want to remain true to their faith.

"Modest and fabulous" is the magazine's slogan.

"This is a magazine for someone like me, like my sisters, women who have careers, who wear suits, jeans, gladiator sandals, who may or may not wear the hijab headscarf, who may or may not look like what a Muslim women is supposed to look like, but who are very much Muslims," said Redwan-Beer, a Singaporean now based in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

While there are plenty of magazines in the Middle East and Asia targeting women in general, Aquila, published in English, distinguishes itself by focusing on a market that would normally read Western-style staples such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Marie Claire, and who crave something that addresses issues more relevant to them.

"We're not a magazine that preaches, we don't tell our readers what is right or wrong; but we help them live their lives to the fullest by including information about Islam in the context of modern living," Redwan-Beer told Reuters.

Redwan-Beer set up Aquila last year and said the idea for the magazine, published every two months, came after her husband asked why there wasn't a publication for modern Muslims like her.

"We looked into potential markets and we asked all our friends in Europe, Asia and around the world to see if there was a similar venture. We came up with nothing," she said.   Continued...

<p>Veiled women walk past a mannequin at a shopping bazaar in Sanaa March 1, 2009. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah</p>