BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
A NEW bi-monthly lifestyle magazine for Asian cosmopolitan Muslim women, especially in Southeast Asia, was recently launched in Singapore.
The new magazine, Aquila Asia, is published by Aquila Media Pte Ltd in Singapore and produced by PT Aquila Media in Jakarta. It was launched last March and claimed a circulation of some 30,000 in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore where it made its first appearance last June.
“Aquila is Arabic term for intelligence”, said Liana Rosnita Redwan-Beer, 32, a Singaporean Muslim, the magazine’s founder and publisher, who residing in Jakarta. She described Aquila Asia as something of a hybrid between US magazine Cosmopolitan and high-society publication Tatler, saying that other Muslim magazines in the region are more focus on religion rather than their readers’ lifestyles.
The publisher claims it as the first English magazine in the world which adapts international styles to suit the fashion needs of modern Muslim women and advises Muslims where to pray and eat in their travel articles. Beside, it has worldwide contributors on topics that are relevant to the modern Muslim woman at home, at work, in love and at play, and has high quality, chic and intelligent magazine for Muslim women in English.
Liana Rosnita said that among of the magazine’s uniquenesses is it carries Muslim women fashion and info on halal food in tourist places. “Fashion which is performed at the international catwalks is not always fit to Muslim women. The thing that I think is how Muslim women could be trendy but respectful for both of those who wearing hijab and not,” Liana said as quoted by BBC.
Liana claimed that so far there was no any English Muslim female magazine which providing information on the places of halal food where Muslims are minority. “We provide info halal food and drink such as in Bali, Hong Kong, and Seoul,” she added.
With a motto “modest and fabulous”, the magazine tries to lure its readers with lifestyle articles related to issues which are faced by Muslims in the world in general from Muslim fashion and beauty, fabulous Muslimahs, home and living, travel, body, mind and spirit to sharia finance, career, art and culture, food, books, entertainment and science.
The May/June issue of Aquila Asia, for an example, features a commentary on polygamy in the Muslim faith, Muslim headscarves, and hymne reconstruction as well as an article on an online shop selling halal sexual wellness products such as moisturiser gels and aphrodisiac capsules.
Laila Achmad, the Aquila’s writer, believed that the magazine could empower Muslim women through their articles because many Muslim women all over the world experience common issues. “Here in Aquila Asia, we bring up those issues through our articles, so in a way we are voicing out those Muslim women’s concerns,” Laila told AFP.
Meanwhile, Liana said that the magazine, however, doesn’t make a judgment call saying that this is what the readers should do or not. “We tell things as how they are,” said Liana, adding that the decision is depended on them.
In the future, the publisher plans to expand its publication beyond the Southeast Asian region. “We will expand the publication of Aquila Asia to other Asean countries such as Brunei and Vietnam, and someday we also publish it in South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan,” Liana told The Brunei Times at her rented mansion with a swimming pool, nearby the South Jakarta’s District Court. She lived there with her Swiss husband. the residence which also has function as Aquila Asia’editorial office. The other office is located at 11th floor of the Wisma Metropolitan in Jalan Sudirman, Jakarta.
However, a criticism over Aquila Asia came from a regional media watchdog, who calls itself Muslimah Media Watch. It critisized the magazine like ‘a kid magazine’, then concluding: “In sum, Aquila is far from divinely inspired.”
3 March 2010