An idea about APs

I first thought of this issue a few years ago, but I don’t think I’ve discussed it on this blog before. So I thought I’d bring it up and see what y’all think about it.

And a disclaimer: I’m doing my best to write things in a non-offensive way and to make sure my facts are correct, but I don’t know much about the Muslim world at all, so if I mess up, I’m sorry. If I’m wrong about something, feel free to call me out on it.

(Recently, on a chat app my phone, I spoke to a guy who grew up in Saudi Arabia and now lives in the UK. I had never spoken to a Saudi person in my life. I said, “I’ve heard X, Y and Z about Saudi Arabia, are those things true?” He confirmed they were and said I was, for an American, “surprisingly well-informed” about Saudi Arabia. Which is really depressing when you think about it because I don’t know much about the country at all. I can name three cities there: Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah. The first two I know about only because they’re famous in the history of Islam, the third I know about only because I read a novel set there. So it’s not that I am well-informed about Saudi Arabia or Muslim issues at all, it’s just that everyone else knows even less than I do. In a blind world, the one-eyed man is king. But moving right along…)

I have an idea about APs for a very specific subset of people: Muslim girls who were taken by a non-custodial parent and are believed to be now living in a Muslim-majority country where the girls and women generally wear some form of the hijab.

I don’t know much about the hijab, but I know there are different types of covering and in a few countries (like Saudi Arabia) women are legally required to wear them, and in other countries it’s just sort of the done thing, a cultural expectation to dress in this way. But I’m not trying to talk about whether a Muslim girl or woman should or should not wear the hijab. What I’m actually thinking is this:

In the countries I’m talking about, the girls and women will usually wear, at minimum, a scarf on their head, and in most cases the scarf covers most or all of their hair. They’ll wear this pretty much all the time they’re out in public. So why, when the NCMEC makes APs for these girls, do they not show that scarf?

Sarah Molouk Amiri, for example, is believed to be in Iran, where the hijab is required by law and just about every female wears some form of head covering even if it doesn’t completely conceal their hair. My Google image search for “Iranian women” turned up a lot of photos of women in various scarves; many of these women wore scarves that covered most or all of their hair, and also their neck up to the chin. Yet Sarah’s latest AP (done four years ago) shows her wearing no headscarf, and her entire neck and parts of her collarbone were also uncovered in the picture. I find it hard to believe that a woman living in Iran, even a super-modern cosmopolitan city girl, would ever dress that way in public. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to show an AP of Sarah dressed in the clothing worn by the females of the country where she’s supposed to be?

And that’s just one example. There are many family abduction cases where the girls are thought to be living in countries where some form of hijab is commonly worn in public. And the NCMEC, when it makes APs for them, NEVER shows them in Islamic clothing. One time, years ago, do an AP of a missing girl who was supposedly in Pakistan, and it did show her wearing a headscarf, which is what made me suddenly realize that this was an issue. They never made another one like it, and when they updated this particular girl’s AP a few years later, the scarf disappeared.

The obvious counter-argument to the “have them wear a scarf in the picture” is that it’s necessary for the APs to show the girls’ hair and neck etc., so we can better see what they look like. And also that if they added a scarf to the picture, people would be distracted by it and be focusing on the scarf rather than the girl/woman’s face.

But the thing is, if they’re living in a country where the hijab is required by law or where nearly all women wear some form of it, literally no one in public is going to see these girls’ hair and neck and collarbones and what have you. So it doesn’t help show what the girl looks like. As for distracting from the focus on the girl’s face, you could argue that, if, say, an Iranian person was looking at Sarah Amiri’s AP, that person might get distracted by the exposed hair and neck and collarbone.

Anyway… So what do you think of my idea? I’m especially interested in hearing from any Muslims in the audience.

Make-a-List Monday: Mary in its various forms

I thought I’d do a Make-a-List Monday for girls and women who have the first name Mary, or some variant of Mary. The various forms of Mary were the most popular female name in the Christian world for 400 years. Because the name was so common, a lot of girls named Mary went by a nickname, or by their middle name, by their first and middle names together.

In 1947 in the United States, “Linda” ousted “Mary” from its position as most popular name. But Mary had the last laugh. Last year, according to the Social Security administration, Mary ranked 124, with 2,604 newborn girls given that name; Linda ranked #671, with just 423 babies named that.

For this list I’m using Nameberry‘s list of Mary’s international variations and list of stylish variations (that is, nicknames), so if you don’t like my choices, blame Nameberry, not me.

If the MP’s name has a * next to it, it means the person is male. John Wayne’s real first name was Marion, and regarding the “Marian” thing, Nameberry says that in Polish, “Marian” is a form of the indubitably male name Marius.

And, of course, I include the usual caveat that I might have missed a few.


  1. Mary Jill Adams
  2. Mary Edna Badaracco
  3. Mary Ann Bagenstose
  4. Mary Lou Bivins
  5. Mary Lou Black
  6. Mary Lou Boston
  7. Mary Eleanor Wolf Brenion
  8. Mary Gertrude Brosley
  9. Mary Rachel Bryan
  10. Mary Jo Burnette
  11. Mary Patricia Burns
  12. Mary Anna Carmelo
  13. Mary Virginia Carpenter
  14. Mary Elizabeth Carter
  15. Mary Margaret Cook
  16. Mary Alice Cox
  17. Mary Louise Day
  18. Mary Elizabeth Dietz
  19. Mary Alice Dixon
  20. Mary Darlene Evans
  21. Mary Carol Hill Fredrick
  22. Mary Geneva Friend
  23. Mary Angela Gallegos
  24. Mary Kathryn Greene
  25. Mary Frances Gregory
  26. Mary Everette Harrison
  27. Mary Louise Hawkins
  28. Mary Alice Helm
  29. Mary Inez Hoy
  30. Mary Frances Hunter
  31. Mary Elizabeth Jarrett
  32. Mary Ann Johnson
  33. Mary Sue Kitts
  34. Mary Ann Knightly
  35. Mary T. Kushto
  36. Mary Denise Lands
  37. Mary Georgine Lang
  38. Mary Jacqueline Levitz
  39. Mary Shotwell Little
  40. Mary Jo Lee Long
  41. Mary Elizabeth Loper
  42. Mary Elizabeth Lozano
  43. Mary Ellen Marcum
  44. Mary Louise McCullar
  45. Mary McFadyen
  46. Mary Jean McLaughlin
  47. Mary Kay McMillan
  48. Mary Katherine Miller
  49. Mary Agnes Moroney
  50. Mary Oliva
  51. Mary Opitz
  52. Mary Ann Perez
  53. Mary Francis Pike
  54. Mary Elizabeth Plavnick
  55. Mary Kay Radford
  56. Mary Colette Rawlinson
  57. Mary Elizabeth Rico
  58. Mary Rhodes Robertson
  59. Mary Joetta Roderick
  60. Mary Leah Rodermund
  61. Mary Selmeczki
  62. Mary Lou Sena
  63. Mary Jimmie Shinn
  64. Mary Michelle Sprague
  65. Mary Elizabeth Stuart
  66. Mary Ann Ruth Switalski
  67. Mary Jean Sylvestre
  68. Mary Ann Tautkus
  69. Mary Kathleen Thill
  70. Mary Jo Thompson
  71. Mary Rachel Trlica
  72. Mary Ann Verdecchia
  73. Mary Louise Walker
  74. Mary Louise Watkins
  75. Mary Anne Wesolowski
  76. Mary Ann White
  77. Mary Elizabeth Wilcox
  78. Mary Alice Williams
  79. Mary T. Zedalis


  1. Maria Aguilar
  2. Maria Florence Anjiras
  3. Maria Luisa Berania
  4. Maria Senorina Bolanos-Rivera
  5. Maria Isabel Pacheco Buendia
  6. Maria Del Carmen-Perez
  7. Maria Isabel Emeterio
  8. Maria Pomona Cruz Estrada
  9. Maria Estrada-Torres
  10. Maria Isaia Flores Rubio
  11. Maria Gomez
  12. Maria Quizhpe Guaman
  13. Maria Socorro Kimbrell
  14. Maria De Jesus Martinez
  15. Maria De Los Angeles Martinez
  16. Maria Antonia Mauricio
  17. Maria Medel
  18. Maria Gabriela Medina
  19. Maria Mendoza
  20. Maria Mendoza (II)
  21. Maria Nina Miller
  22. Maria Ann Monrean
  23. Maria Guadalupe Montano
  24. Maria Oliveras Negron
  25. Maria Magdalena Carralejo Ojeda
  26. Maria Rosario Olea
  27. Maria Dolores Rosales Pacheco
  28. Maria De Lourdes Pahl
  29. Maria C. Procopio
  30. Maria I. Reyes
  31. Maria Theresa Ruthling
  32. Maria Ines Salazar
  33. Maria Sanchez
  34. Maria Theresa Santos
  35. Maria G. Serrano
  36. Maria De Jesus Valdovinos


  1. Marie Ann Blee
  2. Marie Theresa Cherry
  3. Marie Chantal Delly
  4. Marie D. Jost
  5. Marie Lopez
  6. Marie Musial
  7. Marie Lucie Sagasta
  8. Marie Elizabeth Spannhake
  9. Marie Simonia Wade
  10. Marie Ann Watson
  11. Marie Antionette White


  1. Miriam A. Cavallo
  2. Miriam Ruth Hemphill


  1. Marian Elizabeth Brown
  2. Marian Joan Hurley
  3. Marian Madys*


  1. Marion Fye
  2. Marion Gonangnan
  3. Marion Bobby Gresham Sr.*
  4. Marion McCleneghan-Sodo
  5. Marion Arthur Osuna*
  6. Marion George Perry*
  7. Marion Grant Watts*
  8. Marion Marquez Williams*


  1. Marianne Bowers
  2. Maryanne Jane Ruffini
  3. Marianne Waters


  1. Maureen Russell Baca
  2. Maureen Erin Fields
  3. Maureen Webb


  1. Mara Gorelik


  1. Mariel Encarnacion
  2. Mariela Roblero Bravo


  1. Mari Ann Fowler


  1. Molly Laura Dattilo
  2. Molly Anne Franquemont
  3. Molly Miller


  1. Polly Kay Miclean


  1. Mamie Brown


  1. Minnie Evette Taylor