Persistent Dialogue: A Tale of Two Women

Persistent Dialogue: A Tale of Two Women

American Muslims and Sikhs have been experiencing another uptick in aggression against them. Last week shots were fired at a Morton Grove, Ill., mosque; paintball guns left ominous paint splatters all over a mosque in Oklahoma; and an acid bomb was thrown at a Lombard, Ill., Islamic school — all three incidents occurred while the buildings were full of Muslims observing the Ramadan evening prayer service called Tarawih. Even worse, a mosque was burned to the ground in Joplin, Mo.; and most frightening and tragic, six innocent Sikh followers were gunned down in their...
A New Lowe for Anti-Muslim Bigotry

A New Lowe for Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Every Sunday night for the past few weeks my husband and I have been watching TLC’s “All American Muslim.” Neither one of us are in love with this quirky reality show, but still, we’re happy that TLC took the risk to feature these families in prime time on Sunday nights. Our personal complaints about the show have been that Dearborn, Mich., isn’t like the rest of the country for Muslims; most of us live as the minority in our cities and towns. Dearborn gives these families a very unique experience of being Muslim in America. Secondly, these...
A Traditional Muslim Thanksgiving

A Traditional Muslim Thanksgiving

The common narrative of Thanksgiving brings to mind scenes from elementary school plays featuring the happy Pilgrims sharing their harvest feast with happy Native Americans. Both groups shared a communal meal and gave thanks for a bountiful first harvest in the New World. This was the harvest that saved the surviving English settlers from starvation and death after a devastating first winter that diminished their numbers by half. If it hadn’t been for the almost miraculous appearance of the English-speaking Tisquantum — commonly known as Squanto – who...
Muslims Rising Above The Ashes Of Misunderstanding

Muslims Rising Above The Ashes Of Misund...

As the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, we’ll be inundated with reports and recollections of where people were at that moment, what they were doing and how their lives have been changed because of it. This anniversary-keeping activity feels like we have a wound that we know has yet to heal, but we can’t stop ourselves from touching it — just to see if it still hurts. It does. The inevitable media coverage will build now until Sept. 12, when folks will try to get back to normal life still smarting from the big press blitz. Muslim Americans will...
Ramadan Lessons from My Kids

Ramadan Lessons from My Kids

Every year as I prepare for Ramadan, I try to set goals for our family. A couple of nights before the fasting begins, my family patiently listens to my list of things I want us to accomplish — many of which are too ambitious, and many others that boil down to a “Let’s-do-something-as-a-big-happy-Muslim-family” kind of thing. This year, I was feeling frustrated when I noticed a lot of the eye rolling that teenagers do so well as I ticked off my list for them. My husband and I went on to tell them we didn’t want them playing any mindless...
Ramadan Acts of Worship Connect Us to the Suffering of Others

Ramadan Acts of Worship Connect Us to th...

For 30 days during the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan, healthy adult Muslims abstain from drinking a single drop of water or eating a bite of food, from before dawn until after the sun sets in the sky, as a religious obligation to God. Every year Muslims look forward to this test of faith with great longing. Last year I wrote a primer on fasting and Ramadan that can be found here. Each fasting day during August will be a trial on my body and my spiritual resolve. With a decaffeinated, empty stomach, and a thirst that is difficult to tolerate, this act of fasting connects...
Open Letter to President Obama from a Muslim Family

Open Letter to President Obama from a Mu...

Dear President Barack Obama, Along with many American Muslims, my family and I listened to your speech today on the Middle East and North Africa. While I appreciate your encouraging statements to the people of the Muslim world — particularly to those who are currently fighting for dignity and civil rights in their own lands — I also couldn’t help feeling that many Americans are not setting the example of which you spoke when it comes to our own Muslim citizens. Currently, 20 states have introduced anti-Muslim legislation, with more pending. Some of our...
Telling Muslim Women What Not to Wear

Telling Muslim Women What Not to Wear

France has now officially outlawed the Islamic niqab orburqa in public. French President Sarkozy said in 2009, “The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity … The burqa is not a religious sign; it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women. I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory.” This statement by Sarkozy isn’t going to save any Muslim woman’s self-respect or free her from her oppressor by forcing her indoors and out of public...