*Trigger Warning for sexual assault This past weekend, survivor advocate an HEART board member Jenan Mohajir performed a story that she has been working in partnership with Chicago’s 2nd Story to produce. Her first performance this weekend came in the midst of a national outrage related to the surfacing of a video in which Trump brags about his entitlement to sexual assault. This story delves deep into Jenan’s experiences working to support the brave men and women who came forward… Read more

originally published on Patheos Public Square, for other articles in the series please click here. by Nadiah Mohajir Sex is described as many things: it can be an act of passion for some, physical gratification for others, a necessity for procreation, an act of worship for people of faith, or some combination thereof. It is also a word and experience that is often loaded with many emotions: joy, love, and all too often, fear, shame, and stigma. One of the… Read more

by Nadiah Mohajir In the six years HEART has been working to raise awareness about the importance of reproductive health education in the Muslim community, too many young women have confided in me – both personally and professionally – about intimacy issues in their marriages. Many have shared with me their struggles to embrace their sexuality and sexual desire, while others have struggled with having little knowledge of their bodies. What is becoming increasingly common but still remains unheard of… Read more

by Nadiah Mohajir HEART Women & Girls initially was founded to focus on improving access to sexual health information and education in Muslim communities. As we held workshops across the country, we quickly realized something: once facilitators set a safe space and gained the trust of participants, the sheer number of stories of sexual violence that were shared were overwhelming. As a result, we quickly made the deliberate decision to include sexual assault awareness education in every one of its… Read more

by Nadiah Mohajir As we’ve collected stories for the past six years, we have met countless women who struggled with some aspect of their sexuality. We met Farah*, a young woman who had been married a couple of years, struggling to consummate her marriage due to a treatable condition called vaginismus, but too embarrassed to seek help for it. We met Asiya, a newlywed and newly pregnant, who did not receive any contraception counseling before she got married, and did… Read more

Recently, marriage and relationship advice videos by well-known and revered scholar Yasir Qadhi have been circulating the internet. Called the “On the Rocks: Common Marital & Intimacy Complaints” series, these videos are 5-10 minutes long with sensationalized titles such as: It’s the #1 Thing Husbands Complain About: Watch How YQ Shuts it Down What so many Men want to know will SHOCK the Ladies. It Could Also End the Engagement It’s Hard to Believe there is a Solution to the… Read more

One of HEART’s activities is to help design research studies to collect data specific to Muslim communities. Our hope is to be able to have a deeper understanding of the reproductive needs of Muslim women in order to be able to offer: more targeted and enhance programming recommendations to medical professionals on how to make their services more culturally competent recommendations and tips to Muslim women on how to effectively navigate health services and advocate for themselves HEART, in collaboration… Read more

by Alia Azmat This Ramadan I made a pact with myself, to take care of myself. I stretched myself, I have been challenging myself, but perhaps not in the way you might imagine. I have not attended taraweeh every night. A few days I did not wake up to reap the rewards of suhoor, the predawn meal. One day I even made the conscious choice to listen to music instead of Quran on a long drive home. This Ramadan, I… Read more

originally published on patheos.com. by Nadiah Mohajir Just recently, in casual conversation as well as in several private conversations, I have heard too many women (and in one case, a man) express frustration with trying to manage their intimate lives in addition to their spiritual and domestic responsibilities when the fasts are 17  hours or more. When one is abstaining from food, drink and sex during the daylight hours, other responsibilities don’t suddenly cease to exist. Mothers and fathers are… Read more

originally published on patheos.com. by Sameera Qureshi “Raise your hand if you’ve ever faked fasting when you’re on your period.” I posed the question and then looked around the room of 25 seventh grade girls and saw that 80 percent of them had their hands raised. Some were looking directly at me, perhaps hoping that I’d understand why, while others had their gazes directed down towards the floor. I was not shocked by the results of this particular group or… Read more

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