Mourning

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They ask me why I always wear black.And I answer “I am in mourning”.They ask me who am I mourning.I’m mourning my grandfather, I say.They found his bones 10 years after his head was cut off, Quran in hand.I’m mourning my uncle too; his remains still not found. I wonder how much he suffered.I’m mourning my grandmother, killed by the grenades that left her son handicapped.I’m mourning the thousands of Ahmeds, Aishas and Fatimas massacred for being Bosniaks, for being Mus … [Read more...]

The Upstairs Wife – Virtual Book Club February 26th!

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Please join us on Twitter for our first virtual book club featuring a Q&A with author Rafia Zakaria about her new memoir, "The Upstairs Wife", on Thursday, February 26th at 11 am PDT/2 pm EDT.Get your copy today!Christian Science Monitor book review of "The Upstairs Wife"  … [Read more...]

The Day I (Almost) Became a Woman

Key Ballah

I was ten-years-old. The air was sticky and heavy, the kind of heat that makes everything move in slow motion. My cousin, who is two years older than me, was lounging on the living room sofa watching Saturday morning cartoons, and wearing boxer briefs – the image of Spider-Man splayed purposefully across the crotch.Granny brought him a cup of Ovaltine tea, which was always a bit too sweet. He glanced away from the television only long enough to take the cup from her hands with a mumbled t … [Read more...]

Chasing Joy

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I came across an essay called, “Joy,” from writer Zadie Smith. This was a timely find as I woke up to 2015 with this motto: chase joy! Smith starts the essay highlighting the differences between pleasure and joy, which I agree requires necessary distinction. She suggests that pleasure is comprised of small things. I’ve spent the past two years chasing various sorts of pleasures, some as banal as a good cup of coffee. Other pleasures I’ve sought are better suited for a different sort of essay. … [Read more...]

A Mosque of One’s Own

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It wasn’t the first time I had heard a woman give the azaan. In our Ramadan prayers in small activist circles with radical and queer Muslims, my friend Naaz would call us to prayer, her soft voice resonating through our small apartments. Her words were confident but her voice unpracticed and raw. Where else could a woman be allowed to practice the call to prayer? It felt rebellious.But this time it was different. We were in the big hall of a vaulted multifaith center, wooden pews moved to the … [Read more...]

Rebels by Accident

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Deonna Kelli Sayed interviews writer Patricia Dunn, author of the YA novel, Rebels by Accident,  in this episode of Love, Inshallah's author interview podcast.(Track listing: "Ala Warag il Ful" and "Drum Solo" by Zikrayat. Music in this podcast is found at Free Music Archive: Middle East.)Sixteen year old Egyptian-American Mariam just wants the normal teenage American high school experiences. After she is busted at a party with her best friend, Deanna -- a party the police break up … [Read more...]

No Apologies Necessary

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It was my first time meeting a new friend’s spouse. We’d just finished dinner at our place, and my friend and I were in the kitchen, washing dishes and packing up leftovers. Our husbands chatted at the table while our children played in the living room, happy one minute, squabbling the next. After they left, the warmth of their easy company had lingered, and so I couldn’t have been more surprised when the next day, she called me, apologizing. “I am sorry my husband was so quiet last night,” she s … [Read more...]

Weighty Ghosts

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Back when people called me Her Excellency, I routinely attended gatherings at the home of Bahrain’s First Lady. Cardamom-flavored coffee appeared in demitasse cups. The servers, always women dressed in traditional robes, poured the golden elixir from a gently sloped carafe called a dullah. The women returned at regular intervals with refills until you shook the cup to signify that you wanted no more.My marriage felt like a fragile container that held the riches of the world, and one that I t … [Read more...]

Brown Girl Dreaming

Key

I remember being three, face deep in a mango, my mosquito legs poking out from the shade of a palm tree, the Caribbean sun hot and deliberate. One of my Aunties came around the corner, and, with her heavy hand, began beating my legs back into the shade, yelling in her creamy patois (that always sounded more like singing), “You are going to get too dark!”It was the first time that I ever looked at my skin and realized that people weren’t just black or white.I remember being eight, riding s … [Read more...]

Winners of the Eleventh Annual Brass Crescent Awards

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Thank you to our readers for voting us 1st and 2nd in our respective nominated categories of Best Female Blogger and Best Blog!Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! Check them out for some wonderful reads. … [Read more...]


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