That Old Black Magic


My first New Orleans story is about death.“N’awlins is below sea level,” my taxi driver tells me on the drive from the airport. “You dig three feet down, you hit water. There’s no way folk can bury bodies six feet under. So we have these cemeteries where we bury our dead above ground. And this,” he gestures out the window as we turn a corner and emerge to a view of tall mausoleums on either side, “this is called ‘the City of the Dead.’”I collect stories the way some women collect shoes, a … [Read more...]

Oh, How We Danced!


Eds. Note: Hayah shared part one of her story - "Love. Loss. Forgiveness. Love." - about finding love as a divorcée, but ultimately deciding to part from Dedan because of religious differences. Here, she shares part two of her story, in which she dances at Dedan's wedding.Oh, how we danced!When Dedan and his beautiful bride stepped out of the car towards the wedding hall, oh, how we danced! I couldn't help thinking that it was a strange synchronicity that I happened to be in Kenya dur … [Read more...]

Into the Deep

Ambata Kazi-Nance

A friend once told me when I was going through a tough time that nothing is permanent. As a person of faith I know not even death is permanent. That piece of advice has helped me when I stumble into fits of melancholy. I remind myself when I’m having one of those days where despite my best efforts, sadness or frustration or anger keeps blocking my path, that this day won’t last forever. But one thing I have also learned is that once you lose someone, the grief over that loss never lea … [Read more...]

Just Say Yes + {Recipe}


Now that I’ve managed to sit through my very first scary movie without wetting myself, I’m feeling pretty brave, and dare I say, excited for another. It’s the first time in my life where I’m actually looking forward to watching a scary movie as opposed to digging my heels in with a big fat no. Hey, look at me - all grown up.In case you’re wondering, the movie was The Conjuring. I’m not saying I’m suddenly into scary movies, but I kind of feel cheated by the experience. All that build up and i … [Read more...]

My body is not an invitation

Key Ballah

He said my name like a ghost. A whisper from behind. A quiet wind hot and hollow. He said it lazily and slack mouthed, not parting his full lips wide enough to let every letter through. He said it without the sigh of relief at the end that it needed to sound familiar, like it was not so sweet it could make his eyes water.I should have known. I should have known what kind of man he was when he held his tongue between his teeth and let his eyes off their leash to roam un … [Read more...]

The Weight of Other People’s Expectations

Laura P

Eds. Note: Please welcome our newest writer Laura P.! Look for her column Integrity of Heart the second Wednesday of every month. “Will you marry me?”I’m usually very good at avoiding situations like this. But I didn’t expect a proposal from a Muslim guy I only saw waiting for the bus in the morning.“Sorry, I’m not interested, but thanks for asking.”“OK, cool.”Fortunately, he seemed to accept that and didn’t bring it up again, because I’d already started thinking … [Read more...]

Forgive me Allah for I have sinned

Eren Cervantes-Altamirano

Please welcome writer Eren Cervantes-Altamirano whose column Flirting with Fate and other Disasters of an Intersectional Muslimah will appear the first Thursday of every month. Her piece below, written in July 2014, sets the stage for her new column here at Perhaps it is absurd of me to think that Ramadan will ever be a time of peace and refection. From the moment I converted, my patience, my love for Islam and my faith have been constantly tested. Beyond the struggle of … [Read more...]

Is my ex an FBI informant?

Tanzila Ahmed

He was undoubtedly attractive – tall, lean and muscular, caramel colored skin, full lips, high cheekbones that framed his deeply intense hazel eyes. But his black leather jacket, felt fedora, acoustic guitar swung over his shoulder and beatnik poetry journal in his back pocket were really the accessories that put me over the edge.He had a very expressive face but there were two expressions that stuck out the most – an affable, goofy grin, and the furrowed brow intensity of a poet deep in tho … [Read more...]

Integrity of Heart, Peace of Soul: Finding My Path as an Asexual Muslim

Laura P

I’m not able to be a “good Muslim wife”. In fact, I’m not able to be in a conventional marriage at all.I’m asexual, aromantic, and sex-averse. Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by experiencing little or no sexual attraction to any person1. Aromanticism means that I do not experience romantic attraction, or falling in love, to any person either. As for the sex aversion, that’s what ultimately makes marriage out of the question for me. While not all asexual individuals are sex-av … [Read more...]

Mothering in the Shadows

Ambata Kazi-Nance

Editor's Note: Please welcome our newest writer Ambata Kazi-Nance whose monthly column Not Without Love will appear the fourth Wednesday of every month!It’s late at night, or maybe the wee hours of the morning before dawn. It’s quiet, the kind of quiet where you can hear the breathing patterns of everyone in the house and the creaks in walls and ceilings like invisible footsteps. Soft, yellow light glows like a halo around my crib. I am crying. I can’t hear myself crying but I must be bec … [Read more...]