Mom’s Christmas, Our Ramadan

I grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a conservative Pakistani Pathan Muslim and a small-town American Mormon. Theirs was a marriage founded on somewhat foolish optimism.  Both of my parents assumed they would have the other converted to their own faith within months. My childhood memories of mom’s Christmases, our Eids, mom’s Easters and our Ramadans, serve as a testament to the contrary. This recollection comes from the strange serendipitous period where two of those major religious events – th … [Read more...]

Interfaith Marriage on a String

“All is change with time / the future none can see / the road you leave behind / ahead lies mystery!” – Stevie Wonder, “All in Love is Fair.”My mother told me the other day, “You know, I think your brother’s autism saved our marriage.”Being single in a time of intense want—for a fulfilling relationship, my own marriage, my own family—has made me hyperaware of other people’s marriages. Over the years, I’ve noticed that many marriages, at one point or another, hang by a string. Sometimes th … [Read more...]

Advice: Not everyone has a happy ending

Dear Love InshAllah,I'm reaching out to you now because no one in my life understands, but you might.I always felt I never fit in, too "white" or "liberal" for my strict Muslim community in the Midwest, too "conservative", too Muslim to be with a white guy. I met someone online who changed that, a white guy who understood. He even read 'Love InshAllah' because he said he wanted to understand where I was coming from.We have been together for a year, and now it is falling apart, due to … [Read more...]

The Five Pillars of My Relationship

I'm a community organizer addressing men’s violence against women within the South Asian immigrant community.“We have to connect with women’s organizations nationwide and learn about what they are doing. How do they speak to men and boys about this issue?” asked my supervisor. As I began to call my colleagues, I kept being directed to the same man who was an advocate on this issue.We spoke a few times over the phone but our first meeting was at a domestic violence conference where we had … [Read more...]

Mama’s girl

When I did something wrong, I wasn’t grounded or sent to my room. My mother threatened me with becoming a spinster.“No one will want to marry you if you behave like that,” she’d call out.I heard a longer version of that refrain once, and it affected me so deeply I vowed never to behave in a way that would warrant hearing it again. I was ten years old, and I had disobeyed my grandfather. He had asked me to apologize to my mother after a fight we’d had, and I’d refused.As soon as I hear … [Read more...]

Interfaith Marriage on a String

“All is change with time / the future none can see / the road you leave behind / ahead lies mystery!” – Stevie Wonder, “All in Love is Fair.”My mother told me the other day, “You know, I think your brother’s autism saved our marriage.”Being single in a time of intense want—for a fulfilling relationship, my own marriage, my own family—has made me hyperaware of other people’s marriages. Over the years, I’ve noticed that many marriages, at one point or another, hang by a string. Sometimes th … [Read more...]


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