Nijla Mu’min: Film, Identity, and ‘Noor’

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Nijla Mu’min’s Film in Progress Noor: Bringing Multidimensional Characters into the Light Interview by Kameelah Janan Rasheed  Nijla Mu'min is a writer and filmmaker from the East Bay Area who found her “natural destination” to be filmmaking while a student at UC Berkeley. Beginning as a filmmaker focused on documentary and interventionist stories, she has now taken on narrative fiction filmmaking with her film Noor which unfolds the nuanced relationship that develops between a Palesti … [Read more...]

Turn to Your Friends

Sanem and I took turns crossing the street to each other's townhomes for afternoon tea, at least once a week, for seven years. In our nearly identical kitchens, we put out similar spreads, a smaller tea pot steamed above a larger tea pot, honey-colored tea served in little glass cups, warm bread, an assortment of cheeses and jams, and cookies for our kids. Sanem was from Turkey, my family was from Iraq, and our tea rituals mirrored one another. While our children played in the upstairs bedrooms, … [Read more...]

This is Peace, Too

When my husband, Hadi, and I lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, I volunteered at an internado for girls. It wasn't quite an orphanage. Most of the children had a parent or a grandparent who were unable to care for them due to poverty or addiction. I believed then that my motivations for volunteering were selfless. It had nothing to do with the loneliness of living in a foreign country or being away from family for the first time. I simply had time on my hands, and I wanted to make a difference.I … [Read more...]

Advice: Navigating Young (Forbidden) Love

Dear Love, InshAllah,We are parents of a Muslim college student who met a Muslim boy at school and wish to get to know each other with parental supervision for marriage. The boy told his Pakistani parents he wished us to meet and get to know each other. They first agreed and next day refused and hit him and threatened to have him transfer to another school. We are not Pakistani, however they say that is not the reason, that it is because he is too young. We also wish they were older however … [Read more...]

Hidden Fractures

 When I was a child, Ramadan – like the life that stretched before me – seemed magical. Forbidden for the very young, fasting was a mark of adulthood, a rite of passage for which we were all too eager. You woke for the early morning meal with a sense of pride, keen to know what mysterious things adults got up to at this delicious hour.As I grew older, Ramadan became a time to pause life, a time for reflection as well as a time for community. Growing up outside of our respective ethn … [Read more...]

The Hunger to Be Seen

A titanic and towering swell of love lodged inside my chest after the birth of my first child. Here I was, just an ordinary woman of 25 years of age, but I had been entrusted with the world's very best baby. In my eyes, he was perfection, the realization of my every dream. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why adoring someone so much left me feeling so destroyed. After I'd wrestled my baby to bed, I'd stand around our small high-rise apartment in Queens not knowing which of my needs or … [Read more...]

Summer Reading: Salaam, Love!

Summer is here! It's time to dive head first into your summer reading list, and what better place to start than Salaam Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy. the follow up to the groundbreaking book, Love InshAllah.Salaam, Love features 22 American Muslim men, from a broad spectrum of ethnic, racial, and religious perspectives—including orthodox, cultural, and secular Muslims— speaking openly about their romantic lives, offering frank, funny, and insightful glimpses into thei … [Read more...]

There is No Me, There is Only You

I’m going back to work. Which seems like a ridiculous thing to say because I’m writing those words with chapped, painful hands, hands that have not stopped moving, even for a full night of sleep, in the three years during which I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom. Honestly, this work has been the most physically and emotionally difficult, and the most spiritually challenging of any I’ve ever done. It wasn’t so hard with my first. One is tiring. Two is crazy-making. At least when they’re within 2 years o … [Read more...]

Equal in the Eyes of Marriage

I was a novelty to Ashley. I'd never travelled or lived alone. I'd never been to bar or a club. I'd never had a boyfriend before my husband nor kissed another man. Ashley and I might not have become such close friends had we not been living in Guadalajara, Mexico while our husbands attended the local medical school, but in the company of so much strangeness, we were more similar than different. We were both in our early twenties, and we both spoke English as our first language. We'd lived in … [Read more...]

Crying and Reclamation

I am not always strong.There are times that I experience steep slopes of sadness. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the sorrow arrives as crude, impolite explosions.I don’t have everything together, no matter what type of confidence seeps out of my writing. I spend most of my time struggling from paycheck-to-paycheck, too poor to actually date should anyone ever ask me out.  I’m always in a suspended state of fear that this is all my life is going to be: a lonely existence w … [Read more...]


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