The Never-Ending Ramadan

Ramadan is one month long, but one month is not long enough for me to convince myself that I am not responsible for my mother’s illness. On the second fast I keep, she goes to the hospital. My hands tremble during Isha that night. I remind myself that Ramadan is also about recovery.But we do not recover. We let the sickness sink in, and then we live in it – with a positive outlook because that is my gracious, optimistic, ever wonderful mother. We live in it with weekly blood tests and pat … [Read more...]

A Tale of Two Ramadans

My grandmother set down a plate of six or seven parathas with determination in her eyes, as though warning us we had no choice but to finish all of them. From the kitchen, pots and pans clacked as our cook constructed omelet after omelet at a pace that could, conceivably, break the sound barrier. My cousins yawned loudly between scavenging mouthfuls. From the couch, my grandfather disapprovingly surveyed the scene. “Ruby,” he said, peeking out from behind yesterday’s copy of The Express-Tribune, … [Read more...]

How Do Muslim Girls Fare in U.S. Kids’ Programming?

My toddler cousins, like all children their age, were born into a world of rattles, Legos, diapers, and TV. Now more than ever, kids programming is a dominant and formative force in young children’s lives. The average preschooler spend 32 hours a week latched onto the TV screen, and by high school graduation has clocked more hours watching TV than at school. Studies have already shown us that the way kids’ TV treats race and gender affects how kids see their identities, and that kids need to see … [Read more...]

Gay Muslims: Fighting the Oxymoron

In 2007, when Iranian president Ahmadinejad declared that ‘we don’t have any gays in Iran’, he was met with widespread media criticism. Yet, much of the world seemed content to believe in the crux of what he was saying: that according to conventional wisdom, there is no space for homosexuality in Islam.As the West’s issues with homophobia have been publicly examined and challenged by a gay rights movement, gay people in the Muslim world have not had the same spotlight on them. LGBTQ+ movemen … [Read more...]

America and Oppressed Muslim Women

“She ought to be in prison for wearing the hijab” said conservative political pundit Ann Coulter on Fox news two weeks ago. Then she added, seemingly baselessly, “Did she get a clitorectomy too?” Given that America’s impression of Muslim women as a whole is often still that of oppressed and childlike foreigners, remarks like Coulter’s are no shock. They do, however, raise the question of how a culture that views a group as so devoid of agency handles the power and activism that they do demonstrat … [Read more...]