Dear Muslim Leaders: I am a Convert not an “Extremist”

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  A few months ago I was applying for a job when I was suddenly required to attend an in-person interview with a member of the intelligence services. I was interviewed by a white male, who very politely went on to ask me questions for the next two hours. The most puzzling part of the interview though was that I suddenly saw my life through a very gendered lens.I was asked about my conversion to Islam and whether or not a “boyfriend” had tried to recruit me for the purposes o … [Read more...]

5 Reasons Why Media Coverage of ‘Latina’ Converts Does Not Represent Me

latina_immigrants_the_new_ambassadors_of_islam_306813502-1

This is not the first time I have discussed media coverage of ‘Latin’ Converts to Islam. In fact, I have written about how they are depicted in terms of their relationships, the ways in which Indigenous converts from Latin America puzzle the media, and how ‘Latina’ women are said to be the new face of Islam. The issue continues to be relevant today as coverage of ‘Latin’ converts is still prevalent. Now, let’s be honest. Articles written about ‘Latin,’ ‘Hispanic’ or Indigenous converts (often use … [Read more...]

What Do We Make of the “Indian” Converts to Islam

Women eating Iftar - Via International Business Times

There is a lot of talk recently about “Latin” and Spanish-speaking converts to Islam, particularly women, which I have discussed in previous posts (here and here). Female converts to Islam, in general, give us a lot to talk about; thus, my question in a previous post on “Are converts news?” Some converts are treated as “cool” and progressive members willing to speak to the media. Others are used to represent media obsessions with wild-girls-gone-Muslim stories, which many Muslims and non-Muslims … [Read more...]

Are Converts News?

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Growing up in Mexico, I had a very rudimentary understanding of religion and religious diversity. While the national census showed that about 80% of Mexicans practiced Catholicism, I was raised an atheist. My parents, born Catholics, had left religion during their teenage years for various reasons. My paternal grandfather (who was never really religious either) still likes to tell his story: His grandmother had a painting of Virgin Mary in the living room and would tell my grandpa to say a small … [Read more...]

Oops, Your Jahiliyya Is Showing: Exposing the Convert Party Girl

Heather Matthews with her daughters. Image via the Daily Mail.

There seems to be nothing more exciting for tabloids than publishing pictures of white women in hijab. Well, unless it's publishing pictures of white women converts in their racy, hedonistic, pre-Islamic days.Last month Amy Sall and Heather Matthews told their conversion stories to the tabloid press. And instead of using the stories to dispel myths about Muslims, educate the public about Islam, or even come up with something remotely newsworthy, both news sources emphasized their incredible … [Read more...]

The “Cool” Muslims of Contemporary Islam: Female Converts and their Presence in the Media

As a convert to Islam, I have had other Muslims ask me, particularly in settings where I have discussed Islamic feminism and LGBTQ2/S rights, whether or not I converted to be one of the “cool” Muslims that are often times presented in the media. By “cool,” people often mean not-orthodox.  (I started preparing this post before the discussion in the comments of Nicole’s post last week, but those comments emphasise the privilege that comes alongside getting to choose to be one of the “cool” ones.) … [Read more...]

Hot Off the Press! White Women Are Converting to Islam!

Kristiane Backer.  Photo via The Independent.

Look at pictures of real live white women wearing hijab!All the exclamation marks in existence could not hide that these are the usual soundbites in a story that gets repeated more often then Home Alone at Christmastime. The problem with these statements being that not only do they erase the experiences of convert from other ethnicities, they also have a "A white person choosing to be Muslim, the horror!" undertone to them. So while these statements are linked to the … [Read more...]


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