First came the news of serial package bombings happening across the Austin, Texas, which had terrified the city and its surrounding suburbs for nearly three weeks in March of 2018, leaving two people dead. Then the bombing suspect, a young, white Christian male identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, killed himself with one of his own bombing devices in his SUV after he was cornered by a swat team. In his death, he literally became a suicide bomber. And yet, as… Read more

On the agenda for today are doctor’s appointments for my daughter and I, another bi-annual assessment of my son’s autism medical and support needs with my eldest son’s nursing care coordinator (because he is the deserved recipient of a Medicaid waiver), regular office work, lots of Lego playing for my youngest son, and a kid’s dinner we are hosting tonight for our kids and my nieces. Daughter A is in the kitchen, utterly relaxed, making “Instagram-worthy avocado toast and cloud… Read more

What does it mean to be “unapologetically Muslim?” Does it mean to be a loud and proud Muslim in every aspect of one’s life? Does it mean to be publicly Muslim – touting one’s Muslim-ness in every aspect of their life? Isn’t faith something to be practiced privately, between one and one’s God? And, what does it mean to teach one’s children to be unapologetically Muslim? As parents, are we pushing what our belief systems are on our children without… Read more

With less then six months to his 18th birthday, the timetable I had laid out for myself had me picking up the phone and making the call to the lawyer. Hi Patrick. It’s Mrs. Ali. Remember when we had met in November to discuss obtaining guardianship and conservatorship for D? You told me to call in March. Well, it’s March. Our lawyer asked me to gather some paperwork, which I already had, and drop it by his office during the… Read more

We call it the “bro hug.” Here’s how it works. He comes up to you, facing you, links his right arm with your right arm, elbows bent, hands reaching up to grab shoulders, squeezing hard, hard, hard –harder than a blood pressure cuff. If there is extra love and friendship to convey, his head bends towards yours, and the bro hug lingers on in tightness, intensity and meaning. Sometimes it comes in moments of happiness, sometimes amid some private laughter… Read more

Most any Muslim child who has been taught even a small bit of Islamic history has heard of Bilal ibn Rabah, a Black man who was born into slavery who became one of the most trusted and loyal sahabah (companions) of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). He was the first muezzin, chosen by the Prophet to give the call to prayer. A new movie, “Bilal: A New Breed of Hero,” tells a fictionalized version of Bilal’s story, which has Muslim audiences… Read more

The memories came flooding back – ones that had never really left me in the first place. That morning I hailed a taxi, even though we really couldn’t afford the upwards of $20 to make the trip downtown, packed a lunch for D (How would he eat? Would he eat? He didn’t know how to feed himself properly. Feeding is such a problem. Would they warm his food up properly?), put a few school supplies in his backpack that we… Read more

Perhaps more than other years, but 2017 to me — as the managing editor of Patheos Muslim where we cover news, issues, trends and stories pertaining to American Muslim (and global Muslim) communities – was the year where I couldn’t keep up. The year when I would wrap up work and home stuff, go to bed and in the morning, check my phone to see a flurry of news alerts of something happening via the Trump administration, or some breaking… Read more

I remembered that particular feeling and fear twice. I remembered thinking – this is a real thing. We need to be careful. The first time was years ago at our local grocery store soon after we had moved from New York City to Virginia. My brother and his family were visiting us in our new home, and I took the kids with me to the grocery store to pick up stuff to make chocolate chip cookies. I had D, who… Read more

When you have a child with autism or any sort of disability, you have to consider forms of guardianship and conservatorship as they approach their 18th birthday. Old news to those of us living with or supporting and loving an autistic child or loved one. Many of my friends, whose children and D have traveled this path together for years, are approaching this big moment or are past it. Others are years away from it. And so, you do your… Read more

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