I know many Muslims are on the fence regarding celebrating birthdays or not — you know, whether it is a bid’ah (innovation on religion) or not. But I have to say — Happy Fifth Birthday Patheos!
You hear a lot from me about faith, family and autism as the author of the “Muslimah Next Door” blog — but you may not know that I also work as the managing editor of the Muslim Channel at Patheos. I’ve been with Patheos for three years now and am thrilled to be here for this multifaith and blogging site’s fifth birthday. Since it’s launch in 2009, Patheos has grown to be the largest independent religion and spirituality website, and many of the site’s faith channels have become the largest online spaces for that community (like the Patheos Catholic, Atheist, Progressive Christian and Pagan channels).
Here’s a little backgrounder on the site, from our Fifth Birthday press release:
Patheos went live in 2009 to meet the growing demand for credible, engaging information on religion and spirituality. Husband-and-wife entrepreneurs, parents, and 20-year internet technology veterans, Leo and Cathie Brunnick were inspired to develop Patheos in 2008. “Our goal was to be the premier online destination for engaging in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality, and to provide a place for people to explore and experience the world’s beliefs. We are thrilled with the amazing growth of Patheos and its ability to reach so many people in the U.S. and around the world,” said Cathie Brunnick, Patheos COO and Founder.
“The world is calling for intelligent, civil conversation about faith, and Patheos meets that need,” said Leo Brunnick, Patheos CEO and Founder. “Our writers provide a unique perspective on what’s happening in the world. From Atheists and Muslims to Pagans and Christians, Patheos is a model for how the world’s divergent belief systems can not only co-exist, but engage each other in meaningful dialogue.”
At Patheos Muslim, we’ve seen incredible growth in the richness of content and people coming to read that content. One of the first blogs I brought on was a special 30-day Ramadan blog curated by Al Jazeera America’s Wajahat Ali. Posts from that blog still resonate in Ramadan every year. Soon after we were able to bring such wonderful bloggers like Nancy Shehata at “Muslimah In Progress,” the awesome group of writers at “Muslimah Media Watch,” and Hind Makki of the tumblr “Side Entrance,” who has her “Hindtrospectives” blog on our channel. Hesham Hassaballa hosts a column on our channel as well.
For me, two things have stood out during my time at Patheos Muslim — the first being when the ground-breaking website Altmuslim, which paved the way for most of online Muslim media, joined Patheos as a micro-site on Patheos Muslim. After reading all the great content on Altmuslim for years and crossing paths with its editor and founder Shahed Amanullah, I was given the helm and safekeeping of Altmuslim. What an honor!
And secondly, Patheos Muslim is where I took my first foray in to the blogging world. I’ve worked as a journalist and editor covering Muslims in America for 12 years, but it was the encouragement of my fellow Patheos colleagues that made me to finally decide to lift the mantle up on my own personal life and share our journey with you all. Little that I know that I was unleashing a delulge of stories and emotions regarding my eldest son, Lil D, and his autism journey (along with stories about my other children).
Perhaps that is what I am grateful for most in my time thus far with Patheos — discovering my own deep need to write and share our stories, to help teach my readers to better understand the lives of those with autism and their families, and how to take that understanding and convert it into living with dignity and respect for each other. Through this blog and my Patheos work, I’ve become friends with and have met the most extraordinary people. And hopefully, I am helping to lay the foundations for a better, more welcoming world community for my son and so many others like him. I often cry when I write, because it is that raw and honest for me — which so goes against the Desi-Muslim cultural norms of keeping quiet about that which ails us and fills us with joy. But that was the decision I made three years ago — to share, and share with dignity. Because nothing will change for my son and for ourselves by staying silent
I’m also grateful to the bloggers and writers who have come on board most recently and have made Patheos Muslim even more robust and on the forefront of breaking news, stories and what’s trending — writers like Rabia Chaudry at “Split the Moon,” Precious Rasheeda Muhammad at “Muslim History Detective,” Aziz Poonawalla at “Aziz Poonawalla,” Irfan Rydhan at “Al Mihrab,” Laila Alawa at “Altmuslim,” the awesome writers at “Grow Mama Grow” and so many more.
If you’ve been with us for awhile, thanks for sticking around. If you’re new to Patheos Muslim — well, you’re in for a treat. Please do peruse all the great blogs on Patheos Muslim, and then head out and see the faith-based richness there is all over the site. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Happy Birthday Patheos!
Here are some of my favorite posts, though this doesn’t begin to even cover it!
Irfan Rydhan, “Al Mihrab”
Aziz Poonawalla, “Aziz Poonawalla”
Hind Makki, “Hindtrospectives”
Rabia Chaudry, “Split the Moon”
Nancy Shehata – “Muslimah In Progress”
1. By Marwa Aly, ISNA 2013, Reflections on Sacred Spaces – Where’s My Place?
2. By Afeefa Sayeed, What Mother Mary Means to Me
3. By Shirin Sinnar, Reading with Maryam – Discovering Muslim Childrens Books That Delight and Inspire
4. By Rabia Chaudry, Voting for Obama: Voting Because It’s Incumbent Upon Muslims
Muslimah Media Watch (too many to choose from!)
Grow Mama Grow
Precious Rasheeda Muhammad – “Muslim History Detective”
1. Muslims in the House – A History Lesson Born from a Prayer in Congress
2. The Quran and Trayvon Martin – The Black Pathology Lie and God’s Awesome Creation
3. An American Muslim’s Reflections on the U.S. Capitol, Obama and Moving Forward Together
Svend White – “Akram’s Razor”
Pamela Taylor – “For The Love of God”
Umar Hakim – “Create-A-Voice”
Davi Barker, “The Muslim Agorist”
Kamran Memon – “Muslims for a Safe America”
What have been some of your favorite posts over the past five years at Patheos? Please post in the comments below.