Islam, Therapy Dogs and Autism – In Search of a Constant Companion

It started, as I usually does, with the yearning for something better for D – something that would provide him comfort, security and companionship, something or someone who would be allowed in to his physical space when the rest of us were pushed out. With my nieces spending the weekend with us at the house, D had spent most of the day in and out of the family picture — sometimes venturing to be in the same room with and… Read more

From Access to Belonging – On the ADA and the Muslim Special Needs and Disability Community’s Journey

This weekend I was honored to participate and speak at an event organized by the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition — “From Access to Belonging: An Interfaith Service Celebrating the Progress and Promise of the ADA.” It is part of several events happening in Washington D.C. and around the country to honor the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disability Act, a landmark piece of legislation. It’s interesting that the ADA, which holds most of our public life accountable… Read more

The Srebrenica Genocide and the Bosnian War – Never Forget

To God we belong and to God we return. Please take the time to say a prayer, for these men and boys, and also for the survivors. So many lives cut short (in the span of 3 days). It’s especially breathtaking (as in, I can’t breathe) when I see DOBs so close to my own. While I was taking exams and learning how to drive, they were murdered in cold blood, a deliberate genocide. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon…. Read more

How Young is Too Young to Fast?

She sat on the sofa and refused. I tried everything I could to convince her, but she kept refusing and refusing and refusing. You’re not ready, I told her. You’re too young. It’s too long a day. I love that you want to, but not today. Next year! And that’s when she started to cry. Why are you making me stop when I really want to? And then she said the words that I have said to her so many… Read more

His Theatrical Debut – On Inclusion and Plays in Autism Land

In flipping through his yellow binder, where his teachers and I do our daily communication, I found it. A simple flyer with a simple announcement. But it was everything to me. Everything. We are putting on a play! ********** In our parental autism journey, there came a point when I learned that the so-called “normal” experiences and rites of passages of childhood are not always meant to be — and that was ok. I didn’t feel it so much in the early years… Read more

Book Review: “undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace

My life had changed. My Christian daughter became a Muslim. And my life and every single thing about life just flat-out flew apart. So here I sit today, ten years after my daughter made her announcement, staring at my keyboard in my belabored home office — which also is a wreck and needs decluttering and an overhaul. Still, even in this mess, I commit to speak truth about the biggest mountain in my life that has yet to move. I… Read more

With Head Bowed, I See the Light

[A] person whose head is bowed and whose eyes are heavy cannot look at the light. –  Christine de Pizan, Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc With his head on my lap as we sit in the back seat, we drive home. He is heavily dozing under a medicated sleep, and the husband and I wonder how we are going to get him up the front steps into our home. Why not drive around some more, run some errands if you want, I say to… Read more

Mommy, Can I Draw the Prophet Muhammad?

Wendy Thomas Russell over on the Patheos Atheist channel has a blog called Natural Wonderers, which is about “raising curious, compassionate kids in a secular family.” She occasionally runs a series called “Mommy, What’s that?” that is “aimed at giving secular parents some simple, straightforward and open-minded ways to describe religious concepts.” She approached me and some of the bloggers at Patheos Muslim to take part in a round table discussion around this question that a child may ask: “Mommy, Can… Read more

When Anti-Muslim Bigots and Muslim Extremists Follow the Same Playbook – on Pamela Geller and Garland, Tx

Alia Salem, Executive Director at CAIR-Texas Dallas Fort Worth, knew it was going to be a very difficult, dangerous time for Muslims in her area and across Texas at large. With the Pamela Geller-sponsored “Draw the Prophet Muhammad” contest coming in Garland, TX, she decided to make a plea to her community to take the high road. So, on April 25, she posted this on Facebook: Please share this in every group and with every Muslim in DFW. I implore… Read more

Ali Family Autism Truths #30 – We Will Live Truthfully

April 30, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Autism Truths #30 Why should you care? Really, why should you care? There is an earthquake that has devastated Nepal causing the deaths of nearly 4,000 people. In Baltimore, following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, the city is crying for justice, and African Americans across the country are warning that this cannot go on, that post-racial America is a myth, that #BlackLivesMatter. ISIS continues to wreak havoc. California is… Read more

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