Ali Family Autism Truths #5 – How Inclusive was Your Easter or Passover Service?

April 5, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #5 In private conversations with friends today, friends celebrating Easter or having celebrated Passover, we shared some of our frustrations in trying to participate in religious ceremonies and attend services at Houses of Worship with our autistic children. While many churches, synagogues (and even some mosques) and other Houses of Worship have made great strides in tailoring services for all in their congregation, or at the very … [Read more...]

The Ease and the Glory

When we first were officially told that D's diagnosis was autism, we were devastated. This may be insulting to some on the spectrum, but I'm keeping it real. There has been so much heartache mixed in with joy these past 11 years since that day that it all seems inexplicably intertwined.You can't have one without the other. As much as I've tried to lessen and alleviate D of the excruciating hard parts of autism, it's still there, perhaps to remind us that the beautiful moments and the joy are … [Read more...]

#JeSuisCharlie – When Will Clemency and Kindness Prevail over Extremism?

I’m wagering that when many of us (speaking to Muslims now, or people who have read a bit about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him) were growing up or first starting to learn about our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), we were told the story of the Prophet and the woman who threw garbage on him.As the hadith goes, as this was told to me by my parents, when the Prophet Muhammad was trying to spread the word of Islam as it was being revealed to him by Allah ( … [Read more...]

The Here and the Now

We sat and played scrabble on the futon in our “cozy” New York City apartment. She was a new bride, as was I. I was even more newly pregnant with our first child – just a few weeks and on bed rest. My husband was in his first year of residency and hers was interviewing for a residency position in the city, which was why she was spending the day with me. (Her husband’s parents and mine were friends.) We had that in common, and so between new marriage talk and other chit-chat, we passed the day ple … [Read more...]

Dear Pope Francis, Thanks for Bringing Love to Those with Autism

I was sitting with a group of newcomers, reverts, new and old friends yesterday at a luncheon our halaqa (Islamic study group) had put together to reach out to anyone new to our community. In speaking with our small group about why we need to reach out to each other and stay connected, a sister in the group made an important observation (paraphrasing):It can be hard for reverts (converts to Islam) in our community. They can feel lost or disconnection. Not welcomed. The Christian community … [Read more...]

How are We Handling the Charge Laid on Us?

The bombs are dropping in Gaza and people are dying. Syrians are being brutally massacred. In Iraq, Christians are being expelled and religious shrines destroyed by the so called “Islamic State of Iraq,” and so much strife is painting our domestic and global world with dark, troubling hues. All this as the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close with some of the holiest days of the year.And like so many of my friends – Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and more – I am feeling overwhelmed and em … [Read more...]

A Prayer for Mercy

It used to be that the  month of Ramadan would come, and it would be like a signal for the conflicts and tensions of the world involving Muslims to miraculously die down. Well, maybe it was never like that, but it sure feels that way to me in my rose-tinted, clean-scented, Pollyanna of a memory. I mean, Shaitan is shackled this month, right? So that Muslims all over can focus on their ibadaat (worship) and be released from temptations?The devil may be shackled from personally tempting us, … [Read more...]