A Special Eid for Special Needs Children – A Day of Dignity with Islamic Relief USA

There are a few activities we really look forward to every year with Lil D, events geared towards the special needs population that embrace them and cater to their different needs; events that make every effort of accommodation and celebrate individuals with different abilities. These are the events where we can take easy breaths and not worry over the thousand little details we usually worry about. The events where we can say, these is our tribe, and nothing my kid does or doesn’t do will faze a … [Read more...]

Embracing (and Including) Autism and Special Needs Families in Muslim Communities

The day after speaking at the 50th annual Islamic Society of North American conference in Washington, D.C., I was back at home in my basement hanging with Lil D. He was roaming about, spinning his beads and calling “Maw-maw! Maw-maw! Maw-maw” – very much caught up in his stim and oblivious to the world. Every so often he stopped and would come close to me, put his face in mine and say nonsensical words like “Oweeowee owee. Maw-maw! Maw-maw!”As if to say – ok Mamma, you had an audience, you sa … [Read more...]

The Fasting Project – Patheos Buddhist, News & Religion and Spirituality Channel Bloggers Fast for Ramadan

I’m taking off my mom/autism/Muslim-American journalist hat right now and putting on my Patheos Muslim Channel Managing Editor hat to announce a Ramadan project we’re doing at our channel which, I hope, will help forge new and interesting interfaith learning sessions, bring the concept of fasting in Ramadan and all it means to a wider audience and help Muslims themselves reconnect with the beauty of this month.We are embarking on a Fasting Project (for the lack of a better title) this month a … [Read more...]

The 15th of Shabaan – Childhood Memories Versus Parenting Decisions

I have very vivid memories of the things we did on the 15th of Sha’ban growing up – we threw down hard on Shabaan, with extra ibadat (worship), nafil (extra) prayers and of course fatiha (reciting prayers over some food as an offering of blessings, not to be confused with the Al-Fatiha - the first surah in the Quran). I never questioned where what we did fell in the realm of Islamic practices. My parents did these things on this date and as their kids, we followed along.Shabaan is the eighth … [Read more...]

Umar Lee Converts Back to Christianity

Prominent (former) American Muslim Umar Lee has converted back to Christianity, and the blogosphere and social networks are on fire. Lee was guided from "streets of St. Louis and a working Southern Baptist home to Islam as a teenager," according to his author profile on Amazon. He has been featured on the Voice of America, was a political correspondent for OnIslam.net  (where I worked as well for nearly eight years), and received a Brass Crescent Award for best blog series.In a video posted … [Read more...]

Dilshad Ali – Why I am a Muslim

Patheos is asking its writers and bloggers to finish the sentence: Why I Am A … in about 200 words. This is my response.He sits in the bathtub as the water fills up. I add some bubble bath and when the tub fills, I turn off the tap. He’s at peace, humming, gathering suds in his hands. I go into the bedroom to put the laundry away and hear the buzz of the Jacuzzi jets go on.The bubbles have taken over, until Lil D is drowning in foam that spills over the tub. His sister brings up cookie tr … [Read more...]

The Failure of the American Muslim Community to Help Those with Special Needs

“He (Musa) said: ‘Oh my Lord! Expand my breast for me and make my affair easy to me, and loose the knot from my tongue (that) they may understand my word … (Quran 20:25:28)”One and a half years ago, I took the plunge and began sharing our son’s life lived with autism, my struggles with keeping strong in my Islamic faith and residing at this intersection of faith and autism. With a post on Ramadan Despair, I shared what was then my lowest point, and I had no purpose in laying bare our struggle … [Read more...]


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