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June 28, 2014

When I first became Muslim, I figured that I would fast Ramadan every year until I died. Then I got married and got pregnant. I worried about the effect that fasting would have on the development of my unborn baby. Research led me to believe that fasting while pregnant was not a good idea, for the baby or for me.  When I looked to the the Qur’an  for guidance I was relieved to read: O You who have attained to… Read more

June 28, 2014

It’s that time of year again… the month of Ramadan, a time of joy and community fellowship, of shared devotion to purity and piety. It’s difficult to convey why a month of privation is such a meaningful and blessed experience for so many, why people look forward to Ramadan so eagerly. It seems contra-intuitive that a month of fasting from first light to sunset would be something to treasure, and yet for millions of Muslims around the world, Ramadan is… Read more

April 29, 2014

Today the White House called on universities to more aggressively combat sexual assaults on campus. ““Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual assault,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said. “No more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn’t exist. We need to give victims the support they need, like a confidential place to go, and we need to bring the perpetrators to justice.” He could have been addressing the Muslim world. As a community, we… Read more

April 10, 2014

The news that Brandeis University cancelled the honorary degree it was planning to give Ayaan Hirsi Ali has raised a storm of controversy. On one side  were Muslims applauding the move as an apt recognition that Ali’s narrative was, if not Islamophobic in itself, fodder for the cannons of the rabid Islamophobic right. On the other were those protesting that the withdrawal represented a betrayal of freedom of speech and a cowardly retreat in face of the howling of religious… Read more

March 17, 2014

Editors’ Note: This article is part of a Public Square conversation Women in Religious Leadership. Read other perspectives here. The American Muslim community is eager to promote the notion that Islam is favorable to women’s leadership. We talk about the Prophet and how he encouraged women’s education, and praised his female companions for bravery in times of war. We quote verses from the Qur’an that demonstrate equality between the sexes. We point to Aisha and how she was respected as a scholar,… Read more

February 26, 2014

A Ugandan newspaper has published a list of what it called the country’s 200 top homosexuals, outing some who previously had not identified themselves as gay, just one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law calling for life imprisonment for gays and lesbians. The Red Pepper tabloid published the names and some pictures in a front-page story under the headline: “EXPOSED!” In 2011, a Ugandan gay activist was killed after his name appeared in a similar list published… Read more

February 24, 2014

  As we draw close to International Women’s Day, I have been thinking about the impact of language and our perceptions of God.  Take for instance, this passage from the Qur’an, Surah Shams: Chapter 91. THE SUN 1  By the sun in its morning brightness 2  And by the moon as it follows it, 3  By the day as it displays the sun’s glory 4  And by the night as it conceals it, 5  By the sky and how He… Read more

September 15, 2013

Duma. Irbin. Hammurah. Siqbah. Jisrayn. Zamalka. Ayn Tarma. Jawbar. Mulayha. Kafr Batna. Mu’addamiyah. Darayya. They sound foreign, biblical to American ears, but they stand beside other, more familiar names. Troy. Cyprus. Wounded Knee. NanJing. Odessa. Warsaw. Dresden.  Kent State. Sabra and Shatilla. Tian An Men. All places where people were slaughtered for the sake of land, power, and politics. For the past three weeks, the world has been asking itself, as we must do all too frequently, “When should we… Read more

July 17, 2013

The George Zimmerman trial and acquittal raises important questions that we as a society must address. The most pressing of these is whether all fears are equally justified, along with it’s corollary: whether one’s belief that one might be seriously harmed should be taken as face value by a jury or should it be evaluated for plausibility. As a woman, I appreciate a law that says if a man accosts me in a dark parking lot and grabs my wrist… Read more

July 11, 2013

2013 will mark my 26th Ramadan. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that no Ramadan is quite like another. My first Ramadan, I was in China, sharing a small dorm room with two non-Muslim roommates. I would sneak out for suhur — the early morning meal — so as not to wake them. All the cafeterias on campus were closed, so I’d open a tin of peaches and make it a meal with… Read more


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