January 23, 2018

Review by Layla Abdullah-Poulos THE ACQUAINTANCE Saba Syed $17.99, 292pp, Paper SPOILER ALERT Access to a monumental repository of literature is a blessing but not a perfect one. Avid readers, instructors and literary critics often encounter novels with similar themes and messages. When this happens, the focus on the execution of the author in telling the story intensifies. The books in Muslim fiction include an expanse of work, but there are a couple of subgenres to which many authors gravitate -… Read more

January 19, 2018

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos During a discussion about the dynamics of women’s agency and autonomy, specifically in sexual interactions, a phenomenal Muslim woman feminist said something extremely interesting: “I don’t have any problem admitting that I have little to no sexual agency or autonomy in a male-dominated environment.” While fleshing out that idea as much as one can in a single conversation, a stark reality manifested. Many women may not be ready to accept it, but most female agency and autonomy… Read more

January 13, 2018

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos When navigating and addressing issues of social justice, mistakes happen. Even knowledgeable people will make errors or have lapses in judgment resulting in instances of social and cultural insensitivity and trauma. The more competent seek to rectify their offenses and learn best how to avoid them in the future. This week on Twitter, Black Muslim women addressed the continual erasure of African American and Black Muslim experiences by their fellow Blacks and challenged Black resistance culture to… Read more

January 5, 2018

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos Polygyny (Polygamy) remains a contentious marital option in Muslims cultures globally. There is a spectrum of cultural contextual practices and notions about the institution. Muslims either are staunch proponents, vehement detractors or somewhere in between when it comes to how many women one man marries. Debra Majeed notes in her book Polygyny:  What it Means When African American Muslim Women Share Their Husbands[1] the presence of an expanse of often dualistic works that “strongly affirm and advocate”… Read more

December 29, 2017

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos Yeah, blogs are my thing. Not only do I write one, I am voracious about reading as many as I possibly can because they offer a range of perspectives on a variety of issues. Blogs represent diversity in thought and perspective. Unlike mainstream media and transitional blogs with just as facetious and ostensibly “objective” facts and positions, a savvy blogger comes with their admittedly-subjective take on things, often with an unabashed attitude, which I love. Like any reader,… Read more

December 20, 2017

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos Art comprises a vast spectrum of ways to relay an array of expressions of creators from various socio-cultural backgrounds and standpoints. Additionally, there is the constant potential for subjective interpretations that may or may not jibe with the intent of the artist. Consequently, art in all its forms is extremely subjective, something with which artists must always contend, especially when venturing into the sphere of social commentary. When artists reach outside of their individual experiences and extend… Read more

December 18, 2017

Umm Juwayriyah is a popular NbA Muslim urban fiction author. In addition to her online blog series, and children’s books, she’s written the novels The Size of a Mustard Seed and Tried and Tested, her latest book about life in an African American Muslim community. Layla Abdullah-Poulos interviewed Umm Juwayriyah about her new book, abusive relationships, young Muslims, and African American Muslim experiences. Complexity of Abusive Relationships Abdullah-Poulos and Umm Juwayriyah talked about the complexity of abusive relationships, wherein victims are frequently torn between… Read more

December 16, 2017

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos Ah, “hot takes.” Those up-to-date responses to an event that hit the news and social media every day like hail on a newly-waxed car. For some bizarre reason, when something happens – somewhere, it becomes necessary for everybody and their mama to comment on it as quickly as possible, which would be fine if things happened in neatly encapsulated bubbles of reality, which they don’t. Instead, life on this planet is a big blue bunch of messy… Read more

December 3, 2017

Layla Abdullah-Poulos had the opportunity to talk with Islamic scholar Ahmad Mubarak about his book Centering Black Narrative: Black Muslim Nobles Among the Early Pious Muslims, which he co-authored with Dawud Walid. The book highlights Black Islamic history, a part of the faith’s rich heritage often ignored. During the interview, Abdullah-Poulos and Mubarak discussed a number of issues reflecting Black Muslims experiences as well as those affecting the ummah. Arabness and Blackness Mubarak explains the history of Islamic scholarship addressing… Read more

November 14, 2017

  By Layla Abdullah-Poulos Once again, news of another violation of a Muslim female’s person hits the internet, demonstrating the broader society’s tenacious discomfort with our existence as well as assumptions about the multifaceted significance of modesty in American Muslim culture. Instances of such breaches also typically produce short-lived conversations inside Muslim communities, with very little attention paid to Muslim women. Normally, there is a litany of non-Muslims apologizing for or justifying the unacceptable behavior of the aggressors as well as Muslim male… Read more

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