Who is a Muslim American?

by Hamid Dabashi, Aljazeera.  I recently read two very informed and informative pieces on Al Jazeera on the situation of "Muslim Americans." One was very critical and the other, quite complimentary. Both authors of these two short essays were making important and cogent points. I did not think I had to take side with one or the other. They were both making valid points.  In one of those articles, I read about "the political impotence of the Muslim American community," in which Ali Al-Arian argued: "Today prominent Muslim American figures and organisations stifle the spirit of political resistance in our community." In the other, Abbas Barzegar countered: "Actually, American Muslims are at the centre of the resistance," further telling us: "Despite challenges insid...

​American Baby: 9 Lessons from Converting to Islam

by Olivia, Muslim Matters 1. It Gets Easier The beginning is always the hardest. You’ve found the truth, fulfillment, and a sense of peace you never imagined possible. A handful of people can’t wait to share Islam with their families, but for most of us, breaking the news to parents, grandparents, relatives, and sometimes kids, brings a sense of dread. This sense of dread has been even more heightened since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Many people perceive being a Muslim as the antithesis of being an American, even though Islam teaches us to uphold religious freedom. To most people, Islamic practice embodies the opposite of American values and lifestyles. Family members may be shocked or even mildly okay at first, but after it has ...

American Muslims, from fear to pluralism.

by Safi Kaskas, The World Council of Muslim Communities When America woke up on the morning after 9/11/2001 it was more religiously and ethnically diverse than ever before. The wave of immigration in the first half of the twentieth century made the United States a microcosm of the world. This new diversity had important religious implications, as new communities of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others put down roots in America. Some Americans, saw this diversity as true strength. Others were, and continue to be, threatened by it and are arguing once again for immigration restrictions. The issues of immigration and identity have once again risen to the top of the American political and social agenda and it is very divisive. In 2005, more people from Muslim-ma...

Reflections And Lessons From The New Zealand Christchurch Mosque Attacks

by Yousuf Ali Those of us in the United States on the night of Thursday, March 14 went to bed with some very tragic news which only got worse when we woke up. Two mosques in New Zealand were attacked in an apparent Islamophobic and white supremacist attack on Friday prayers in New Zealand. By the next morning, 49 people were killed, and several days later we still haven’t verified the total number and all of their nationalities and identities. Needless to say, this was a very busy and trying time for Muslims worldwide with many including myself performing salat al janazah al-ghaib (the funeral prayer in absentia) after Friday Prayers. In response, there has been a considerable discussion amongst Muslims about how to defend themselves against such incidents in th...

The world’s largest Islamic group wants Muslims to stop saying ‘infidel’

By Patrick Winn, PRI's The World. The largest Islamic organization on the planet has a request for all Muslims. Quit calling people kafir, an Arabic word for infidels or nonbelievers. This proclamation was issued by Nahdlatul Ulama or NU, an Indonesian collective claiming more than 90 million adherents — from clerics and politicians to shopkeepers and farmers. One of the group’s core tenets is promoting a more tolerant brand of Sunni Islam. Its leaders aim to uphold a secular state. They preach coexistence with Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Shia Muslims. And the word kafir, NU says, undermines that mission with "theological violence." “When someone calls you a kafir, that means you’re considered someone who is godless,” said Alex Arifianto, an Indone...

Meet Sadaf Jaffer, America’s first female Muslim mayor

​by Simran Jeet Singh, Religion News Service Last month, Sadaf Jaffer was sworn in as mayor of Montgomery Township, N.J., a bucolic, if rapidly growing, municipality of about 25,000 just north of Princeton. In that moment, Jaffer became the country’s first female Muslim mayor, first female Pakistani-American mayor and first female South Asian-American mayor. She might also be the first American mayor with a doctorate from Harvard who specializes in Islam, gender studies and South Asian history. Mayor Jaffer also serves as a postdoctoral research associate in South Asian studies at Princeton University, where she teaches courses on South Asian, Islamic and Asian-American studies. I had the opportunity to speak with Jaffer about her journey, including what it ...

Muslim women win office but still loosing at mosques.

by Shireen Qudosi, Clarion Project. Even though Muslim women are winning political offices, they are still losing at mosques as they continue to face alienation in the theological sphere. They still face restrictions within their own community that limits their engagement, including entering mosques through side entrances and sitting behind a partitions or walls with unequal accommodations and access to speakers and the collective conversation. On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Rashida Tlaib, Illhan Omar, Hodan Hassan and Safiya Wazir all won their bids for office during the 2018 U.S. midterms. However, despite their achievements they still face a stunning misogynistic patriarchal barrier at home. “Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be seated behind a wall, separated from the men in ...

On American Muslim Progressivism and Identity Politics

by Mobeen, Occasional Reflections The public square today is suffused with identity politics, and as it turns out, the American Muslim community is not immune to its allure. Recently, a number of commentators have commented on the midterm election as an indication of Muslim identity belonging. These commentators have argued that seeing Muslims successfully achieving electoral victories serves to facilitate social integration and affirm a belonging that political failure, alienation, and indifference would not. Although the intent of these arguments is laudable insofar as they attempt to shed light on American Muslim belonging, the language and underlying concepts invoked in this rendering of affairs bears significant implications for how Muslims conceive of themselves ...

After historic midterm election wins, Muslims struggle a little less with their American identity

by Imam Omar Suleiman, Opinion contributor, USA Today Muslims watched the midterm elections with a new sense of belonging. Finally, we don't have to choose between our American and Muslim identities. “Assalamu Alaikum”, meaning "peace be unto you”, is how I start my greetings and sermons. It’s also how Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar started her victory speech. The Quran is the sacred scripture that I recite in my prayer. It’s also the book that the first two Muslim women to ever be elected to the United States Congress will likely use to take the oath of office. Muhammad is the name of the prophet of Islam. It’s also the name of Mujtaba Mohammed, who was newly elected to the North Carolina State Senate. Palestine is where my parents came from before I wa...

Who gets to define American Muslim identity?

by Eboo Patel, Christian Century. The various groups that were drawn (or in some cases, dragged) to the United States have themselves been made up of a variety of smaller identity groups: Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics; Polish Jews and German Jews; Latinos from Guatemala and Latinos from Brazil. If, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, the poetical nature of the United States is determined by the dynamics of engagement between those identity communities, then there is also American poetry to be drawn from such dynamics within those communities. No nation has a Muslim community that is more ethnically, racially, or theologically diverse than the United States. For many years, these various Muslim groups created separate spaces, such as mosques, schools, and community ce...

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