Missed us? Let’s catch up!

Illustration by Samya Arif for The Lily

Catch up on “Love, InshAllah” & “Salaam, Love” writers & editors Ayesha & Nura’s latest:

Patheos/AltMuslim On Ramadan, Forgiveness, & the Shape of the Woman Beneath: Ayesha wrote a piece on this site about being disowned by her mother after the publication of her first book, here. In this follow up piece, she explores her six-year path to inner peace.

Washington Post/The Lily This Ramadan, I’m focusing on fostering tender masculinity in my son  In the #MeToo era, we need to talk about how we’re raising the men of tomorrow

M Magazine Constellations of Love Surround You Your love life isn’t limited to your romantic partner

The Establishment Jane Austen And The Persistent Failure Of The White Imagination

M Magazine What Did You Say When Your Children Woke Up On November 9

Good Girls Marry Doctors anthology essay Without Shame


Ten Questions for Author Saadia Faruqi

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Houston-based author Saadia Faruqi, recently released her debut short story collection, Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan. Deonna Kelli Sayed caught up with Saadia to discuss the book, her interfaith work, and what it is like to live in a chai-free household.

Deonna Kelli Sayed (DKS): You are in an elevator with someone and you have a minute to convince them to read Brick Walls. What do you say?

Saadia Faruqi (SF): Remember when short stories were in vogue? Well, those times are back with Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan! What’s that, you ask? Well, Brick Walls is a collection of short stories based in Pakistan, my birth country. Although the characters are fictional, the situations they face are very real, very tough and very different from the image of Pakistan in western media. The stories are a portrait of everyday life with all its challenges and realities. The best thing is that they showcase the beautiful aspects of Pakistani culture: the food, the scenes, the people with kindness and courage in their hearts.
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My 25 Years as a Prostitute

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A beautiful read to start the long weekend – an inspiring story of resilience and faith:

Brenda Myers-Powell was just a child when she became a prostitute in the early 1970s. Here she describes how she was pulled into working on the streets and why, three decades later, she devoted her life to making sure other girls don’t fall into the same trap. Some people will find Brenda’s account upsetting.

I was a prostitute for 25 years, and in all that time I never once saw a way out. But on 1 April 1997, when I was nearly 40 years old, a customer threw me out of his car. My dress got caught in the door and he dragged me six blocks along the ground, tearing all the skin off my face and the side of my body.

I went to the County Hospital in Chicago and they immediately took me to the emergency room. Because of the condition I was in, they called in a police officer, who looked me over and said: “Oh I know her. She’s just a hooker. She probably beat some guy and took his money and got what she deserved.” And I could hear the nurse laughing along with him. They pushed me out into the waiting room as if I wasn’t worth anything, as if I didn’t deserve the services of the emergency room after all.

And it was at that moment, while I was waiting for the next shift to start and for someone to attend to my injuries, that I began to think about everything that had happened in my life. Up until that point I had always had some idea of what to do, where to go, how to pick myself up again. Suddenly it was like I had run out of bright ideas. I remember looking up and saying to God, “These people don’t care about me. Could you please help me?”

Read Brenda’s entire account, here.


Why I’m Not Fasting This Ramadan

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Today on Beacon Press’s blog, Beacon Broadside, Love InshAllah editor Nura Maznavi writes about why she’s not fasting this Ramadan:

[Ramadan] meant community when I moved away from home. During my seven years living in San Francisco, dozens of friends would cram into my tiny studio apartment to break fast, all of us away from our families. When I moved to Chicago as a new bride, I met most of my closest friends here during my first Ramadan. We were invited to an iftar almost every night, with people we’d only just met welcoming us newlyweds into their homes.

Over the years, I never missed a day of fasting, except for the few days each Ramadan I was on my period. (And even then, I pretended to fast, because I didn’t want everyone to know I was on my period.)

Then, last year, for the first time in almost thirty years, I didn’t fast.

Read more, here.


Smash the Monolith

Love, InshAllah & Salaam, Love editor Nura Maznavi recently gave a TEDx talk at the University of Chicago’s TEDx conference “The Incredible Unknown.” Nura talks about smashing the monolithic perception of Muslim women by sharing stories of something that transcends all boundaries: love.


Written in the Stars: Author Interview with Aisha Saeed

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In Love, Inshallah, Aisha Saeed eloquently introduced readers to her traditional, Pakistani match-made love story. When she met her future husband, Aisha already knew that she wanted to write about a story different than her own – a fictional account of Naila, a young Pakistani-American girl, who is forced into marriage.

Aisha fully explores Naila’s journey in her first young-adult novel, Written in the Stars, released in March 2015 from Penguin Nancy Paulsen books.  Publishers Weekly says the book “…movingly conveys the intense cultural pressure that motivates Naila’s parents and the heartbreaking betrayal Naila feels as she is deprived of her rights, cut off from the outside world, and threatened with shame and death.”

Deonna Kelli Sayed speaks with Aisha about how she met her husband, the initial trepidation dealing with an often cliched subject matter, and her involvement with We Need Diverse Books.  Listen to the interview after the jump!
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We Got Next

We love this story out of Minneapolis, where young Muslim girls designed their own basketball uniforms with the help of the University of Minnesota Design School and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport. Watch the video, here. Good luck with the rest of the season!

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