Islamophobia is NOT from Allah


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I am so damn tired of Islamophobia. My whole life as a Muslim has been marked with Islamophobia. I’ve never had a chance to just really ENJOY being Muslim. The only time I get to relax is when we visit a Muslim country, and that is few and far between (thanks to COVID, and all the people who refuse to mask and vax).

My kids have also only ever known a life filled with Islamophobia. Every year, it gets worse and worse. They can see how bad things are for Muslims, and it pains me to know that they feel it, too.

I very strongly DISAGREE with what some Muslim parents say, about how it’s almost a RESPONSIBILITY for Muslim kids to bear Islamophobia. They talk about it being a “test from Allah.” Sorry, but their understanding and my understanding of Allah must be radically different.

Allah is NOT cruel. Making a child live with hatred around them is cruel. Allah is not the one being cruel. Human beings are. If anyone is being “tested” by their children suffering, it’s the PARENTS. What are they going to do to protect their child? Nothing? Then they have failed the “test.”

Our children are an AMANA, a trust, from Allah. We made a PROMISE to love and protect them for as long as Allah will let us keep them. If we are not actively trying to IMPROVE their lives, and keep them safe from harm, then we are not fulfilling that promise made to Allah.

Suffering does not come from Allah. Suffering comes from the bad and evil actions of mankind. It is wrong to think that Allah created Islamophobia to test us and to make us stronger.

Being constantly attacked makes no one stronger. It makes them weaker, broken, scared.

There is a video that goes around the internet from time to time, of a mom showing her kids what bullying does to someone. She crumples up a piece of paper with each example of an insult or putdown. She then shows how, with kind words and apologies, the paper can be un-crumpled, but is STILL DAMAGED. The message is clear: bullying damages a person, so don’t do it at all.

Muslims share this video widely, but they seem to miss part of the picture. It isn’t enough to tell your kids not to be bullies. You must also protect them from being bullied.

Islamophobes are bullies. And they are everywhere. Liberal, conservative, center. It doesn’t matter how they identify themselves politically or socially. You will find Islamophobes in all walks of life, even among people who claim to be “Muslim.”

Protect yourself from Islamophobia. Protect your children from Islamophobia. And stop claiming that it’s just a “test,” and proof that “Allah loves you.”

Where Have I Been?

Election Day, 2016, was NOT a good day for me. I voted, and as I was leaving the polling station, I felt good. Hopeful, even, that the mad showman would not win. But then he did. And I went into a tailspin. I was afraid. No. terrified. And for a damn good reason.

We were living in Buffalo at the time, and although Erie County technically voted for Hillary Clinton, we were surrounded by Trump supporters. Yards were filled with signs (yes, filled), and cars were plastered with bumper stickers. Trucks would barrel down the road, flags waving from the bed, MAGA stickers all over the tailgate.

Driving had become an incredibly harrowing experience for me. I was visibly Muslim, and I had two young children at the time. I had to make the difficult decision to stop wearing hijab. It was like a knife in my heart, but I did it, telling myself that I was keeping my family safe.

What happened next filled me with anger. I am white, so without hijab, I don’t look “Muslim.” The same people who, only days before, had treated me with such animosity and hatred, were now being very polite and kind to me. I am sure they didn’t recognize me. Before, I had been just another “Muhzlem,” and now, I was “one of them.” It. Infuriated. Me.

I have been trying for years to tell my immigrant friends that Islamophobia is much more widespread than they perceive it to be. Many have chosen to ignore me, or to label me as “paranoid.” My experiences post-election proved what I have been telling them. As a white woman who has spent her entire life in this country, and is descended from a long line of people born and raised in this country, I know my people. And I know what they are capable of.

The last four years have done nothing but proved me right, and I have felt sick every step of the way. This is not something you want to be right about.

Flash forward to 2021, and we are now living in NYC (we got out of Buffalo as soon as we could, due to the rise in Islamophobia, post-election day), doing our best to survive a pandemic made worse by that crazy, unhinged, bigoted, sexist, xenophobic, racist, islamophobic madman in the White House (yes. Run-on sentence. Deal with it).

My husband is a pulmonologist and intensivist, so I worry. A lot. I also get angry. Angry at all the people who continue to listen to the orange demon, and choose to ignore science. Angry at all the avoidable deaths. Angry at the fact that so many aspects of our country now more closely resemble a third-world nation than ever before (and I have been to a third-world nation multiple times!).

I abandoned this blog when I probably should have been clinging to it tighter than ever. I should have been voicing my frustration and fears, instead of bottling them up inside. To say that the last four years have been difficult would be a bit of an understatement. They have been something that defies definition. I sometimes try to imagine how we will explain this era to future generations. How will be be able to convey the emotions? The confusion? The hysteria? The wanton ignorance?

I love history, and so I compare this to times gone by. I know that this has certainly not been the worst time in all of history, but I also know that it’s been the worst in my life. And that should count for something.

So, where have I been? Right here. Just like everyone else. Hiding.

Battling Bullies


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I am truly bothered by all these suicides that I’m hearing about. I have been wracking my brain, trying to come up with ways to combat bullying. I look at my children (especially Zuby, because I can’t help but think that girls are somehow more vulnerable to bullying, although I know that it’s not really true), and I think about their friends. They are all so sweet and loving toward one another right now, but I know that one day, that could all change.
What can I do, as a mother, to ensure that none of these children become victims to bullying? What can I do, as a mother, to ensure that none of these kids do the bullying?
I was in tears yesterday, thinking of how fragile our children are, and how much stronger they need to be in this day and age than we did. I was angry, when I thought of how Zuby will most likely spend her entire life feeling the need to gain approval from others, because hey, that’s what being a girl is all about (and that SUCKS).
I’m going to start with empowerment. I want to teach my children and their friends all about empowerment. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think an empowered child is a child who cannot be bullied. They will know that they are so much more than what the idiot bullies say about them. They will know that they are better than the bullies.
It’s better than doing nothing, I hope…….

Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is a Sham


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In the next few days, wait for an in-depth post about my dealings with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. As a mainstream, moderate Muslim, I have found them to be anything BUT a sisterhood. The truth shall be revealed. They are linked to Israeli zionist organizations that work hard to “educate” Muslims about who are the real perpetrators in Palestine (spoiler alert: they blame the Palestinians).


So, stay tuned! It’s going to be a doozy!

What Is A “Progressive” Muslim?

We hear this term a lot, “Progressive” Muslim. These days, it really seems to be quite the buzz word on social media, with Muslims eagerly describing themselves as being “progressive,” or “liberal,” and now, apparently, “inclusive.”

“Inclusive” Muslim is a new term to me. I had to Google it to see what, exactly, is an “inclusive” Muslim. I wish to first start by talking about what a “progressive” Muslim is, and then I will segue into this new (and very confusing) term, “inclusive.”

I’ll start with providing some background information on me, to give everyone an idea of where I am coming from. I am a moderate, mainstream Sunni Muslim, with love and respect for Sufism. I typically follow the Hanafi madhab (Islamic school of thought), and equally respect the (minor) differences of the other madhabs. I see none as being superior to the others, and feel that when it comes to fiqh (jurisprudence, generally handled by the interpretations of scholars who follow particular madhabs), it’s really up to the individual which one best suits them.

One important thing to note: the core teachings of Islam do not differ among the four Sunni schools of thought. Also, as I am Sunni, I cannot, nor will I attempt, to speak for the Shia schools of thought. I would assume, though, that they must be very similar to the Sunni madhabs, with very little differences among them. 

I also do not view Sunni Islam as being superior to Shia Islam. I have Shia friends, and I love and respect them as my equals (because they are my equals). To view anyone as being inferior, would actually be counter to the teachings of Islam. Similarly, to think one’s self as being superior to anyone, is against Islam. Only Allah knows who is better than whom, and it’s really not our place at all to even try to guess.

I think that I am a fairly open-minded individual. I don’t judge people based on how they live their lives, and I am teaching my children to love and respect all, without exception. Personal beliefs, lifestyles, practices, etc, are not what makes a person good or bad. I try to look at all for what’s inside them. Do they have a good heart? Then they are a good person.

Now, with a bit of information about my own beliefs, let’s take a good, hard look at these “progressive” Muslims.

“Progressive” Muslims are those who feel that they are somehow more “enlightened” than moderate, mainstream Muslims. They see themselves as being more “integrated” and “accepted” into society at large (however, what what cost, I am not sure). Alternatively, they see Muslims like me, as being “regressive,” “backwards,” “old fashioned,” and blame us for all that is wrong in the world today. We are singlehandedly responsible for Islamophobia, mainly because we “refuse” to “integrate.”

Whatever I have to say here, is based on my own interactions with such individuals, both in person, and online. Surprisingly, I have found interactions in person to be more aggressive than online. I have been told to my face that my headscarf serves as a barrier, and that as long as I “insist” on wearing it, no non-Muslim will ever wish to befriend me (which is incorrect, I might add, as I have made many friends with non-muslims through the years!). I’ve even been told that celebrating Christmas will make my Christian neighbors love me (not celebrating will apparently make them hate me).

I really do have to laugh at this one, as I am a revert (convert) from Christianity, and I remember seeing non-Christians trying to act and look like Christians. People just laughed at them, and saw them as cultural and religious sell-outs. I never saw anyone “accepting” or “loving” them because they had muddled their religious customs with those of Christianity.

“Progressive” Muslims are extremists, on the opposite end of the scale from Wahabbis. Due to this, a lot of non-Muslims mistakenly believe that “Progressives” are the “right kind” of Muslims for them to befriend. They don’t do a lot of things that make them feel “uncomfortable,” and some are even willing to imbibe in an alcoholic beverage. There are even “progressive” Muslims who will very proudly advertise who they voted for, hoping that will save them the discrimination and lynch mobs later (it doesn’t, of course).

So, why are they called “progressive” Muslims? Well, that would be because they feel that they have “progressed,” they are “modern,” “up-to-date,” etc. Anything that seems to “archaic” about Islam, they simply throw it out. Don’t want to fast? “Progressives” say you don’t have to! Don’t want to pray? “Progressives” say it’s not necessary!

I would like to point out that you cannot tell that someone is “progressive” by their manner of clothing. The fact that “progressive” women reject hijab does not mean that all Muslim women who choose not to cover are “progressive.” In fact, I can give examples of women who follow Islam exactly to the letter, and yet, they do not cover. Go to the Indian subcontinent, visit Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and you will see thousands of Muslim women who don’t cover, but are not “progressive” in their interpretation and implementation of Islam. Quite simply put, hijab (head covering) does not an “orthodox” Muslim make. 

Now, on to this new term, “inclusive” Muslim. What is this, exactly? Well, it’s just a “progressive,” but they are trying on a new look, so to speak. They are attempting to repackage themselves, by claiming that they are the ones who accept all, reject none, include all (that is, all except for mainstream Muslims like myself). They are now also using a term, “self-identifying Muslim” (I also had to look this one up).

What is a “self-identifying” Muslim? On the surface, you’d think that would be any Muslim, as Islam doesn’t require any sort of public declaration or ceremony in order to be considered Muslim. Literally, all it takes is someone saying, “I’m a Muslim,” and the whole community will consider them Muslim. So, why coin a term that makes no sense at all, in the traditional sense?

A “self-identifying” Muslims is (apparently) someone who tells people that they are a Muslim, despite whether or not that is true. Now, go back and re-read the previous paragraph. As long as someone says they are Muslim, the tradition goes that they are to be considered Muslim. No one is allowed to question, and certainly no one can declare them to not be Muslim (this is called “takfir,” which is a favorite pastime of the Wahabbis). Again, why the need to call one’s self a “self-identifying” Muslim, if Islam is quite clear about what makes a person a Muslim (they said they are Muslim, therefor, they are Muslim).

(I’m starting the third paragraph on this strange term, and I don’t know if I’m, any closer to an explanation)

They use this term as a means of saying that they are “inclusive” of all walks of life, no matter what religion they really practice. In other words, they don’t ask (for the record, mainstream Muslims don’t ask, either!), they don’t tell. A ‘self-identifying” Muslim can literally do whatever they want in the masjid (mosque), or wherever it is that they gather for worship (or not!). They don’t have to pray, they don’t have to make wudhu (ablution performed before prayer), they don’t have to cover their hair while praying (if they are a woman, and if they actually pray). In short, they don’t have to do any of the things that Muslims typically do in their day to day life. They “self-identify” and that’s that.

Sort of reminds me of the term “spiritual Muslim,” that was being used by some members of the African-American community some years ago, but this seems to be different. “Spiritual Muslim” was a term being used by people who were trying to figure out their spiritual background. They may have discovered that some of their ancestors had been Muslims, and they were feeling a longing to reconnect with something that was stolen from their ancestors (complements of the ignorant slave traders). Men were even growing what came to be known as a “Sunnah beard,” and I even had pregnant ladies asking me to suggest Arabic names for their babies. 

While the “spiritual” Muslim movement is clearly an attempt to regain stolen traditions, this “self-identifying” Muslim phenomenon just seems more and more confusing, the more I try to understand it. Perhaps that’s the whole point…




The Delusions of Misogyny


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Yesterday, an incredibly sexist, chauvinistic, misogynistic image was shared on a (now former) Facebook friend’s wall, that stated women have to “submit to the authority of their husband,” and that the role that women are to play, is nothing more than to raise children.
This view is dangerous and wrong. It reduces women to nothing more than slaves to men. It supports male-ego theories that women are inferior to men, and have a limited “purpose,” which is set forth by their male keepers.
I have noticed that ultra conservative Christians are encouraging this view, with propagandist ass-hats like Kirk Cameron and the Duggar family at the forefront.
The very same people who will tell you that Islam is a backward, oppressive, foreign religion (never mind that Christianity has its roots in the very same region!), and yet, here they are, promoting views that go directly against the teachings of Islam. Our holy book, the Quran, even has (loads and loads of) verses that talk about the rights of women.
The true icing on the cake was when the (former) friend, a hard-working woman herself, actually apologized to the sexist ass, telling him that she was sorry for the poor treatment that he received. Never mind the fact that he was harassing every single woman who disagreed with his antiquated (and moronic) views on women. She even defended him, telling someone that he’s a good person.
Good people do not behave in this manner. Especially people who proclaim to be followers of the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him). Never once did Jesus say that it was okay to subjugate and enslave women, because they were inferior beings.
I know this, as a Muslim, for you see, we too, following the teachings of Jesus.

(For anyone who is interested in seeing a side-by-side comparison of women’s rights in Christianity vs Islam, check out this cool little slideshow:

Not Special

I’m not anyone special. I don’t do anything special, or say anything special. I don’t have a following on Facebook or Twitter, and I’m pretty sure that I’m the only one who’s really interested in my blog. 
Nothing about me really stands out and tells people that I’m special, and therefor, deserving of special treatment. Googling my name comes back with some pretty boring stuff (mostly origami videos on YouTube, and odd comments I’ve made here or there). 
For the most part, I’m okay with being a simple nobody. I don’t want to have internet fame, or any other kind of fame. Let those who want it, have it, I say. What I do want, however, is to be shown the basic respect that everyone (special or not) deserves. 
For many years, I’ve noticed that, had I been someone special, people would have treated me much differently. I wouldn’t have to necessarily be intelligent, or anything, just deemed special by enough people to have a big following. If I had more than a thousand followers on Twitter, or a few hundred on Facebook, suddenly, I’d be special. People would treat me differently. They wouldn’t argue with me as much, for example. They’d be trying to win my approval, as if it mattered. 
Adab, or good manners, is something that is extremely important in Islam, but most Muslims lack it. Adab means that we should treat all with respect, regardless of their Twitter-ness. We cannot just pick and choose who is worthy of being respected. It’s not based on popularity or coolness. It’s a basic human right. 
I’ve been blasted by keyboard warriors so many times that I’ve lost count. And every time that it happened, I thought to myself, “if I were someone special, would they have treated me like that?” The answer I always come back with is, “most likely not.” I’ve also been mistreated by people in halal restaurants, stores, even in the masjid. All because I wasn’t someone that the deemed special or important. I’m a nobody to them, and not deserving of kind treatment. 
If I had internet presence, and was amazingly good at self-promoting every single, mundane thing that I do, and had managed to get my face and name recognized, I am sure that I would be treated very differently by most who encounter me. 
My whole point is this, and I’ll repeat what I’ve already said about not wanting fame: I don’t want a following, or a band of groupies, or whatever. I’m not saying that is something that I desire to achieve. What I am saying is that we should all be treated with kindness and respect. And we should all be treating each other with respect. 
Stop writing people off as unimportant or not worthy of kind regard. 
You may not see them as special, but I am sure that somewhere, someone does. I’m pretty certain that my family thinks I’m special. My husband thinks that I’m a good cook, and artistic. My kids think I’m silly and cool. I may not be famous, but that doesn’t make me worthy or being looked over, again and again. 

If They Only Knew


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Three young adult Muslims were brutally murdered, shot in the head, execution style, in Chapel Hill, NC, a couple of days ago. The man accused has confessed to the murders, claiming that it was over a parking dispute (as if that justifies it). His wife has said that it had nothing to do with the victims’ religion, despite the fact that his Facebook page is full of anti-theist and Islamophobic rhetoric. She has gone as far as to say that the three victims (Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha) were simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” I am deeply troubled by this statement, because many will perhaps agree with her. It wasn’t her husband’s fault that he murdered them. It was their fault entirely. Incidentally, the “wrong place” was their house, where he murdered them in cold blood.

Islamophobia is at an all-time high. News agencies, such as Fox News (the term “news” is applied rather loosely here, as I am sure that many will agree that Fox is anything but real news), have done nothing but fuel the fires of religious hatred and intolerance. Their news anchors have even made statements on air that, had they been about any group other that Muslims, they would have been told to retract these statements. People might have even lost their jobs over it, had the target not been Muslims. Islamophobia has given Fox (and others, like CNN and MSNBC) the green light to pretty much say or do whatever they want, with regards to Muslims.

Yesterday, as I was still reeling from the awful, sad news of the deaths of these three, beautiful, gentle young people, I had a thought: If they only knew us. I mean, really knew us. We aren’t really that much different from everyone else.

I can give my own life as an example to how similar it is to that of my non-Muslim neighbors. I am your typical stay-at-home-mom, with typical SAHM issues. I have a pile of laundry that threatens to attack me when I walk into the laundry room. My house is littered in toys and clothes, as if some strange cyclone started at Target, and ended right in my living room floor. My kids watch toxic amounts of TV, and every time I turn around, they are telling me about some app that their dear Disney Jr has told them to download (with a parent’s permission, of course). Certain foods are cause for great, massive meltdowns at the dining table, and junk food is always welcomed with rabid relish.

The fact that I pray five times a day, fast in Ramadhan, don’t drink alcohol, don’t eat pork, and try my best to live my life in accordance to the teachings of my religion, should not make me “foreign” or “different” from my neighbors and fellow countrymen. I don’t walk around my neighborhood, handing out pamphlets on how everyone is going to Hell, unless they start believing in exactly the same things that I do. I don’t condemn people for how they dress, or drink, or eat. I don’t scowl at people because they are different from me. Rather, I do my very best to meet each person with a smile (I have bad days, too, so maybe I don’t walk around all the time with a smile plastered on my face. Maybe, if you see me in the grocery store, you will instead witness a crazy, unhinged woman, arguing with her kids on why they cannot fill the cart with candy and cookies). I don’t impose my beliefs on others.

I really, truly believe that religion (or lack of religion) is a personal choice. I will raise my own children with the teachings of Islam, showing them what it means to be Muslim, and that each and every living person on this planet deserves respect. I will not, however, start telling random people that they should also be Muslim. It’s their business, not mine. My ultimate favorite verse in the Quran translates to mean, “To you be your way, to me be mine” (لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِىَ دِينِ). To me, that sums it up perfectly, how we should view our relationships with people of different faiths.

If people would take the chance to look past the (small) differences, they would see that we, too, are normal human beings, with all the trappings that come with being human. We love, we hate, we laugh, we cry, we rejoice, we mourn. Also, contrary to popular misbelief, we are quite humorous people. Most of us know how to laugh at ourselves. Sure, we do have crazy fanatics (all ethnic and religious groups have their crazies, believe me!), but they are honestly in the minority (just like they are in other groups).

What has happened here, according to public thought, is that one bad Muslim ruins the barrel. I cannot count how many times have people said to me, “You’re not like other Muslims.” I always end up thinking, “really? How many ‘other Muslims‘ do you know?” Since I, myself, happen to be Muslim, I know a lot of Muslims. And, I know a lot of funny Muslims.

The man who killed those young people is clearly someone who has never taken the time to get to know any Muslims. Had he known Deah, Yusor, and Razan, he would have known that they were three beautiful and bright souls. They were not the sort of people that have been portrayed on the news, and in movies. They were kind, and generous, and helped their fellow man, regardless of their faith. Perhaps he would have even grown to like them, seeing past that which “offended” him so greatly.

How they were choosing to live their lives, in service to others, is what is referred to as “stewardship” in Christianity. It’s a deeply rooted concept in Islam, as well, and we are encouraged to help others, be they Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, atheist, etc. The Quran refers to “mankind” (insan, in Arabic), and we are constantly told how we are to treat mankind. We are not told just how to treat our fellow Muslims. We must treat all of mankind with care, compassion, kindness, and respect.

If they only knew.

Inna lilahi wa inna illayhi rajeeon wa la hawla wa la quwatta illa billah! (To God we belong, and to God we shall return, and there is no power or might except in God!)

May Allah grant Deah, Yusor, and Razan the highest level of Jannatul Firdaous (heaven), and may He give comfort and ease to their grieving family. Ameen.

Thinking Like a Person



I am sure that we have all seen those obnoxious magazines with some ridiculously fit and trim woman on the cover, who claims to have lost massive amounts of weight in an insanely short amount of time. And, I am sure that some of us have actually read the interviews of said women, and read the highly offensive things that they had to say. You know, things like, “Oh, I just decided to stop thinking like a fat person.”

Thinking like a fat person. :/

That goes beyond ticking me off. It makes me fume, any time I think of it. In fact, it upsets me so much that, I think it’s been YEARS and YEARS since I last read such a piece of garbage, but it still gets to me!

When we take that leap toward taking care of ourselves, and trying to shed extra pounds, we are not changing our thinking from a “fat person” to a “skinny person.” I have been at both ends in my life, and I can tell you that my thinking is no different now that I am overweight, than it was when I was underweight (granted, that was when I was a teenager!). My thoughts regarding food are unchanged. I have always loved food, and I always will. And I do not see that as an emotional weakness on my part. Why should I? Food is, in my opinion, AWESOME!

What has changed, though, is my ability to give myself a little bit more self-worth than I was before (in my case, I think that my anti-depressant may be helping in many ways). My kids have also reached an age where they are not so dependent on me for each and every whim (only one remains in pull-ups at the moment). This has allowed me to have more time to actually think about myself (a whole 10 minutes a day, as opposed to 2 seconds!), realize that I do matter as a person.

Women are, by their very nature, nurturers. We nurture everyone and everything around us (yes, even if you think that you have a “black thumb,” you probably still at least attempt to keep the doomed house plant alive!). But we forget to nurture ourselves. We get the family fed, while we stuff our mouths with quick calories, and energy drinks to make up for sleepless nights. Our bodies are literally wrecked by pregnancies, lack of sleep, and an inability to properly look after ourselves. And as time goes on, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of it getting better. Not in a timely manner, at least.

Before we know it, years have gone by, and we can no longer remember what it felt like to be young, fit, and healthy. We invest in our families, and forget to invest in ourselves.

Making a huge lifestyle change like eating and exercise habits is NOT about changing your thinking so much as it’s about finding the time to take care of yourself. To show yourself that you matter. It’s about trying to find little ways throughout the day to actually put yourself first for a change. And to not feel guilty about it, because you are worth it, and you deserve it!

Throughout it all, you think not as a fat person, or a skinny person, but as simply a person. A person of great worth. 🙂