Stories about American Muslims

How do Americans and non-Muslims view Eidul Azha?

This year, a controversy surrounded the arrival of Eidul Azha, the second most important holiday in Islam, involving the holiday’s date, as the Express Tribune reported: American Muslims on edge as Eidul Azha looks set to fall on September 11th. Muslims abroad, especially in the United States, faced the prospect that celebration would coincide with a day of mourning of those killed at the World Trade Centres. As a result, some Muslim leaders prepared for tension between their community and anti-Muslim bigots. In the New York Times, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said, “Our community is like, ‘What are we supposed to do?’ I should ...

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The ugly truth about Muslims in New York

Recently, when I took the subway in New York my heart skipped a beat when I saw a poster that showed the Empire State Building on one side and on the other it said, in bold print, “The ugly truth about Muslims”. Below this, in fine print it continued, “Muslims have great frittata recipes.” My expression changed from shock to a wide smile. Photo: AP New York’s subway stations are flooded with “The Muslims Are Coming” advertisements designed to shock and thereby catch the attention of millions of commuters. Other posters indicate that Muslim-invented coffee, algebra and ...

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Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 8 In trying to forget, we remember instead

How could that possibly be? Why was Usman Khan’s name written in the father’s slot? Shamim Aunty’s husband’s name was Tanveer Ahmed, not Usman Khan. As I read on, the shock turned to nightmare; Abba jee’s name was written in the slot of wali (guardian). Tanveer Ahmed was one of the two required witnesses. Annie’s father, or the father I knew, was not listed as her father or her wali on her nikkahnama (marriage document) but a ‘witness’?? I read the document again, my mind in utter denial. Was Annie Usman Khan’s daughter? There were probably countless Usman Khans in the world, but it had to be ...

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How I deal with Islamophobia in the US

Mass shootings in the United States have become a frequent occurrence. Every time I find a breaking news story flashing on my cell phone that mentions a mass shooting, my heart skips a few beats. My first concern is not the number of casualties or the setting of the tragic event, but the name and religion of the shooter. Unfortunately, in this part of the world, those factors define how the news media provides coverage of the event. It was a nightmare come true when I found out that in the recent shootings in California that claimed 14 lives, the shooters ...

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Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 2 Am I philanthropic enough?

Refreshed after a quick shower, I returned to our bright and airy living room with its high ceilings and brick fireplace. We spent a lot of memorable time here, as a family and with our friends. The positive side of our association with the Islamic center was that we had both Muslim and Pakistani friends. This was very important for maintaining the Islamic spirit in our family. I hoped our children would understand and maintain this connection too despite being ‘die hard’ fourth generation American Muslims. Ali was still in his recliner, engrossed in the evening news. “How was your party today?” he ...

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What do you mean I shouldn’t be allowed back in the US, Mr Trump? It is my home!

Dear Mr Trump, I grew up in one of the best towns in America – Moorestown, New Jersey. Surrounded by a loving, protective family and an amazing community, I attended the best schools, made lifelong friends and married the love of my life. My parents moved to this country carrying what every single American parent carries, the hope for an amazing future for their kids filled with countless, unimaginable opportunities. Thanks to this country and my diligent parents, I always got way more than I ever needed. Thanks to my Christian and Jewish neighbours, I was taught tolerance, aiming high and smiling every day. Thanks to ...

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Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 1 My near perfect life

I had seen the intermittent drizzle of rain throughout the day from my office window. But in Seattle, rain was like second nature. My car had gone for  an oil change so I had the option of either walking or calling Ali. Although the street in front of my red brick office building usually wasn’t very crowded at five in the evening, it was even less so today. I decided to walk the short distance home. I opened my umbrella as I pushed open the office door. Maple trees, green with the celebration of spring, lined both sides of the ...

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I applaud Donald Trump’s suggestion to track American Muslims

As an American Muslim, I’ve always wanted to stand out from the mainstream crowd, to be highlighted for my exotic religious identity, ethnic “brownness” and multi-syllable name that will never appear on a Disneyland key-chain. That’s why I applaud Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that Muslims be given a special form of identification and his openness to the possibility of tracking American Muslims in a database. “Some people are going to be upset,” says the GOP front-runner, showing a sensitive spirit and exquisite social media trolling skills. Not I, Señor Trump, not I! Listen, I know you’re swamped right now figuring out how to build a wall ...

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Ahmad Saleem – a paedophile – and the tarnished image of Islam in the US

This week, American Muslims find themselves holding their heads and groaning over the new wave of sneering and jeering coming their way again. The tidal wave was set in motion last week with the arrest of Ahmad Saleem in Florida in a sting operation that busted a major child sex ring. Saleem was one of the 100 men arrested in attempting to have sex with girls between the ages of 12 and 14. Police officers in Lake and Polk counties in Florida posed as young girls on chat forums to lure in these predators. When Saleem arrived at the arranged house looking to have ...

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Pamela Geller’s hate for Muslims and blurry standards of free speech

A couple of weeks back, I vocally criticised the direct interference of the state in the academic affairs of my previous university, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), after they were forced to cancel a talk on Balochistan. However, this week, I found myself vocally protesting against the decision of my present university, Brooklyn College, to invite a speaker for an academic talk. On the face it, the positions I have taken in the last fortnight seem irreconcilable, hypocritical even, but what differentiates my two positions is the fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech. Ignoring any discussion on the technicality that in ...

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