One of the greatest heartbreaks in my life occurred after coming out at the age of 24: I lost my Muslim community. After my public coming out, via an article in The Los Angeles Times, and the backlash that came with it, I retreated. I distanced myself from the people I cared about.
Muslims make up less than one percent of this country's population. Yet we're still asked to hide our faith and are expected to apologize for terrorist organizations that don't align with our religious beliefs.
Check-in with your body. Do your arms feel like wet noodles? Do your knees feel like sponges? Is your stomach doing that thing it used to do when you were a kid tick-ticking uphill on a roller coaster just before the fall? Okay. Don't be scared.
The main thing I've loved about my Hijab is how people have managed to treat me both differently and the same. I say this mainly in reference to boys, I find that guys still treat me as the same old Aemun that they knew before and yet at the same time they have that bit of respect, to not touch me, to keep a slight bit of distance and sometimes, in extreme cases, to lower their gaze.
I'm tired of getting up in the morning and hearing of the latest Muslim plot to take over the school/the city/the world (delete as appropriate); tired of being told that praying five times a day at a mosque is extremist; tired of being treated like being a Muslim is like having some kind of disease (and if you go to Pizza Express you might catch it too, sorry about that). Having a long beard or wearing a niqab may well be religiously conservative but it is not extremist. And there is no evidence that religious conservatism within Islam leads to violence and extremism.
Whose sharia is this? It is certainly not mine. I cannot believe that it is God's.
The challenge for our millennial generation is to continue translating America's religious diversity into social action.
Islamic terrorism is, undoubtedly, a serious threat. "Islamization" of our country by American Muslims, who make up less than 1 percent of the population, is not.
Pope Francis has shown us a faithful, peaceful approach to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. All of us can follow his example. We are all Pope Francis now. It is up to all of us.
A Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this, a joke?" Actually, it's a true story: the Muslim, Rahmi Mowjoo...
The recent anti-halal hysteria has nothing to do with the welfare of animals. It's just good old-fashioned Islamophobia. This is not to say that some people don't have sincere concerns about the way in which animals are slaughtered: they do. But these are not the people now jumping on the anti-halal bandwagon.
Every Imam who takes the pulpit this Friday should at the very least pray for our sisters in Nigeria as well as every woman who faces religious persecution and oppression at the hands of those who claim to act on God's behalf.
If "Islamist" means one's admiration for the values of an Islamic system of governance, it would make the founder of Islam and his companions Islamists of the highest order. So how will visitors walk away without associating Islam with extremism?
There is a difference between critiquing Islam and spreading irrational fear of Muslims. There is a difference between intellectually commenting on a religion and inciting hatred of its adherents.
While I hope not, it is likely that some Islamophobia deniers will continue to demonize Muslims who claim they've been discriminated against. Such demonizing is a slanted narrative devoid of common sense. Don't fall for it.
As Bostonians we took back our city, we ran to heal and move forward. We did not run as men or women, Christians or Muslims, elites or Average Joes. We ran as a city, we ran as a collective of humanity in its finest hour.