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Sumbul Ali-Karamali
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Sumbul Ali-Karamali grew up in Southern California, answering questions about Islam. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University, a J.D from the University of California at Davis, and a graduate degree in Islamic law from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. She has served as a teaching assistant in Islamic Law at SOAS and a research associate at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law in London. Her book, "The Muslim Next Door: the Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing," is an academically reliable introduction to what Muslims believe and practice, but one written in the personal, anecdotal, everyday context of growing up Muslim in America. Her second book, "Growing Up Muslim; Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam," is a nonfiction chapter book on Islam for ages 10 and up.

Entries by Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Merry Christmas from My Muslim Family to Yours -- Whatever Your Religion (Or Not)

(65) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 2:58 PM

Merry Christmas! And you're right, I don't celebrate Christmas, being Muslim, but I love participating in the celebration of it. I grew up wistfully and excitedly delighting in intricate Christmas light displays, listening to Christmas music in department stores, and playing, in numerous orchestra concerts, Christmas music from Leroy Anderson's...

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President Obama's Speech: How Can We Fight Terrorism If We're Confused About Its Causes?

(3) Comments | Posted December 8, 2015 | 11:10 AM

I watched President Obama's speech with a mixture of hope and gratitude and frustration. I was grateful that he reminded us that American Muslims are our friends, neighbors, sports stars, and men and women serving in our military. And I, like other American Muslims, feeling horror and anger and revulsion...

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Al-Shabab's Attack in Kenya: Media Coverage Plays into Terrorist Agenda

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 6:18 PM

The recent attack on the Westgate mall in Kenya is a sickening example of the senseless, criminal violence that occurs when a conflation of ignorance, thuggery, and murdering impulses becomes justified by a self-righteous and perverted distortion of religion. Al-Shabab is a militant terrorist group that has been empowered by...

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Who Are You Calling a Jihadist?

(52) Comments | Posted December 26, 2012 | 1:05 PM

Jihad, Jihadi, jihadist, even -- most ridiculous of all -- counter-jihadist. These labels are used by laypeople and journalists alike, often using jihad as a synonym for "any violence undertaken by Muslims." An extreme example is the ad campaign posted a few months ago on New York City...

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What Muslim Vote?

(2) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 12:16 PM

Muslims? What Muslims? On NPR, I heard a piece by Barbara Bradley Hagerty on how evangelicals who voted for Romney were outnumbered by those of other religious communities. A quarter of the electorate is white evangelicals, but it was outnumbered by those of other communities who voted for...

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Tragic Attacks on U.S. Embassies are Contemptible and Un-Islamic

(31) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 2:44 PM

I am an American Muslim, and like every other American Muslim I know, I am horrified and disgusted by the recent attacks on U.S. Embassies in Libya and Egypt. I stand with President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and numerous American Muslim organizations in unconditionally condemning these attacks. And I extend my...

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Egyptian Muslims and Christians Rising Up Together

(308) Comments | Posted February 11, 2011 | 9:10 PM

Those who insist on characterizing Egypt's electrifying protests of the last week as "an Islamic uprising" fail to notice the Egyptian Christians who are protesting alongside Muslims and other Egyptians in Tahrir Square. It's an amazing mosaic of Egyptians from all walks of life: women in black robes alongside young...

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Keith Ellison and the Tea Party's View of Sharia

(135) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 6:06 PM

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips stated this week that Keith Ellison should be voted out of Congress because, among other reasons, he is a Muslim. (He also stated, erroneously, that Ellison was the only Muslim member of Congress.) But now, according to Salon, he's put up a...

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Muslim Cleric Loses His Head

(12) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 6:50 AM

I admit that I have crazy people in my religion. I'm disgusted every time I see a headline like the one I saw on Sep. 5: "Muslim cleric calls for beheading of Dutch politician." How could I not be revolted at such an irreligious, un-Islamic, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting statement...

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Who's Afraid of Shariah?

(2245) Comments | Posted September 3, 2010 | 8:02 PM

Hasn't the whole notion of shariah in America gotten a bit out of control? No, it hasn't -- it's gotten hugely, obscenely, ignorantly out of control. How many of those anti-Islam protesters holding "NO SHARIA LAW" signs (as if anyone were advocating shariah law in the U.S.) actually know what...

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Ground Zero and Harry Reid's Cowardly Statement

(7) Comments | Posted August 18, 2010 | 1:19 PM

Harry Reid has capitulated to politicized fear-mongering rhetoric that, at bottom, fallaciously equates the vast majority of Muslims to the 9/11 terrorists. He stated yesterday that the Islamic Community Center planned on a site three blocks from Ground Zero (incorrectly termed the "Ground Zero Mosque") should be built elsewhere.

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Burqa Bans From an American Muslim's Perspective

(98) Comments | Posted July 20, 2010 | 4:58 PM

Yesterday, Syria banned women wearing a full face veil from university campuses, both public and private. France, of course, voted last week to ban the full face veil (the niqab) from all public areas. The reason cited by both countries is that the face veil as a threat to their...

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Times Square Car Bomb: an American Muslim View

(454) Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 6:51 PM

I woke up this morning to the news that the alleged perpetrator of the NY car bomb was a Pakistani-American man. If he committed this crime -- a contemptible, cowardly one that I wholeheartedly condemn -- then I am glad he was arrested. But I couldn't help but wish he...

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Halal Phobia in France

(43) Comments | Posted March 3, 2010 | 12:15 PM

In France, Islamophobia is reaching new heights. A French town has recently filed a complaint against a fast food chain because the restaurant now prepares burgers from halal meat. One French politician warns against "Islamization" from eating halal meat. Apparently, eating meat killed according to Islamic butchering rules might make...

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A God By Any Other Name: Semantics in Malaysia

(2) Comments | Posted January 13, 2010 | 3:57 PM

My daughter's 5th grade classroom may know more about the meaning of Allah than many in Malaysia do. Or, perhaps, the 5th graders may just be a lot less politically motivated in their development of understanding. They are certainly puzzled over the pervading debate in Malaysia about the meaning of...

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WISE Muslim Women Standing Up

(34) Comments | Posted October 10, 2009 | 7:18 PM

"Why don't moderate Muslims stand up and say something?" I've been asked frequently on my book tour in the last year. My response is, "We are, but not everyone is listening." Our media, for example, prefers to feature oppressed Muslim women, rather than the thousands of Muslim women advocating social...

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Ramadan and Captain Kirk

(5) Comments | Posted August 24, 2009 | 1:19 PM

This past week, my kids and I have been preparing for Ramadan and watching old Star Trek re-runs. So it's probably unsurprising that, as I rummaged through my garage in search of my collection of Ramadan lanterns, it struck me how strikingly similar the core values in Star Trek are...

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Stoning Soraya, Murdering Neda, and the Hope of Muslim Women

(4) Comments | Posted June 29, 2009 | 4:15 PM

A review of the new movie, The Stoning of Soraya M, reminded me of a story I read in junior-high school. "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson, described an American small town in which one person was selected by lottery each year to be stoned to death. The victim in the...

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Crying Wolf at the Inauguration

(13) Comments | Posted January 21, 2009 | 12:32 PM

President Obama, judging from his inaugural address, knows the difference between terrorists and Muslims, but apparently CNN's Wolf Blitzer still hasn't figured it out.

In his somewhat solemn inaugural speech, President Obama issued a strong statement to terrorists: "...for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and...

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Mumbai Attacks: Not in Our Name

(8) Comments | Posted December 3, 2008 | 3:00 PM

Aside from the wanton and indiscriminate destruction of life and property, last week's shocking Mumbai terrorist attacks were sickening in their random senselessness. Media and governments still scramble to categorize the attacks into boxes: al-Qaeda? Indian-Pakistani hatred? Anti-Western hatred? Or, as Paul Cornish ( suggests, "celebrity terrorism" without a real...

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