Miss America, sexism, and “American Values”

So when we hear bigoted online voices stating their disappointment that “An Arab”, a “sand nigger”, or a “Muslim” has won the Ms. America prize, the correct response is not to merely point that Ms. Davuluri is in fact both American and Hindu. The conversation is also about America, and American identity. It is not about who Ms. Davuluri is not. It’s about who we as Americans are, who we wish to become.

Words of God in women’s voices: Women reciting the Qur’an in public

A leading Muslim female scholar (Tahera Ahmad) recited the Qur’an at the national Muslim convention this year, a first. If we state that God is neither male nor female, and we emphatically do, then we should be capable of listening to the words of that God coming from the mouth of women and men, children and adults. If God can speak through a burning bush, God can speak through a woman.

NYPD: Muslims are terrorists

This hideous practice not only tramples on the rights of American Muslims, it also makes a mockery of the very rights and freedoms that are at the heart of the American experiment. If America is great, if America wants to be great, its greatness is to be measured not in the size of the flags we fly, but the extent to which we recognize the innate rights of all of our citizens, starting with the most marginalized amongst us.

Beyond #WhiteHouseIftar: 6 points towards a principled action of solidarity

Here are six concrete points and strategies to help us continue a principled and constructive conversation about #whitehouseiftars. In the last thirty years, we as Muslims have had intense conversations about our multiple and overlapping identities as Americans and as Muslims. What kind of America we want to belong to? An America that is an Empire, or a land of liberty and rights? If it is the latter, words will not suffice. We need to be participants in making that a reality.

Sounds of Protest: Les Miserables, Gezi Park, and the Power of Music

Ultimately that’s what so amazing about music at Gezi park. It’s not about the notes. It’s not about the words, or the melodies. It’s ultimately about us, all of us. It’s about the power of music to unite all of us. It’s about this new global generation of humanity who care about the well-being of one another beyond the narrow confines of nationality, race, creed, or class, that give us hope. They give us hope that they will be able to sing together, make music together, make love together, and make of this old world, a new world.

A prayer for Syria

As I listen to the American plans to arm the Syrian rebels, and ponder the 93,000 (and counting) confirmed dead…
As I reflect on the crimes of the mass murderer Bashar al-Assad, a prayer rises up in my heart.
The answer is not in further arming, but in disarming the whole of humanity.