Islam

Untitled

You are not meeting my eyes. They are beneath the cloth I wear on my head, actually.

No, I am from America.

Yes, it is called a hijab.

No, this cloth is not hijab.

Hijab is not a covering, a hiding-away, a flinching-back. It is a coming-out, a blazing-through.

Hijab is not here for you to fetishize taking it off with your fingers/armies/democracy.

Hijab is suffering for democracy.

Stop Urban Shield, Stop Violence Against Our Communities

If there is anything that Urban Shield and the racist history of policing in the U.S. teaches us, it is that the police and military are two faces of the same system of global repression and racism. 

Glimpses of a Muslim Childhood

Sajda

On the morning of my sixth or seventh Eid,
My mother dressed me in white Pakistani robes,

Holding my hand gently
As we walked through the bright wooden gates
Of the Islamic Community Center by our house.
I had not yet learned how to pray.

But my mother taught me how to bow in sajda,
The devotion of pressing one’s forehead
To the ground to feel smaller than God
has made you,
to feel as grounded
as feet.

As I lifted my forehead
from the carpeted floor of the mosque,

New Orleans thunderstorm, after the Boston marathon

birds echo and a tentative sun
retreats to darkness, knowing
far away news about to flood
our transplant hearts.

days, it’s been rising
pushing
up

seeking the jagged cracks in
facades of cheery every-day.
SWAT teams lockdown
again,
“please…not…a muslim…brown…”
one brown man after another flashed across the screen
we prayed
fearing marines neighborhood shellings on the screen
fearing our brothers pushed in front of a New York subway
fearing fear bursting into lives

Your House is Burning Sister, You Better Pray: The Unholy Union of Patriarchy & Religion in Sri Lanka

Nimmi Gowrinathan and Fathima Cader expose the intensity with which patriarchy upholds a religious nationalism that has Sri Lanka's women, and Muslim women in particular, cornered with little recourse. 

Book Review: The State of Islam: Culture And Cold War Politics In Pakistan by Saadia Toor

Hamzah Saif reviews Saadia Toor's The State of Islam, "a forceful corrective to the dialogue on Pakistan."

To the Hindu middle-class: Why “wait and see” won’t cut it

In 2006 and 2007, I spent several months in Ahmedabad while on a fellowship from my university in the US. During my time in Ahmedabad, I interacted with the mostly-Hindu NGO staff where I was based, residents of the largely Hindu shantytown where the NGO was working, and professors at Gujarat University. Less than five years had passed since the city had gone through its nightmare: vicious riots involving saffron-clad men entering urban neighborhoods and brutalizing, gang-raping, and burning other human beings. Some 1,500 Muslims were killed.

Book Review: Corona by Bushra Rehman (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013)

This fragmented, musical novel breaks the prettiness of memory, brings irreverent humor where it should, shows the crisscross of ethnic neighborhoods in New York City, and celebrates love in the midst of violence. 

Tracks Back Home

Live reading of poem developed for the South Asians for Justice event "Gujarat Genocide and US Solidarity" in Los Angeles, April 2012

Audio File: 
Podcast Length: 
6:29

'There are No Rules Here:' A Visitor's Guide to Guantanamo and the Military Commissions

In 2006, two attorneys observed military commissions for four weeks in Guantanamo Bay.  We revisit their conclusions that the detentions and legal process afforded the detainees held there harm the U.S.'s already diminishing reputation as a leader of human rights.

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