IHOP, Malcolm X and desis, suburban Islam, and a bit more Israel stuff. Sorry.
Hello again! This turned out to be another long one, so let’s jump right into the latest.
Waiting for the golden ticket. The State Department says it has granted hundreds of waivers, which allow exceptions to the travel ban based on special circumstances – a fact the White House has used to defend its policy. But five months in, the waivers have been nearly impossible to get.
Police trainings could use some extreme vetting of their own. Last time we talked a bit about the U.S. cottage industry for Islamophobia. This week, the Middle East Eye zoomed in on an issue that Al Jazeera probed in “Islamophobia Inc”: the virtually unregulated counter-terrorism trainings offered to police. These trainings can be littered with conspiracy theories about Muslims: some liken mosques to a military outposts and teach that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government.
When you run for office as a Muslim woman, your policies are irrelevant. “Almost every article written about my campaign mentioned that I was Muslim,” former Cook County Board of Commissioners candidate Bushra Amiwala writes. “In one article that debriefed a debate between my two male opponents, it noted: ‘Amiwala wore a stylish, light pink hijab.’ No one mentioned what the two men were wearing.”
IHOP and suhoor 🥞 A fun little story I wish I had done.
Trump’s first White House iftar is happening tonight. Cue the perennial debate: are Muslims who attend the iftar “selling out” or “engaging”? (Hint: selling out. Boycotting is a legitimate form of engagement.) Will Muslims leaders who attend lose all credibility? Will any Muslims even want to go? “I don’t want them to take a picture of me shaking his hand when I have gotten nothing from him, have not been able to even meet with anyone from his administration,” Islamic Relief’s government liason told BuzzFeed last year. "We do not need an iftar dinner," one Muslim chaplain told CNN. “Do not feed us and stab us." But let’s also not forget that time Obama defended NSA surveillance and Israeli attacks on Gaza at his 2014 iftar.
Speaking of engagement vs selling out, Wajahat Ali. He was disinvited from the annual ISNA conference. The main reason, of course, is his rubbing elbows with Zionist Jews, and particularly his recent article in the Atlantic. Here’s a rebuttal from Maliha Khan, who suggests he has “drunk the hasbara Kool-Aid.”
Do you know a Muslim who’s afraid to go to the mosque this Ramadan? The Guardian spoke to one such Muslim in Michigan. “I feel like something is going to happen,” he said. “We don’t turn around until the prayer is done. What if someone comes in shooting with a rifle like in Canada?” Activist Taz Ahmed added on Twitter that she’s also been avoiding the mosque - not fearing an attack, but fearing government surveillance.
Desi-washing Malcolm X. Yasmine Flodin-Ali explores the tense relationship between racial and religious identity among U.S. Muslims, particularly looking at how South Asian Muslims have claimed Malcolm X as one of their own. I was particularly struck by her calling out Pakistani American academic Amir Hussain, who wrote this in his recent book on the history of Islam America: “We were here before America was America, arriving in slave ships bound for the colonies.” “Who is we?” Flodin-Ali responds.
Islamophobia isn’t always a ticket to political success. Even in Texas, in Trump’s America, it can backfire. The Texas Observer looks at two amazing, and refreshing, examples.
Ramadan in an Amazon warehouse. East African workers in Minnesota are complaining of dehydration, exhaustion, injuries, and no A/C 😰. In related reading: Islam offers a pretty modern take on worker’s rights.
A black, Muslim, LGBTQ girl in the foster care system. “I was fearful of becoming one of those forced into residential treatment facilities, just for being open about who I was,” Lucina Kayee reflects. “So I lied about my identity, and told everyone I was heterosexual and Christian.”
A Tunisian goalkeeper fakes injury to let his teammates break their fast 😂 I’m really trying to stick to the U.S. with the links I curate, but this headline was just too good to pass up.
👌 Shout out to “Suburban Islam”
“Suburban Islam” is in-depth, ethnographic study into how third spaces are reshaping post-9/11 Muslim communities, and one of the first-ever studies to zoom in on upper middle class, educated, suburban Muslims. It’s also first book from Justine Howe, an assistant professor of religious studies at Case Western Reserve University. She spent four years embedded in suburban Chicago’s Mohammed Webb Foundation to learn about attempts to create an “American” Islam beyond the mosque. You can check out this quick, accessible primer on her research if you can’t read the full book.
Her next book will be a history of Muslim Students’ Associations, so keep an eye out for that as well.
🗣 Talk to me
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, I would love to hear them. Otherwise, see you at the end of the month, insha’Allah!