This Thanksgiving, American Muslims Are Thankful For Allies Publicly And Vocally Speaking Out, Showing Up

Two British Muslim Women Friends Meeting Outside OfficeThis Thanksgiving, I join millions of American Muslim families in thanking fellow Americans of all faiths and political affiliations who this year publicly and vocally spoke out and showed up again and again to stand up for our shared American values, and to educate millions by using media to talk about the lives, contributions, hopes, and dreams of their American Muslim neighbors.

Being an ally is done best when it’s public and vocal. The more public and the more vocal, the stronger the impact. After all, our voices have the power to change millions of hearts and minds for the better.

We all remember the afternoon when the first “Muslim Ban” was signed. We remember seeing live videos from an increasing number of airports nationwide showing tens of thousands of fellow Americans – Republicans, Democrats, and others – gathering at the airports. We were all united by our shared American values and our belief in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and equal treatment under the law.

We are thankful to the thousands of attorneys who volunteered their time to help those facing obstacles resulting from the Muslim Ban. Some of these attorneys also launched the web site www.airportlawyer.org to continue to provide services free of charge at airports nationwide.

We are thankful to the members of Congress and local lawmakers who held press conferences and joined demonstrators in solidarity. We are thankful to the civil rights organizations, attorneys general and corporations that legally challenged the Muslim Ban.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

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Muslim-American veteran defends her faith and her country

seattle muslimMujaahidah Sayfullah is one of thousands of Muslim-American military veterans. But her perspective differs from many. She converted to Islam after serving in the Army and sees the world differently than when she wore a soldier’s uniform.

For Mujaahidah Sayfullah, Veterans Day is a time to express appreciation for those who protect the country and its freedoms.

“I’m very fortunate to have all my limbs,” said Sayfullah, who served in the U.S. Army for six years in the 1990s. “We have a lot of wounded warriors, and I like to acknowledge those who endured a lot more damage than I did.”

“There was no divide because we were all soldiers,” she said. “In the military you become like family, and there are no barriers with regards to race or socio-economic status. The only divide is rank.”

 

Sayfullah is one of thousands of Muslim-American military veterans. Their ranks include the likes of Khalid Lites, a third-generation Army veteran who lives in Shoreline. But Sayfullah’s perspective may differs from others, including the 4,275 Muslims the Pentagon reports are in active duty. She converted to Islam after serving.

She sees the world differently now than when she wore an Army uniform.

She’s been called names by strangers, thrown out of a courtroom for wearing a hijab, or traditional Muslim head scarf, and gotten suspicious looks, she said, at the V.A. hospital.

She grew up “spoiled rotten,” she said, in a Southern Baptist household in Tacoma. Her name was Teressa McCullough. She shocked her family when she enlisted at a recruiting office and shipped out to basic training in South Carolina.

“I just wanted to see the world and serve the country,” she said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES

The real reason Muhammad Ali converted to Islam

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Muhammad Ali’s conversion to Islam, in many ways, defined his career and legacy as a fighter with conviction. He went on to become an icon for American Muslims.

Just years following his conversion in 1964, he got in a fight that prompted him to write down some reflections on what drew him to the faith in the first place.

It wasn’t a fight in the boxing ring, but an argument at home with his wife, Belinda.

Ali was out of control, Belinda said. He had lost all traces of humility. He was acting like he was God. You may call yourself the greatest, she told him, but you’ll never be greater than Allah.

Like a schoolteacher, Belinda instructed Ali to sit down and write an essay. She asked him to write about why he became a Muslim. Ali obliged, taking out blank sheets of paper and a blue pen and beginning to write.

I think it belongs there — not only because it reveals a great deal about Ali’s character, but also because it teaches us about the religious life of one of the country’s best-known African American athletes and activists. His story reminds us that even the most powerful spiritual journeys can have humble beginnings.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

He’s faced death threats for being Muslim. Now he’s taking on Trump

636450710448553140--39I2254IMRAAN SIDDIQI, WHO GREW UP IN GEORGIA WITH SOUTHERN MANNERS, IS AN ARIZONA CIVIL-RIGHTS ACTIVIST FIGHTING THE PRESIDENT’S TRAVEL BAN.

5 facts about Muslim Millennials in the U.S.

The Muslim population in the United States is younger than the U.S. population at large. FT_17.10.25_muslimMillennials_420pxIn fact, while Millennials make up 32% of all U.S. adults, they account for roughly half of American Muslim adults (52%).

Muslim Millennials were born from 1981 to 1999 and generally came of age after 9/11. Most have transitioned to adulthood, and attended or graduated college. Some have embarked on careers or begun raising families.

Here are five facts about Muslim Millennials:

1While U.S. Muslims overall are largely an immigrant population (58%), Muslim Millennials are somewhat less likely to have been born abroad than are older Muslim adults (52% versus 64%), according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. (Within the general public, 15% of all Millennials are immigrants.) Racially and ethnically, 40% of Muslim Millennials identify as white (including Arabs and people of Middle Eastern ancestry), 29% as Asian (including people of Pakistani or Indian descent), 17% as black and 11% as Hispanic. Muslim Millennials are less likely to be married than are older Muslim adults (36% versus 71%), though they are roughly as likely to be married as Millennials in the general public (30%). And although Muslim Millennials are less likely than older Muslim adults to have at least a bachelor’s degree (24% versus 38%), they are about as likely to have one as Millennials in the general public (27%).

FULL ARTICLE FROM PEW RESEARCH 

Khizr Khan: the patriotic American Muslim who called out Donald Trump

5109It remains a defining image of last year’s US presidential election. Khizr Khan, speaking at the Democratic national convention with his wife, Ghazala, by his side, produced a copy of the constitution from his jacket pocket, held it up for all to see, and offered to lend it to the then Republican candidate Donald Trump. It also remains the most eloquent response to Trump’s bigotry.

Khan, who grew up in a small village in Pakistan, was talking about the sacrifice his son Humayun had made for his country – America. Humayun was killed aged 27 in Iraq 13 years ago, protecting his men from suicide bombers. He is buried at Arlington cemetery, Virginia, alongside so many other war heroes, and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

“We are honoured to stand here as parents of Captain Humayun Khan and as patriotic American Muslims,” Khan began. He continued: “Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law’.” Still addressing Trump, he asked: “Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing – and no one.”

FULL ARTICLE WITH VIDEO FROM THE GUARDIAN (UK)

How One Massachusetts Lawyer — Muslim, Female And Black — Manages Identity And Bias

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In her day job, Chicopee, Massachusetts, attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud does family law — divorce, custody, child support. But on her own time, she’s filed civil rights lawsuits on behalf of Muslim communities who feel threatened, especially African-American Muslims like herself.

In recent years, as the rhetoric against Muslims has intensified, so has Wadud’s activism. She’s on the board of CAIR — a national Muslim civil liberties organization — and the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

Wadud, a mother of seven, said she used to want people to see her as a lawyer first, with her faith and personal identity deep in the background.

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud: I didn’t want to be identified as a Muslim lawyer, as an African-American lawyer, as a woman lawyer. I really just wanted to be a good lawyer.

For a while, I would never even disclose that I was working on some of these cases for the Muslim community, because I felt: one, self-conscious. I felt that people would say, “What are you doing? Why are you associating with people [rumored to be involved] with terror?… Why would you do that to yourself?”

So I’ve evolved from being a little bit more self-conscious about that work, to openly embracing it, because there’s nothing for me to be ashamed of.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NPR