On the occasion of altMuslimah’s fifth birthday and International Women’s Day 2014, Editor-in-Chief Asma Uddin reflects on altMuslimah’s past and future.
Five years ago on this exact date, altMuslimah was born, and I wrote this in my introductory article:
The editors at altMuslimah.com … have embarked on an ambitious project: providing a space for compelling comment on gender in Islam … It is altMuslimah’s goal to explore all of these dimensions and provide a platform for intra- and inter-community dialogue on a wide variety of gender-related issues.
The mode of exploration is a combination of analysis and personal stories. The editors at altMuslimah are firm believers in the power of narratives to help explain social phenomena. By uncovering the stories of a wide cross-section of men and women in the community, the gender issues that affect both men and women will come into sharper focus.
Is there any doubt that altMuslimah has delivered on its promise, and continues to do so? It has delivered through online articles, multimedia, social media, and live-streaming events; offline programming in the form of social events, panel discussions, roundtables, and even an all-day conference at Princeton University; and national and international speaking engagements, including my recent weeklong trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Our articles have served as the centerpieces of numerous book club meetings and have inspired deep spiritual journeys, including those leading young women to convert to Islam. All I can say is, Alhamdulillah.
And we haven’t left it at the Muslim community. Recognizing that the struggle to negotiate faith with lived realities is one that believers (especially female believers) of all faiths experience, altMuslimah has helped launch a Catholic sister site—altCatholicah—and is actively searching for counterparts in Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, and other faiths. All of these sites will be organized under our soon-to-be-revealed umbrella site, altFem Magazine, a place where we can complement our respective intra-faith discussions with interfaith conversations—conversations on relationships, sexuality, family, friendships, career, and parenting. Instead of abstract discussions on theology, we are rooting our conversations in the stuff that informs our day-to-day—and that which matters to us most deeply. Only this sort of interfaith discourse can forge real and lasting bonds.
Of course, even as the team at altMuslimah celebrates all that we’ve accomplished, we know there are gaps to be filled, new issues to be broached, additional perspectives to include. Every day in our editorial work, we walk a fine line of reconciling faith and the real world. The aim at all times is to enrich each reader’s spiritual journey and bring him or her closer to God. We think that is possible only through open, critical discourse—not afraid to ask hard questions or “air our dirty laundry.”
Exciting things lie ahead for us, inshaAllah. And I am excited to be taking that journey not just with our readers—loyal and inspiring in their own right—but my fabulous team: Young women who have devoted countless hours of work to making altMuslimah a household name for American Muslims, and a go-to source for everyone seeking a nuanced and authentic look at gender-and-Islam.
Asma T. Uddin
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Asma Uddin is the Editor-in-Chief at altMuslimah.