struggle

Normal Calm: A Novel

When I first began writing a story whose protagonist was the victim of date rape, my intention was to clarify that any social stigmas attached to such a woman are unjust and outlandish. In my naivety, I thought that these stigmas only existed in conservative cultures where marriage within the…

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The religion of my rape

Whenever the epidemic of rape in Egypt makes the news, I am destined to think of Joyce Carol Oates.   Last summer, the author took to twitter to question whether Islam was responsible for the widespread incidence of sexual assault in Egypt, an argument people continue to make today. As…

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Non-Desi like me

<< From the AltMuslimah Archives >>
Part of me wants to apologize for the relative melodrama of this title. I concede, of course, that my own experiences pale in comparison to the racially-based oppression John Howard Griffin recorded in his famous account of segregation in the American South.

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Part 2: An interracial marriage: Over my dead body

Although it took many months of persistent coaxing on our and the community elders’ parts, my wife and I prevailed; even after we tied the knot though, I continued to feel burdened by the suspicion that we were only one among hundreds, if not thousands, of American Muslim couples who fought against families and communities opposed to their interracial marriage. Within the Muslim community, I realized the power of the unthinkable: When it came to marriage, some Muslims couldn’t even entertain the thought of marrying individuals from particular “groups.” The idea of a black Muslim man marrying an Arab Muslim girl was inconceivable. Joining an Indonesian and a Pakistani in holy matrimony…forget about it.

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Part 1: An interracial marriage: Over my dead body

Seven years ago, I married a wonderful woman. My wife-to-be was an Arab-American Muslim and I was a Cuban-American Muslim. Both she and I considered our ethnic identities incidental; after all, although my Cuban family raised me and she was brought up by her Algerian parents, we both shared the “American” after the hyphen, which made us quite compatible. For starters, English was our stronger language. We also had a similar taste in books and films, shared congruous views on the philosophy and practice of our faith, and both knew who “The Simpsons” were. We were a perfect fit, or so we thought.

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