Weekly roundup of altM news: Oct. 3

With all the stories on the Internet it can be difficult to always stay in the know. To help, we’ve searched the web for interesting pieces of news, videos and tips to help you start off your week on the right foot.

1. Coming out as bisexual when you’re Muslim and married

Comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh is the co-host of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. Photo/Zahra Noorbakhsh

Comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh is the co-host of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. Photo/Zahra Noorbakhsh

Public Radio International, or PRI, recently shared an excerpt of an essay written by comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh. She came out as bisexual shortly after the shooting at the Orlando nightclub, Pulse, on her podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. Her essay called “Coming out as bi when you’re Muslim and married” was published by Bitch Media.

“As my cohost shared her poem, ‘Secret Identities,’ I couldn’t bring myself to sit in silence,” Noorbakhsh writes. “To do so felt like a homophobic act on my part. I could feel the heat in my neck and the tightness in my chest with every passing second that I said nothing. My head felt like it was boiling until it felt like my ears were going to pop off, and I couldn’t take it anymore.”

“’I’m bisexual,’” I said into the microphone, “’and I’m married to a man. That’s not an erasure….’”

2. Almost 100 children killed in Aleppo since Friday, UNICEF says

Airstrikes in Syria hit eastern Aleppo, including hospital

According to UNICEF almsot 10 children have been killed and 233 have been injured as a crippling fight continues in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The children of Aleppo are “trapped in a living nightmare,” said Justin Forsyth, deputy executive director of the UN organization, in a statement on Wednesday. “There are no words left to describe the suffering they are experiencing.”

CBC News reported that UNICEF has repeated warnings that only  30 doctors remain in the city. Which would be 30 doctors are left to care for the estimated 250,000 civilians caught inside.

“Children with low chances of survival are too often left to die” because of limited resources, the group said.

3. These Photos Capture The Beauty And Grace Of The World’s First Muslim Hijabi Ballerina

Stephanie Kurlow, 14, poses at a dance studio in Bankstown on March 10, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. Stephanie started dancing when she was two years old, after converting to Islam in 2010 she believed she may not be able to continue. Stephanie now dreams of being the world's first hijabi ballerina', after struggling to find any dance programs that would accept her and being inspired by the likes of Misty Copeland, Stephanie started a crowd-sourcing initiative to raise money for future training. She has since been awarded a 'Game Changer Scholarship' by the Swedish sports brand Bjorn Borg. A daughter of Australian and Russian parents, Stephanie hopes more than anything to encourage everyone to come together regardless of faith, race and colour.  (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Stephanie Kurlow, 14, poses at a dance studio in Bankstown on March 10, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. Stephanie started dancing when she was two years old, after converting to Islam in 2010 she believed she may not be able to continue. Photo/Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

When 14-year-old Stephanie Kurlow first started wearing the hijab she couldn’t find a ballet class that would allow her to dance with it. But rather than give up, she launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a rigorous, private tutoring that would provide her with the training and skill needed to become the world’s first hijab-wearing ballerina.

According to The Huffington Post almost 700 people donated, raising over $7,000.

I think it’s really cool and amazing how ballerinas never show pain,” she said in an interview with CNN. “We could be bleeding in our shoes and never show pain.”

She hopes to one day open her own dance studio where dancers of all backgrounds and ethnicities can come together to do what they love.

“This school will have special programs for specific religions, support groups for our youth and people who are from disconnected communities,” she said in her campaign. “I will provide for our future generations a chance to express and heal themselves and others through the magnificent art of performing and creativity.”

4. A documentary about radical Islam in Pakistan forces its makers to arrive at a deeper understanding

'Among the Believers' was created from an 'Indigenous Perspective.'

‘Among the Believers’ was created from an ‘Indigenous Perspective.’

Among the Believers is a new documentary that focuses on Pakistan’s global image problem. The story starts with the hatred some Indians felt toward Pakistan after November 26, 2008 — “26/11” and the coordinated shooting and bombing attacks carried out in Mumbai  by 10 members of a Pakistan-based terror organization. The attacks left 164 dead and more than 300 wounded.

“I experienced a lot of hate and anger towards Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed a dear friend,”  Hemal Trivedi, the co-producer, director and editor of the film told The New York Times. “Then I started questioning my anger, as I did not know anything about Pakistan. The pain of losing my friend was so visceral that it triggered my curiosity to understand Pakistan a bit more than what the Indian media was providing.”

It wasn’t until he made the film that Trivedi discovered that Pakistan was still at war with itself.

“The real battle is fought there,” he said. “We are so oblivious of what is happening in Pakistan that we are just reacting to the simple impulse of hatred.  Once I realized that, my anger tuned into empathy.”

5. The Impossible Conversation: Talking to Children About Islamophobia

a little boy in the mosque

Waheeda Saif, a licensed mental health counselor and over a decade of experience in the field of trauma talks about how, even with all of her qualifications, can’t bring herself to talk to her children about Islamophobia.

“‘How was your day today?’ I asked my eight-year-old as we pulled out of his Islamic school.”

“‘It sucked! We didn’t get to go outside today because they’re soooo scared of the bombs in Paris. That’s so stupid! Paris is so far away and it’s not like those guys can beam here.'”

“My heart stopped. My thoughts became a jumble. In panic, I tried starting a conversation with him, but quickly realized it wasn’t going anywhere. I dropped it, and we moved onto his Social Studies project that was due soon.”

“And that’s how I, a therapist with over a decade of experience specializing in the field of Crisis Response and Trauma, dealt with the issues that are front and center for many parents today. I’ve had plenty difficult conversations with my children, and I regularly coach other adults on how to best broach difficult topics. But this conversation felt fundamentally different. It was more than just breaking bad news or explaining a horrific period in our history. It felt as if I would be making certain assertions about who he was as a human being, as an American, as a Muslim – his very identity. And those stakes were too high.”


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This list was curated by Kaitlin Montgomery, altM News Editor

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