What we’re reading these days: Sapelo Square, an important online resource for African American Islam. Named after one of the first communities of African Muslims in the United States (Sapelo Island), the website features articles, blog posts and special features and is a showcase for African American Islam in all its diversity and complexity. From the editors:
Sapelo Square hopes to intervene in the marginalization and erasure of African American Muslims in the public square by building an online forum that places African American Muslims at the center. Our goal is to celebrate, document and analyze the experiences of this unique community in order to shed light on its global impact.
Read more, here.
Eid Mubarak from our Love, InshAllah family to yours! Wishing you a joyous and blessed Eid al-Fitr. May all your Ramadan fasts and prayers be answered by the One who is All-Knowing and Loving.
Eight Black churches have burned to the ground since the shooting of nine worshipers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In response, 23 year old Faatimah Knight launched Respond with Love, an effort to rebuild black churches and support victims of arson across the south.
“We must always keep in mind that the Muslim community and the black community are not different communities. We are profoundly integrated in many ways, in our overlapping identities and in our relationship to this great and complicated country. We are connected to Black churches through our extended families, our friends and teachers, and our intertwined histories and convergent present.”
You can support this initiative too — donate, here.
Brenda Myers-Powell was just a child when she became a prostitute in the early 1970s. Here she describes how she was pulled into working on the streets and why, three decades later, she devoted her life to making sure other girls don’t fall into the same trap. Some people will find Brenda’s account upsetting.
I was a prostitute for 25 years, and in all that time I never once saw a way out. But on 1 April 1997, when I was nearly 40 years old, a customer threw me out of his car. My dress got caught in the door and he dragged me six blocks along the ground, tearing all the skin off my face and the side of my body.
I went to the County Hospital in Chicago and they immediately took me to the emergency room. Because of the condition I was in, they called in a police officer, who looked me over and said: “Oh I know her. She’s just a hooker. She probably beat some guy and took his money and got what she deserved.” And I could hear the nurse laughing along with him. They pushed me out into the waiting room as if I wasn’t worth anything, as if I didn’t deserve the services of the emergency room after all.
And it was at that moment, while I was waiting for the next shift to start and for someone to attend to my injuries, that I began to think about everything that had happened in my life. Up until that point I had always had some idea of what to do, where to go, how to pick myself up again. Suddenly it was like I had run out of bright ideas. I remember looking up and saying to God, “These people don’t care about me. Could you please help me?”
Read Brenda’s entire account, here.
Love, InshAllah & Salaam, Love editor Nura Maznavi recently gave a TEDx talk at the University of Chicago’s TEDx conference “The Incredible Unknown.” Nura talks about smashing the monolithic perception of Muslim women by sharing stories of something that transcends all boundaries: love.
We love this story of a beautiful new bookstore in Istanbul and the power of books to build community:
After four years of war, Syrians are everywhere in Istanbul — on street corners, squatting in abandoned buildings. But a new venture run by Syrian and Turkish book lovers aims to be a cultural oasis for Arabic readers, and, along the way, give Turks a fuller picture of the Syrians, Iraqis and Libyans increasingly filling the city.
In a painstakingly restored old wooden house in a working class neighborhood, Syrians, Iraqis and Turks mingled recently amid the shelves of the Pages bookstore.
Read more, here.
We love this story out of Minneapolis, where young Muslim girls designed their own basketball uniforms with the help of the University of Minnesota Design School and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport. Watch the video, here. Good luck with the rest of the season!