So, A Muslim and a Jewish Girl Get Up on Stage….

This slam poetry video is making the rounds and is too moving not to share.

Amina Iro and Hannah Halpern performed this piece at the Brave New Voices 2013 Slam in Washington, DC

There is nothing like a Muslim girl and a Jewish girl collectively breaking it down, powerfully explaining that the two identities have more in common than most realize.

 

 

We also take this opportunity to send our Jewish friends warm Passover greetings, and we are holding a good thought for the slain in Kansas City.  May Allah (swt) fill our hearts with peace so that we go out into the world and be a source of light. Ameen.

We originally spotted this at Upworthy. Go give them a visit! 


Crying and Reclamation

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“Love Wins”

I am not always strong.

There are times that I experience steep slopes of sadness. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the sorrow arrives as crude, impolite explosions.

I don’t have everything together, no matter what type of confidence seeps out of my writing. I spend most of my time struggling from paycheck-to-paycheck, too poor to actually date should anyone ever ask me out.  I’m always in a suspended state of fear that this is all my life is going to be: a lonely existence with a salary that is barely livable. I feel like I’m stuck, and inertia is a type of sin in my world.

Sometimes, I feel like I should just give up and claim my rural White heritage. I will move to some small Southern town and live in a trailer park. Forget my complicated identity. Screw my vast life experience. I am nothing special.

There are days I feel like low hanging fruit.

I write this not because I want sympathy, but because I know everyone else feels powerless and hopeless at times. I need you to know that you are not alone.

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Half Agony, Half Hope

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“Do you have any children?” a nice woman making small talk asks me.

I reply pleasantly, “No, I don’t,” but my inner monologue is racing.

Children? I don’t have children because  I don’t have a husband.  I don’t have a husband because I never had a romantic relationship with a guy. I never had a boyfriend, I’ve never even been kissed and I’m way older than Drew Barrymore was when she was in that movie with Michael Vartan! I’m older than Jesus ( AS) when he was on this earth! Oh God, what if it’s too late for me to have children?

My inner monologue hysterically wonders about how hot hot flashes actually are, as I smile at the nice lady who’d innocently assumed that a Muslim woman my age is almost certainly married and almost certainly a mother.

I am an unmarried Muslim woman of a certain age. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised that I’m in this demographic.

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Zen and the Art of Being Naked

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One of the most common nightmares in the world – alongside falling or drowning, performing poorly on a test, and being chased – is the one where you’re naked in front of a room full of strangers.

This fear always seemed odd to me. Being naked in front of a roomful of strangers I can handle. Being naked in front of friends and peers is a different story.

I’m speaking metaphorically, of course.

So when I decided to read my fiction last week at my first open mic, it felt akin to baring my soul, standing exposed in front of a roomful of other writers and friends. But I had decided to take a radical step towards bravery and I would not be dissuaded from shaking up my life in this way. In my experience, shaking things up to the point of discomfort has always been the only way forward.

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How Art and Music Create New Hybrid Culture

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North African-Dutch musician and creative artist, Rajae El Mouhandiz, gave a stunning TEdxBreda talk a few months ago on claiming her Islamic North African heritage as her own, the legacy of postcolonialism, and the importance of telling your own story through the arts. As #EmpoweredMuslimWomen are blazing up the stratosphere while talking back to misogynist metanarratives to claim new cultural space, we are proud to showcase Rajae as our Friday Love!

Rajae is working on several awesome projects, such as recording new music and a Crowdfunding endeavor to empower Moroccan women in the handicraft industry. She is also helping bring to life European productions of The Hijabi Monologues.

Take time to listen to her story. It will inspire you!

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