Spotlight: Melody Moezzi, author, attorney, and Love InshAllah contributor!

Melody Moezzi is an activist, attorney and author.  She won a Georgia Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2007 for her first book, War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims. She is currently writing her second book (to be published by Penguin), a memoir about her experiences with bipolar disorder and also with a bipolar identity as an Iranian-American Muslim woman.

An excerpt from Melody’s piece, “Love In the Time of Biohazards”: 

“When I first called Matthew from Montana, I must have sounded crazy, and in many ways, I was. I had seen God in everything there–the people I met, the lakes I swam in, the glaciers I slid down, the wildflowers I couldn’t pick, even the bears and moose that terrified me–and I had fallen in love with Him. It helped that I was reading the Qur’an and beginning to pray regularly, but what really brought me closer to God was this love and gratitude for creating a place like this for us humans to play in, however briefly. And just as northwestern Montana was in many ways the place that brought me to God, Matthew was the person.”

To read the rest of Melody’s story, order Love InshAllah today!

Why were you drawn to this project?

There hasn’t been any other book quite like it, and that definitely drew me to it. Also, I think it’s so important to share these stories because it reveals the realities of Muslim women. We are so often portrayed and perceived as being oppressed and submissive, and I think this book shows that we are anything but. I think Ayesha and Nura are brilliant for coming up with the idea for this project, and I’m honored to be a small part of it.

What was the most challenging part of sharing your story?

When I was initially approached about the project, my gut reaction was fear–fear that people would judge me and fear that sharing something so personal would make me uncomfortable. But then I realized how fucked up it was that fear might stop me from writing about love. After that, I knew that I had to contribute to this groundbreaking project. As a writer and an activist, I’ve found that when I’m afraid to do something, that’s exactly what I should be doing. I fully believe that the most important and valuable endeavors in life often scare the hell out of you at first. The way I see it, this is the essence of any jihad–that is any struggle for truth or justice (the genuine meaning of jihad)–whether it’s internal or external. It’s all about facing a deep fear, knowing that people will likely give you shit for doing so, and doing the right thing anyway.

If there’s one thing you hope that readers will take away from your story, what is it?

I hope that all the stories in Love, Insha’Allah, mine included, help reveal the full humanity of Muslims and Muslim women in particular. It seems like such a simple wish, but it can achieve massive results. Once people realize that there are as many ways to be Muslim as there are individual Muslims, they re-examine their stereotypes.

Stay up-to-date with Melody’s writings and events: www.melodymoezzi.com