Salaam, Mohamed Djellouli!

Our new book, Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy, will be released on February 4th. In the lead up to the release, meet our 22 contributors.

Today, meet Mohamed Djellouli!

Mohamed Djellouli

Mohamed Djellouli

An excerpt from Mohamed’s story, “Springtime Love”:

I knew that dating a Muslim woman would not be without complications. I grew up Muslim, but not typically so. I’m mixed-race; my white mother is agnostic, while my North African father is more of a secular Muslim. I grew up in San Francisco, the only Muslim among my circle of friends, not really understanding what that meant beyond having a funny name. As a young person, my only dating concern was that I wasn’t having more success picking up women.

Rabia, on the other hand, was a Lebanese American who grew up in the Gulf. And while her father and mother were relatively liberal for their family and social milieu, her baseline was far more religiously conservative than mine, especially when it came to dating. Her parents forbade her from ever spending time alone with men.

Despite our different backgrounds, religion was a subject over which we connected deeply.

To read more, order Salaam, Love today!

Q&A with Mohamed

Why were you drawn to this project?

I grew up from a family of lovers and love letter writers. I love love, and I love stories about love – in all its awkward majesty. I think it is important that our community has open and honest dialogues about relationships and the diverse ways in which we all experience and live them. It is sad to see that so many people in the community have been raised to be afraid of love and who have come to see their own thoughts and experiences as wrong or unhealthy, even when they are shared by so many.

What was the most challenging part of sharing your story?

In dealing with issues of sex, culture, and religion it is easy to paint in broad strokes and lose readers to shock or assumption. I wanted to capture the nuance of my experience as a third culture young person navigating love and faith in America, while also writing something that was fun and entertaining.

If you’re writing under a pen name, why?

Primarily out of respect for my counterpart in the story.

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

Life and love and religion are awkward and hilarious and cannot be taken too seriously all of the time. There is beauty in the absurdity of humanity and it needs to be appreciated.

Anything else you want to share?

Check out www.mohameddjellouli.com and my people at #mipsterz