Coming of FaithPosted: May 23, 2014
LoveinshAllah.com is proud to present some Friday Love vibes for an exciting new site showcasing storytelling as part of the Muslim experience. Coming of Faith, founded by the dynamic Laila Alawa, is one important addition to the emerging critical mass of Muslims claiming space to celebrate identity.
Laila shares a bit about the site:
How did the Coming of Faith idea develop?
Coming of Faith started with a question: why aren’t we hearing the real stories that Muslim American women are going through? It was fueled in part out of frustration: Muslim women were constantly being spoken of, not heard from, and the identity they possessed both within and outside the community was one-dimensional and alienating. What seemed to be the best way to confront the issue? Provide a platform, and flood the world with the stories of Muslim American women, defining faith and life the best way they knew how – through their own experiences, rather than preaching or attempting to fit stories to a certain mold or agenda.
How is your site different from the number of other sites popping up that also focus on Muslim stories?
We are looking to tell the stories of Muslim American women through a facet that’s been touched upon and hinted at in stories: faith. We recognize that Islam is more than simply a practice, it quite literally is the path of life, and as such, we provide an open, inclusive platform for stories that have defined the way we practice and believe, positively – and negatively. Our stories focus on a range further than marriage or headscarf, and that has given our community a voice that we don’t see elsewhere. We’re more than simply a website. We’re a community, a place for women and men alike to find stories similar to their own – stories of abuse, discrimination, love, loss and identity struggle – stories that help us understand that we’re all in this together.
We are constantly evolving, looking to bring a sense of community and acceptance to women that’s available offline, too. Our national board is working to bring to life a mentorship program, workshops, and events that will bring to life our mission – all while honoring the individuality of our experiences.
Who should consider writing for Coming of Faith?
Anyone that self-identifies as a Muslim American woman is more than welcome to write for us. If you’re passionate about sharing your unique narrative about any topic meaningful to you with a broad, accepting audience. By unique, we mean that our individual experiences are unique by the simple understanding that we come from different backgrounds, grow up with different experiences, and are in different points in life.
What do you think is the most important issue facing young Muslim women today, and how can storytelling impact the future of Muslim identity?
There are many important issues, all of which cannot really be fully listed here, but a pressing issue facing young Muslim women today is that of identity: figuring out how you as a Muslim woman fits into the fabric of American society and our smaller faith communities. This project provides a space for that to be examined and understood. Muslim women in United States are in the process of realizing that they should be themselves, instead of being shackled by the demands of society that tells them what they should be thinking, walking, talking and wearing.
Storytelling is, quite literally, the most powerful tool for disseminating identity, giving a voice to the voiceless and understanding where we come from. I believe that we have a responsibility to flood the world with our stories, because if we aren’t speaking out, someone else is claiming our narrative.
How can you get involved?
We always want contributors to tell their stories! Regardless of how “interesting” you feel your story to be – get in touch! We want to hear your voice.
We are always looking for enthusiastic, awesome people to join our team in bringing Coming of Faith to life for more people. We currently have open board positions. This is entirely volunteer run, so your help is always needed.
We will be running a crowdfunding campaign soon, in order to bring to life a program to bring to life the voices of young Muslim American women. So, stay tuned for that and our weekly columns by liking us on facebook, following us on twitter, and checking out the site!
Laila Alawa is a Muslim feminist, writer, researcher and cultural critic who has been published at The Huffington Post, The Guardian, and PolicyMic, and owns a jewelry business. She previously worked at Princeton University conducting a study on Muslim American perceptions of belonging. The Wellesley College alumna is based in Washington, DC and plans to work towards bettering the Muslim American experience for both Muslims and America at large.