Islam Is Feminism

Some Muslim women today are using the word Islam and feminism as two separate concepts and ideas when for many Muslim women, including myself, Islam is feminism. Islam has a long historical tradition of respecting and recognizing the talent and sacrifices of its women. For years, I have been teaching my students in the US military and at universities that men and women are equal in Islam--a … [Read more...]

A Prayer For The Victims of September 11th and All Terrorist Attacks

I remember the September 11th terrorist attacks clearly and before I can answer what I was doing, I offer a prayer for the victims, which include innocent American Muslims. That day is unforgettable, as it is for most Americans who were old enough to recall. As a young analyst in the U.S. Government, I happened to be on a military base when I watched the planes shatter glass and destroy thousands … [Read more...]

More Girls and Women Are Joining Violent Groups And Here’s Why

Violent extremists are masterminds at exploiting empathy and giving girls and women a false sense of hope. Over the past five years, an astonishing number of girls and women have joined violent groups. Statistically, the numbers are low and no more than fifty females have tried to join ISIS or offer ideological, material, and financial support. While the number may seem low, it is a sign that the … [Read more...]

Why American Muslims Celebrate The Fourth of July

American Muslims celebrate the fourth of July for the most obvious reason: they, too, are grateful to be here. There are many reasons to celebrate this glorious holiday. As an American woman, I grew up here. I spent my childhood in Texas and then moved to Washington, DC for graduate school and government work. This is the number one reason former immigrants like myself honor the national holiday: … [Read more...]

Conflict in America: Children Separated From Their Families Sparks Ongoing Immigration Debate

  Stories of children separated from their families is heart-breaking enough in conflicts around the world, but this time, it's happening right here in America. And it gets worse. There is a plethora of first-hand reporting and interviews of the trauma and terrible incidents taking place in US-funded centers for immigrant children, such as forcing children to take drugs. See video … [Read more...]

Understanding Islam

In 2005, I had an experience that changed my life when I was asked to explain the history of Islam and modern-day conflicts to hundreds of U.S. military Captains. I was invited to Maxwell Air Force Base by the Commandant and asked to deliver a lecture on why Muslims are fighting each other in the Arab world.  Why are Sunnis and Shias battling each other?  What caused the split? And how do their … [Read more...]

A Shooting in San Bruno Raises Questions About Safety in America

On Tuesday afternoon, a shooting in San Bruno, California is raising questions about safety in America. Again, an active shooter is at large and has proven how easy it is to perpetrate a deadly attack against a civilian target. This time, around lunchtime, the attacker gunned down several people at 901 Cheery Avenue, the address of the YouTube office.  It's too early to tell who is responsible. … [Read more...]

Is America Safe Now That The Austin Bombing Suspect Is Dead?

  The Austin bombing suspect is dead, thanks to a tremendous law enforcement effort, but America is not yet safe from future attackers, serial killers, school shooters and other violent individuals.  The one important question that authorities did not answer is why.   Why did 23-year old Mark Conduit, a young white man from the peaceful town of Pflugerville, terrorize his home town and … [Read more...]

Who Is the Mystery Serial Bomber in Austin?

A serial bomber has gripped the city of Austin, Texas, the fourth time this month as the latest bomb blast injured two men in a residential area and has left residents on edge while law enforcement agencies are scrambling to identity the mystery bomber. Austin is my hometown city. It is where I spent my childhood and young adult life. It's a peaceful place known for music aficionados, pristine … [Read more...]

How Many Innocent Civilians Are Killed By Drones Every Month?

More civilians are being killed by drones than ever before. Often, we don't see the faces or know the names of the dead. Neither do the drone operators. Which is why many have stopped caring about "the casualties of war." Because we have simply accepted that innocent people will die in war. Or agree that terrorists are to blame for hiding among civilian populations--as if innocent people should be … [Read more...]

September 11 Attacks, A Day of Remembrance And Lessons Learned

For many Americans, the evil attacks on September 11, 2001 was a day of unforgettable grief. On that day, I was at one of the largest U.S. military bases, and as the only Muslim female officer, I worked around the clock to help piece together the ugly events. There was grief at the shedding of innocents' blood in the attacks of September 11 and over the death of more innocents in the war that … [Read more...]

5 Ways To Live Fearlessly In An Age of Terrorism

We live in unpredictable times and many people I've met are struck by anxiety and fear of not knowing when the next attack will take place, which is why I have given lectures on how to live fearlessly in an age of terrorism to general audiences. Fear is a terrible feeling. When we're scared, we can’t move forward and get stuck in that moment for a very long time. That’s what happens when you’re … [Read more...]

Is America The Next Target for a Terrorist Attack?

We live in a time when a terrorist attack in the United States seems real following the crazy incidents in London and Manchester. For the first time in "terrorism history," attackers have learned that they don't need sophisticated training or big bombs to strike fear in a capital city. Terrorists just need a motive and the means to kill innocent people.  The means is easy. Over the past six … [Read more...]

The Meaning of Religion and Why It Matters Today

Three days into the month of Ramadan, one of Islam's holiest months, and I'm reminded of the strength of faith. CNN seems to think so too with its new series on religion.  A month into the show, The Believers that takes a deeper look at the power of believing in a higher being and living for a greater purpose. Narrated by an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar on religions, Reza Aslan … [Read more...]

3 Lessons Learned From Teaching The Military

Training the American armed forces was one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences. In the classroom, participants (i.e., soldiers) helped me understand war by sharing their experiences of serving in a Muslim country. Here's what they taught me: 3 things I learned again: War is not black and white. But shades of gray, and every other color in-between. Although there is a real enemy in … [Read more...]

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