By Craig Considine – People in my generation have created a culture where short skirts are the norm; where breasts hang out of ‘tube-tops’; where women can get drunk and flash themselves without embarrassment; where women are seen and treated more like sexual objects rather than companions; and where pornography and the degradation of women is all over the Internet.Meeting Nicole Queen and her tremendous amount of self-respect for her mind and body is something very admirable and is a character trait that American women and men can learn from.
In high school and college, I spent a lot of my social time with friends and fraternity brothers; thus I became acquainted with the party scene and ‘Greek Life’.From the male side of the spectrum, I saw that women were often verbally disrespected and physically treated as sexual objects.Men, on the other hand, were more interested in pursuing women for their bodily parts rather for their mind, soul and love. The problem is two-fold – men and women can’t respect each other if they don’t respect themselves.Continue reading →
Merve Kavakci is proud to say that America is the best place on earth for Muslims. As a student in Turkey she was not allowed to go to medical school because of her hijab. As an elected official she was harassed and thrown out of parliament on her first day for it. In a Muslim nation, Dr. Kavakci was unable to practice her freedom of religion.
She came with her family to the United States and a crucial part of her personal worship as a Muslim, and at the same time to become educated and successful. As she and her mother, a German literature professor, were forced out of their professions due to the headscarf, her father decided to accept an offer to be the imam of a mosque in my hometown of Dallas where she could wear the hijab. The family moved and they loved it. She even describes herself as “half Turkish and half Texan.”
Thank you all for all of the responses to the CNN article. We’ve had a lot of really positive comments and some constructive ones.
The post about Arab, Alabama has received a lot of attention. It’s now our most popular post. Even the Arab Tribune wrote about out visit. I’m from Huntsville, just up the road and was excited about bringing the team to Alabama. We chose Arab because of the name, really. And yes, we knew the story about the name beforehand. We just wanted to have a little fun with it and see what it would be like to put Hailey in an abaya (traditional Arab dress) in a town with the same name–no offense meant to the good people of Arab. Take a look at our earlier post about stereotypes. We know that the sterotypes are not necessarily true. I, for one, expected the kind of generous and warm reponse that we got all over the south, not just in Alabama. Please see “Journey into Islam“, our previous project, to see how we were treated in the Muslim world as obvious non-Muslim westerners–similar to the hospitality we received in Arab.
I was really proud of the way that Hailey was treated in Arab. I keep telling the team that relations between different races and religions are sometimes better in the south than other places. Hailey got much worse looks in Miami, for example.
In Alabama with our friends at the Gadsden Islamic Center
We also made a stop in the small town of Gadsden, Alabama and had lunch with some wonderful new friends. They live very peacefully with the non-Muslim majority and have not had many problems at all and all of the women we met wore the hijab.
So thanks again for all the comments. More posts are on the way.
She had just gotten back from a long month in the United Arab Emirates and then had driven from Tampa to Miami to come and meet us. Although she must have been jetlagged and preoccupied with her other responsibilities, she was bursting with energy.
For our trip to Miami I had especially wanted to meet with Latino Muslims and all roads pointed to Khadija Rivera. From her friends in Los Angeles to organizations like LADO and ALAM, Khadija was well-connected in the Latino Muslim networks and was a leader in the growing segment of Muslims in America. She represents the newest segment of Muslims in America and her forceful personality will surely add some spice to the American melting pot.
We had met with some Latino Muslims in Los Angeles with Khadija Galedary, another leader in the community and the next day with Cuban, Columbian, and Mexican Muslims. This group is unique and growing, with literature and organizations for their own group. Much like the African-American Muslims, Latino Muslims have a unique historical and theological approach to Islam. Their culture, language, and warm personalities will surely add to the world’s largest and most diverse religion.
The most comprehensive study ever done on the American Muslim community, Journey into America explores and documents how Muslims are fitting into U.S. society, seeking to place the Muslim experience in the U.S. within the larger context of American identity. In doing so, it is a major contribution to the study of American history and culture.
Akbar Ahmed and his team of young researchers traveled through over seventy-five cities across the United States visiting over one hundred mosques to discover the Muslim community in America.
The travels resulted in a film and a book entitled "Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam", both available now.