Women of the Muslim community in America could be described as both patriots and practitioners of faith. Their experiences call for a body of literature that reflects how they celebrate and live Islam in distinctive ways. In the wake of the current rising tide of Islamophobia see Time Magazine, Aug. Ebrahimji, a producer at CNN, and Suratwala, a business consultant, assemble short essays by 40 unique American Muslim women in this easy to read book.
Between the ages of 20 and 40, the authors share their range and diversity of experiences, from pleasant ones, such as becoming a mother, to ones that reflect stereotypes such as teen marriage to protect the woman's "honor". The diversity of experiences from single moms to interns striking out on their own for the first time , ethnicity from African-American to Arab immigrant , and variety of careers and higher education from an doctor of Afghan-descent, second-guessing herself over the details of an emergency surgery, to a media enthusiast determined to become a television reporter despite her wearing of hijab - are striking for their range.
Many women speak of their fathers, who both push their daughters to achieve but also implicitly reinforce a level of patriarchy.
Their frustration over the lack of voice in American politics is a recurring theme. Despite some repetition and a lack of a guiding structure, this is a very useful and welcome contribution in an understudied area. All rights reserved. Skip to: Content. Log In. My Account. Remember to clear the cache and close the browser window. Search For:. Advanced Search. I speak for myself : American women on being Muslim. Publication Information:. Yet, she stressed the importance of Muslim women to find their voices.
The more we, a s Muslim women, speak out, the easier it will become for all of us. The women agreed it was essential to know their religion and to understand the d ifference between culture and religion. When I was growing up, I always asked my parents: Is this because of culture or be cause of Islam? I an to ut learned at a very young age that as an American Muslim, especially as an Americ Muslim woman, we have to be well-read and know things for ourselves.
We have know the difference of true Islam and that which has nothing to do with it, b rather has to do with culture. Tekbali agreed: My religion was always polluted with politics, and by this I mean radical Islam.
Its up for Muslims to find a solution for this. They need to spea k out against it. I understand that it is a byproduct of unfair politics and oth er things, but they still need to speak out. Tekbali said that tolerance is key: The best way is through dialogue and by not b eing afraid to say Im a Muslim to those who say they are more pious. I think in 1 0 years time, we will see a growing and developing Islam.
We need to disassociate ourselves from violence Tekbali said it was important that Muslims learn to speak out on the tenants of Islam: We need to say more than Islam is a religion of peace. We need to say that were Muslim and we disassociate ourselves from violence. Confusion between culture and religion has maligned Islam, they agreed. There is a distortion between religion and culture.
I Speak for Myself: Amercian Women on Being Muslim Book Signing and Discussion | Viewpoint Books
A lot of misogyny and maltreatment of women has no religious basis whatsoever, said Mubarak who is finishing her docto rate in Islamic studies at Georgetown University. To fight this ignorance, they said women have to be educated about the true sour ces of Islam. They must know what the Quran and Hadith say, said Mubarak. What I found in the Muslim community is that there are people who are religious i n their practice, but their understanding of Islam is based more on culture than on the Quran.
There are often several different interpretations of an issue, and we have to accept that, said Mubarak. Such an education also extends beyond their religion.
Were educating ourselves as Muslims, but lets not forget to also teach those around us who are not Muslim, sai d Khan. Many people here the US are beginning to understand that we are part of the Abrahamic faith, and that we have more things in common with Judaism and Ch ristianity than not. Khan said it was important to get away from the branding of what a Muslim is or i snt.
I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim Book Review
There is no one cookie cutter example of what a Muslim is. Tekbali agreed, saying Muslims often put a lot of peer pressure upon each other. The Muslim community expects so much from each other. Were expected to do so much , to explain ourselves, our religion and ourselves to other Muslims, but I think well eventually lighten up. The women agreed this is where the book has proved to be pivotal in their lives. Tekbali said she struggled with whether to accept to write because they are pers onal commentaries. However, after she did, she felt good about it.
These women who are like me Her chapter deals with her experiences working in Washington, entitled the Capito l Hill Diaries. Its been rea lly good to belong to this network of women in the book, especially when someone says were not Muslim enough. I have the support of these women who are like me.
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Muslim women need to empower themselves Asked if they had a message, Tekbali said women need to empower themselves. Such a treatment is especially inappropriate when reflecting on the Muslim American identity, which is by far one of the most culturally, ethnically, and socially diverse of any in the Islamic world.
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Women of the Muslim community in America could be described as both patriots and practitioners of faith. Their experiences call for a body of literature that reflects how they celebrate and live Islam in distinctive ways. In the wake of the current rising tide of Islamophobia see Time Magazine, Aug. Ebrahimji, M. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Zahra T. Suratwala, M. Her international perspectives and ability to negotiate her identity as a Muslim American woman comes from have lived live in Bangkok, Thailand and Cairo, Egypt after growing up in the American heartland. She lives today in Chicago, Illinois.
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Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Muslim American women are the subject of endless discussions regarding their role in society, their veils as symbols of oppression or of freedom, their identity, their patriotism, their womanhood. Yet the voices and life experiences of Muslim American women themselves are rarely heard in the loud rhetoric surrounding the question of Muslims in America.
Finally, in I Speak for Myself, 40 American women under the age of 40, share their experiences of their lives as Muslim women in America. While their commonality is faith and citizenship, their voices and their messages are very different.