By Arturo R. García
It is frustrating and disappointing to catch hell in mainstream society for being Muslim and also within the Muslim community for being African-American. When I am not perceived as an oppressed Muslim woman in need of liberation, I am seen as an ignorant and potentially unruly black woman.
– Jameelah Xochitl Medina, PhD candidate and author, excerpted from I Speak For Myself (via The Christian Science Monitor)
At a time when America’s Muslim communities are constantly under scrutiny by both the media and political figures, I Speak For Myself is an especially relevant – and especially necessary – work.
Edited by Maria Ebrahimji, an executive producer for CNN, and Zahra Suratwala, a writer and business consultant based out of Chicago, ISFM is a collection of 40 essays by American Muslim women. And I’m pleased to no end to report that among them is our friend, recognized badass and editor of Muslimah Media Watch, Fatemeh Fakhraie, whose essay was highlighted in MMW’s own review of the book:
Perhaps put most intimately by Fatemeh is the theme of longing for the country of our parents as a means to getting closer to our identity. She writes,
“Searching for himself and a better life drew Baba away from the Islamic Republic of Iran; searching for myself and my roots draws me nearer to it. Yet in reality, it is not the republic I am drawn to. Rather, I am trying to get nearer to my father through this land where my ancestors are buried.”
Other reoccurring themes include birth names, balancing hyphenated identities, the need to be validated by both Americans and Muslims and, of course, hijab.
While these themes seem to be woven, to some extent, into each narrative, the narratives themselves are varied in scope.
We’ll have more on ISFM in the coming days, but for now, we want to encourage you to order the book here.