Recent Posts

As halal food wins over new audiences, some fear it’s losing its soul

By Kimberly Winston / July 18, 2019 / Comments Off on As halal food wins over new audiences, some fear it’s losing its soul

The market for halal food is expanding rapidly. But where some see opportunity, other see an attempt to reduce religious faith to a marketing buzzword. Sameer Sarmast’s adventurous appetite long ago moved beyond his mother’s South Asian cooking. He likes spicy enchiladas, Jamaican jerk chicken, Texas-style barbeque, and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. But one thing hasn’t…

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With his oud, this musician transports audiences to Iraq

By Stephen Franklin / July 9, 2019 / Comments Off on With his oud, this musician transports audiences to Iraq

Rahim AlHaj, who has been nominated for Grammys, hopes to draw attention to the experiences of those caught in violent conflict in Iraq and elsewhere. Rahim AlHaj knows about loss. He knows about losing his country and losing the beloved musical instrument that set him on his life’s path. The distress of fellow Iraqis still…

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Fosia Omar, 20, enjoys a conversation with friends while waiting for the sun to set to break the fast for the day on May 25, 2018. The Waite Park resident is a student at St. Cloud State University and is planning on majoring in psychology.

Somali and American: Portrait of a Minnesota Community

By Aida Alami / July 2, 2019 / Comments Off on Somali and American: Portrait of a Minnesota Community

Refugees often say that war feels like a wave of violence washing over them, leaving behind death and destruction. The feeling was no different for Katra Ali Hethar, who fled war-torn Somalia in 1991 with her nine small children. Being responsible for so many lives was a logistical nightmare. But even in moments of emergency,…

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Sanari gets her copy of the book, “Under My Hijab,” signed by children’s book author Hena Khan at the public library in Takoma Park, Maryland, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.

Telling stories that all can enjoy

By Nesima Aberra / June 3, 2019 / Comments Off on Telling stories that all can enjoy

Children’s books with Muslim characters can help open minds, and provide kids with role models that have stories like theirs. Zara is a curious young Muslim girl with curly brown hair whose grandmother bakes delicious treats in the kitchen. Her mother is a doctor. Her aunt is an artist who rocks pink and purple hair.…

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Laila Lalami: ‘Whoever tells the story controls the world’

By Aida Alami / May 25, 2019 / Comments Off on Laila Lalami: ‘Whoever tells the story controls the world’

The Moroccan-American author talks about her new novel, in which she gives voice to a wide range of characters, including a racist American. Laila Lalami is never in a hurry to finish writing a book. A disciplined author, she spends months, sometimes years, developing carefully crafted narratives and finding joy in the company of the…

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Love of soccer bridges huge cultural divides in diverse Michigan city

By Graham Liddell / April 2, 2019 / Comments Off on Love of soccer bridges huge cultural divides in diverse Michigan city

HAMTRAMCK, Michigan — With two boys in maroon soccer jerseys in the back seat of her SUV, Maria Martínez navigates slippery, pot-holed streets past the chain-link fencing of a General Motors assembly plant slated for closure, multi-lingual awnings of Yemeni restaurants and Polish bakeries, a green-and-white brick neighborhood mosque and the neon signs of a…

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Young Muslims find meaning and inspiration in science fiction novels

By Kimberly Winston / December 28, 2018 / Comments Off on Young Muslims find meaning and inspiration in science fiction novels

Looking for a sense of belonging in an era when Muslims often face suspicion and prejudice, Farah Rishi stepped across the threshold to another world, one of fantasy and scientific wonders.  In the pages of a novel by Octavia Butler, an African-American woman whose science fiction writings expressed her frustrations as a woman of color,…

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