Recent Posts

‘Trauma is inherited and we can’t heal unless we learn’

By Aida Alami / November 13, 2019 / Comments Off on ‘Trauma is inherited and we can’t heal unless we learn’

MEE speaks to Somali multimedia artist, Ifrah Mansour, about her play, ‘How to Have Fun in a Civil War’ and her work on intergenerational trauma Ifrah Mansour was five years old when civil war broke out in Somalia, in 1991. Her family had just returned to Mogadishu from Saudi Arabia, where she was born. An estimated 350,000 people died by…

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Arabic with a Jersey accent

By Zahra Hankir / September 26, 2019 / Comments Off on Arabic with a Jersey accent

Immigrants are reviving Paterson, N.J., from its difficult past. It was nearly 6,000 miles from the family and friends he left in Egypt a year ago to the park bench where Ismail Mohamed sat puffing on a cigarette, surveying a block lined with Middle Eastern restaurants. But it felt very much like home. A mile…

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Humanizing the Arab World in America

By Hallie Golden / September 24, 2019 / Comments Off on Humanizing the Arab World in America

Playwright Yussef El Guindi is determined to confront U.S. laws, rhetoric and fears tied to Arab-Americans. SEATTLE – When terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Yussef El Guindi stopped writing. The Arab-American playwright’s career had only just started to take off, but stunned by the magnitude of the tragedy,…

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A Muslim woman comic walks into a bar: Changing perceptions through jokes

By Aqilah Allaudeen / September 18, 2019 / Comments Off on A Muslim woman comic walks into a bar: Changing perceptions through jokes

Satire is often used to educate and broach tough topics. As negative perceptions of Islam persist throughout the U.S., some Muslim women are trying a softer way to build bridges: comedy. It’s intermission, and the Comedy Clubhouse is buzzing with conversation. Young people in business attire or hipster T-shirts have refreshed their drinks and are…

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A Black Minneapolis Artist Brings Hidden Communities to Light

By Aida Alami / August 21, 2019 / Comments Off on A Black Minneapolis Artist Brings Hidden Communities to Light

Bobby Rogers’s art finds beauty and creativity in unseen communities, from black Muslims to Minneapolis gang members to faces of police brutality protesters. Three years ago on a hot summer day, Philando Castile was shot and killed by police officer Jeronimo Yanez in Falcon Heights, a St. Paul suburb near Minneapolis. Bobby Rogers had recently…

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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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