In the News

Muslim Matters and its Authors in the News

January 2011: Saba Syeda (Umm Reem), Haytham Soliman

Ladies Home Journal: Dress Codes: Mixing Fashion with Faith

Over her typical American clothing, Saba Syeda wears a face veil, a long head scarf, and a roomy outer garment — even while riding a Jet Ski. “I put a life jacket over my abaya [the outer garment],” she explains, “and that keeps it from flapping around. Believe it or not, myniqab [the face veil] stays in place most of the time.

WashingtonPost.com On Faith: Under God: Egypt: What are Muslims saying about religion’s role

With events in Egypt changing by the hour, what are Muslims themselves saying about historical changes there? A few blogs stand out. Check out MuslimMatters.org for this essay from a former Egypt resident on what he hopes will come of the riots.

December 2010: Haleh Banani

New satellite television show

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gNsySZPxKs&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

October 2010: Hebah Ahmed

ABC News 20/20: Muslim Explains Why She Wears the Veil

September 2010: Yasir Qadhi, Siraaj Muhammad, Haytham Soliman

MM: Update: New CNN Interviews | Ilm Summit 2010 Recap: July 28-29 | The Media and the FBI

CNN: Is America Islamophobic?

NBC Nightly News: Memphis Church Reaches out to Muslim Neighbors

Houston Chronicle Belief blog:

Celebrating Eid Around September 11:

The following post was written by Muslim activist and Houston native Haytham Soliman. It first appeared on the site MuslimMatters.org.

This year, Ramadan started on August 11th 2010, and is expected to end either on September 9th or September 10th (29 or 30 days from the day it started depending on the sighting of the moon via several methods) and there are mounting fears that Muslims all around America may suffer a backlash on Eid al-Fitr. It just so happens that this joyous Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan coincides with the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001.

and

Nine  years after 9/11: What can we do now?

We can favor unity over division.

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“These recent events and the adverse media coverage have left some second generation Muslim Americans feeling like pariahs in their only land. Some of us have come to realize with certainty that there are Americans who are publicly and subliminally promoting the idea that Muslims are outsiders in our own lands and are unwelcome to stay here,” wrote Haytham Soliman, a Muslim activist.

August 2010: Muslim Matters, Yasir Qadhi, Haytham Soliman, Amad Shaikh, Ify Okoye, Iesa Galloway

MM: MuslimMatters on CNN & in Houston Chronicle

CNN: Moderates Counter Muslim Extremists

Houston Chronicle: During Ramadan, Muslims focus on religious practice, not politics

“This group pushing to isolate Muslims, they are a minority. They are just so vocal; they have Fox News, the media,” said Soliman, a Houston native and staff writer for the site MuslimMatters.org. “I don’t think we should focus on the 2 percent that hate us, rather the 98 percent who are going to be curious to learn more.”

Rather than fight, the 28-year-old wants to educate, ready for when co-workers ask questions about Ramadan and his beliefs.

“We want to stop being a community of reacting and get to explain Ramadan for ourselves,” Soliman said.

Washington Post: Muslim leaders visit concentration camps as part of effort to combat Holocaust denial

“The experience was overwhelming,” Qadhi said. “It was a very moving experience for all of us imams, in particular myself. I had never seen anything like this. I was just overwhelmed throughout the entire trip. I was just overwhelmed at the sheer inhumanity of it. I could not comprehend how such evil could be unleashed.”

“Politics should not play a role in historical facts,” Qadhi said. “Whatever happened post-Holocaust should not diminish the evil that was the Holocaust. . . . The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very complicated. Let’s leave anti-Semitism out of it.”

July 2010: Yasir Qadhi

CNN: What the largest American Muslim conference meant to attendees

Yasir Qadhi, a popular scholar and speaker, discussed valuable lessons from the compassionate and merciful life of Jesus, considered a beloved prophet of God in Islam.

June 2010: Hebah Ahmed, Amad Shaikh and Mohamed Elibiary, Ify Okoye

New York Times: Behind the Veil: For American Muslims, Choosing to Wear the Veil Poses Challenges

Hebah, who is from Tennessee, smiled at the girl, but all that could be seen of her face were the lines around the eyes that signaled a grin. After nearly a decade under the veil, she and her sister know full well that they are a source of fascination — and many other reactions — to those around them.

Altmuslimah: Modesty: What women want

I have found that modesty and Islamic dress gives me that sense of value, control, and security. Wearing a full face veil for the first time gave me an unexpected self confidence because I no longer cared what others thought of me – only how I thought of myself. For a Muslim woman who covers, her sexuality is under her control and expressed in the confines of her marriage in an atmosphere of commitment and respect. In this way modesty has for me and many others become a liberator and a source of empowerment.

AltMuslim: Cordoba House: Zero Tolerance at Ground Zero

9/11 has made us look internally, to ask ourselves what it means to be American. Its impact was felt across many communities, which affected Americans of all religious faiths, including Christians, Jews and Muslims, and foreigners alike. Nothing can compensate for the lives that were lost and the pain that has endured. We, as American Muslims, come from a community where fellow congregants, family and friends were victims of the attacks. We want to separate ourselves from the violent actions of a few, with whom we do not share any common ground, whilst doing right by our faith and remaining loyal to America and New York.

The Muslim Link: Breaking the Ranks or Peaceful Protest?

Imam Safi Khan met with Ify Okoye, a Pray-In member who lives close to Dar-us-Salaam and often attends his Friday khutbah. Okoye called for the meeting, asking about the prayer arrangement for women at Dar-us-Salaam. A revert Muslimah like Thompson, Okoye said it\’s “bad da\’wah” when she brings her female non-Muslim relatives to the masjid and they discover women pray behind a partition.

May 2010: Ify Okoye

The Daily Beast: Showdown at the Mosque

Before the last prostration, shouting broke out behind us and a group of men, including the mosque\’s head of security, yelled at one of the women from our group, Ify Okoye, a Nigerian-American convert. They pushed her and she fled the main hall, worried about her safety. (Not long ago, Okoye courageously wrote a blog post protesting the “penalty box” behind which women are expected to pray at the Islamic Center of Washington.)

April 2010: Mohamed Elibiary

Fox News Opinion: It’s a Mistake to Assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki

President Obama should rescind this assassination order and clarify publicly our national position…

We should also shift some of our counter-terrorism resources to efforts built up over the past few years to counter the online radicalization efforts of Al-Awlaki and others by civic groups and to remove government hurdles hampering their work. We’re Americans and we know that the solution to bad speech is not to shut it down but to counter it with more speech. Al-Awlaki knows this and has cornered the U.S. government so that if it assassinates him, he achieves immortality and proves that American foreign policy is disingenuous and does not see “Muslims” as deserving the political rights it says it professes. Our country deserves a strategic reassessment of this assassination policy, not a group think mentality satisfied with the short-term “tactical” achievement of killing one man.

March 2010: Mohamed Elibiary, Sadaf Farooqi

BBC Newsnight: US Homegrown Extremism (Elibiary appears 1min 48 seconds in, sound quality is poor): [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMLRjYVZu-g&feature=player_embedded#at=126]

IPS: Religious Advocates Heed the Call of New Media

But Islamic teacher and writer Sadaf Farooqi, based in Pakistan, had no idea that there was “such a large Muslim, English-language online readership” as early as 2005.

“I share my articles and establish contacts with notable Muslim scholars, writers and teachers worldwide, who are involved in Islamic educational and welfare work,” said the mother of two, who has taught Islamic education courses for women in the last seven years.

February 2010: Ify Okoye, Mohamed Elibiary

Washington DC’s Fox 5:

“Pictures from the website Muslim Matters show the women’s prayer area that some call the ‘Penalty Box’…”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp76FcuqOak&feature=player_embedded#at=39]

The Daily Beast: Let These Women Pray!

Ironically, the weekend incident raises an important question about whether there truly is suffrage for Muslim women in America. It seems not.

Even conservative Muslim women are chafing. Recently, Ify Okoye, a Nigerian-American convert, wrote an article, “The Penalty Box: Muslim Women\’s Prayer Spaces” on a mostly hard-line Web site, complaining about the separate and unequal space women get at most mosques.

Fox News: Time to Get Real About What Is — And Isn’t — Terrorism

After every major act of domestic violence it\’s time for us to stop debating whether or not it qualifies as “terrorism.” We need to recognize that our country\’s counterterrorism resources are finite. We simply can\’t target all sources of violence equally. We must prioritize our efforts and focus our attention and resources on combating violent extremism. We need to be aware of the psychological impact that comes from the reasonable fear in our society of an on-going and future terror threat. We also need to fight back against a militant ideological movement or movements with the capacity to consistently target civilians as a means to achieving their political goals.

Decmber 2009: Mohamed Elibiary, Yasir Qadhi

CNN Anderson Cooper 360: Homegrown Youth Radicalization

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mHOskTF11w]

CNN: Terror Suspect attended 2008 Islamic “knowledge fest” in Houston

Qadhi said the institute taught young Muslims a “orthodox Islam for the 21st Century,” stressing the importance of the literal text of the Quran but imbuing those words with a modern meaning.

“We are trying to carve out a Western Muslim identity among conservative Muslims — for Muslims to integrate into Western society but maintain their Islamic identity.”

Qadhi, of New Haven, Connecticut, has been involved in de-radicalization efforts in the United States and was a leading participant in the U.S. Counter-Radicalization Strategy conference organized by the National Counterterrorism Center in the summer of 2008.

CNN Newsroom: Discussing Youth Radicalization

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f33r8abryJ8]

October 2009: Ify Okoye

The Baltimore Sun: Muslims Gather for a Weekend of Learning about their Faith at Convention Center

An adult convert to Islam, Ify Okoye spent her first couple of years learning about the religion from books. It wasn’t until the Beltsville woman started going to seminars given by the AlMaghrib Institute that she really began to understand her new faith.

“I look at my Islam completely as the pre-AlMaghrib phase and the post-AlMaghrib phase,” says the 25-year-old Okoye, a student at Bowie State University. “After attending my first class, I see there’s such a breadth and depth to the Islamic tradition, and also a real practical intellectual tradition that’s vibrant, that can work today, that Muslims in America can use.”

May 2009: Yasir Qadhi

BBC: The Doha Debates – Muslim Women’s Freedom to Marry

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9CHEhZL0OA&feature=player_embedded]

December 2008: Yaser Birjas

El Paso’s KSTM News: Yaser Birjas and ICNA’s Why Islam Campaign

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjBSHVl8SCo]

November 2008: Mohamed Elibiary

The Dallas Morning News: Holy Land Verdict is Another U.S. Defeat

The U.S. government won a resounding court victory last Monday, convicting all the Palestinian HLF defendants on all “material support” charges leveled against them. Yet in the grand scheme of things, our government\’s policy of denying our civil liberties and privacy at home while pursuing a cold war “containment” policy that often turns into a hot war for “regime change” has left thousands of Americans dead, tens of thousands maimed, trillions of taxpayer dollars squandered and our homeland more vulnerable than ever.

A myopic view might wish to celebrate the HLF verdict, but the big picture clearly shows a continuing loss for America.

July 2008: Mohamed Elibiary

Fox News: Muslims for McCain, Muslims for Obama, Can Muslims and the Media Handle It?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnw5HRffAOw&feature=player_embedded]

August 2007: Dr. Ali Shehata

Article Alley: Is Islam a Dangerous Religion

Dr. Shehata believes that the more non-Muslims learn about Islam, the less threatened they will feel. Muslims share a great deal in common with Jews and Christians which should help to serve as a bridge of healing and cooperation if used effectively, says Dr. Shehata. But many people don’t know enough about Islam, the true Islam, to capitalize on our similarities and desires for peace and tolerance.