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https://twitter.com/GCCenterWomen/status/1331236750715478016?s=20

Day #1

She wasn’t always Muslim. She converted to Islam because it filled her heart with light, she said. Until the day she married a Muslim man. He convinced her that she was worthless while he hugged and caressed her. He whispered in her ears that nobody will ever want to be with her and that his honesty stemmed from his unquestionable love for her. He forced her to seek professional help because he was concerned about her wellbeing. She was adamant on fixing herself to fulfill her Islamic obligation toward him. Up until we both met as contributing writers…


Challenging the spiritual femicide of Muslim women with counternarratives from the Qur’an

Trigger warning: This essay contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence and spiritual abuse.

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I dug my nails into the green carpet of the bedroom floor to drag my stiff, red marked body toward the edge of the bed. I grabbed the linen sheets pulling myself up until I collapsed on my back. Lying down, I lifted my head glancing underneath my clothes at the bloody clots covering my limbs and torso. Each swollen bruise throbbed with pain making me weep louder in agony. …


A doctoral student’s self-reflection and inner struggles

By Hasnaa Mokhtar

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When you do something from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Layla arrived at my furnished apartment in Kuwait City on a Tuesday evening of October last year. I was gazing at the sixth-floor window as she parked her navy SUV, stepped out with her 4-year-old, and headed gracefully to the entrance. In less than a minute, they were both in my living room. Her toddler and mine shook hands and made their way to the toys corner. Layla, 27, sat on the beige sofa right across from me — a stranger — ready to reveal her trauma. She looked at me with a twinkle in her brown…


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People lay flowers at the French Embassy in Kiev in memory of the victims of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris.Photograph — Getty Images

As the brutal attacks in Paris were happening on Nov. 13, scattered thoughts jammed my brain. Please don’t claim to be Muslim, please don’t let me carry the burden, please don’t force me to denounce and condemn… My heart sank as I flipped from tab to tab online reading about the gruesome murders. The attackers targeted six sites Friday night killing at least 128 people. I prayed with all my strength for the protection of the hostages and wellbeing of everyone in the city.

One plea was buried behind all the noise: Please don’t claim to be Muslim. I could…


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Beep. New app notification. “Deadliest mass shooting in modern US history”

Email alert. “Sexual harassment comes at a cost”

Social media tag. “‘We only kill black people,’ a cop told a woman”

Newsfeed update. “Another failed ISIS attack”

The ruthless cycle of worldly chaos persists. Vile politics and crimes continue to haunt me. I turn off my gadgets and toss them away to flee the confusion. Where do I hide from this daunting reality? Is denial even an option?

In a fast-paced, digital era where life happens at the click of a button, my immediate response to racism, xenophobia, and…


“Being a parent…does not mean absolute authority.”

By Hasnaa Mokhtar

Artwork by Aya Mobaydeen depicts impactful words that children are told by their parents such as “aib” (shameful) and “be a m
Artwork by Aya Mobaydeen depicts impactful words that children are told by their parents such as “aib” (shameful) and “be a m
Artwork by Aya Mobaydeen depicts impactful words that children are told by their parents such as “aib” (shameful) and “be a man.”

I am not the motherly type. Growing up, my daydreams were never about the “happily ever after”, or the perfect wedding, or the tons of babies I was destined to have. I used to lay in the tiny bedroom I shared with my grandmother, who raised me in Jeddah, listening to my walkman (ancient music player), and fantasize endlessly. I imagined myself as an independent businesswoman traveling the world to give leadership talks. There were no children involved at any stage.

Fast forward a couple of decades later, I am…


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#ThisIsAmericanBeauty

“American Beauty” is a new series in which Yahoo Lifestyle takes a virtual cross-country journey to discover what beauty means — reimagining the American flag through the diverse group of faces that make up the United States of America. For our first installment, we’re focusing on Muslim-American women, highlighting what makes this group unique while showcasing the common threads that bring us together.

Hijabis, women who cover their hair, are a hot commodity in the American fashion and beauty industry right now. In 2016, Colorado native , 26, made when CoverGirl made her an ambassador. …


I miss the fresh, lemony fragrance of mastic incense my grandmother used to burn in her dining room in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. On the first day of Ramadan, she would line up her gold-rim water glasses on a hand-carved wooden tray to perform the annual tradition. Each glass must be held on top of the mastic aromas upside down until a tiny white cloud forms inside the drinking vessel. The glasses then would rest back on the tray to lock in the scent until Iftar time. It’s that time of the year when Dad, Uncle, aunts, siblings, and cousins gathered…


I was living in Montreal, Canada in 2010 and attending a French class to improve my language skills. I remember the lively and diverse group of students I studied and conversed with. I also remember the hot days of that summer and the challenge of having to wear my headscarf and modest clothing in high temperatures. But bearing the sun’s heat was still more tolerable than dealing with the fiery comments from ignorant people about something they didn’t understand: my hijab.

“Why do you wear that thing on your head? (Pointing his finger at my head disgustingly) Isn’t it too…

Hasnaa Mokhtar

Researcher. Storyteller. Writer. Ph.D. candidate. Fulbright Alumna. www.hasnaamokhtar.com

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