Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Review: Modscarfie: Scarves, Fashion, Accessories

My friend, Nadia, recently started blogging started a blog, Modscarfie. I absolutely love her posts! She has the prettiest clothing items, accessories and perfectly matching hijabs (scarves). She opened an Etsy shop online and is selling items she has featured on her blog and other items such as accessories, scarves and clothes. She sent me some items that I would like to share on here:



Here are the three items: a bracelet, a pin and a hijab.





I must say, my favorite is the bracelet because of the adorable little owl it has! How cute is that? The pin is sweet and will add a nice touch to a hijab.








The hijab is so soft! It is quite long so it can be wrapped several times.





























Thank you Nadia! Check out her blog and Etsy shop if you want to check out her wonderful stuff!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/modscarfies

http://modscarfie.blogspot.com/


**Disclaimer: These items were gifted to me by Nadia! Thank you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

#LowesHatesMuslims

Lowes pulled their on All-American Muslim show on TLC after seeing this e-mail from Florida Family Association:


The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.

One of the most troubling scenes occurred at the introduction of the program when a Muslim police officer stated "I really am American. No ifs and or buts about it." This scene would appear to be damage control for the Dearborn Police who have arrested numerous Christians including several former Muslims for peacefully preaching Christianity. Dearborn Police falsely arrested Nabeel Qureshi and Paul Rezkalla in 2010 and Sudanese Christian Pastor George Saieg in 2009 for preaching Christianity at the Annual Arab International Festival. Information on these two arrests are posted below.

The first two episodes start off with Muslim youth complaining about non-Muslim Americans’ perception of them as extremists after 911. The show then reports on these youths’ daily, weekly and monthly prayer rituals. Many Imams who are at the head of these prayer rituals believe strongly in Islam and Sharia law. This TLC show clearly failed to connect the dots on this point but then again that appears to be their intent.

Many situations were profiled in the show from a Muslim tolerant perspective while avoiding the perspective that would have created Muslim conflict thereby contradicting The Learning Channel’s agenda to inaccurately portray Muslims in America.

The show portrayed a Roman Catholic who converted to Muslim to marry. However, there was no mention of a Muslim who attempted to convert to Christianity which has resulted in a multitude of conflicts in America and abroad. Many woman were shown wearing hijabs and many who were not, but the program did not show what happens if one of the hijab-wearing women decides to take it off. Such conflicts would conflict with The Learning Channel's agenda to inaccurately portray Muslims in America.

There is no mention of the honor killing of Jessica Mokdad who lived not far from where this show was taped in Dearborn.

The show fails to mention many Islamic believers’ demeaning treatment of women or great disdain for non-Muslims (infidels).

Robert Spencer’s article in Human Events and Pamela Geller’s article in World Net Daily regarding All-American Muslim are published below.

Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

Florida Family Association sent out email alerts on November 15th, 22nd and 29th to inform supporters about All-American Muslim. The alerts encouraged supporters to send emails to the companies that advertised during the first three weeks that the program aired. The full article on this issue is provided below.


So, Lowe's replies back with this cute little e-mail:


Hello David,

Thank you for contacting Lowe's. We work hard to listen to our customers and respond to their concerns. Lowe's has strict guidelines that govern the placement of our advertising. Our company advertises primarily in national, network prime-time television programs and on a variety of cable outlets. Lowe's constantly reviews advertising buys to make certain they are consistent with its policy guidelines.

While we continue to advertise on various cable networks, including TLC, there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe's advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention. Lowe's will no longer be advertising on that program.

Our goal is to provide the best service, products and shopping environment in the home improvement industry. We appreciate your feedback and will share your comments with our advertising department as they evaluate future advertising opportunities.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call 1-866-900-4650, or email execustservice@lowes.com. You may also contact us by mailing your correspondence to Lowe’s Companies, Mail Code CON8, 1605 Curtis Bridge Rd., Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28697.

Thank you,

Andrew
Lowe’s Executive Support

Twitter came up with a hashtag #LowesHatesMuslims and people have been tweeting @Lowes and telling them how they feel along with the hashtag. Read some of them below:

@AmyChickie I'm boycotting @Lowes cuz bigotry offends my Christian values. We're supposed to love our neighbors. #LowesHatesMuslims @rezaaslan

@AinyKazmi Seeing so many ppl complaining 2 @lowes that #LowesHatesMuslims shows how Americans care about other Americans. Thx 4 standing up 2 bigotry!

@buckyogi.@Lowes Caving in to self-righteous bigots is a poor way to conduct business. You just lost mine. #LowesHatesMuslims #P2

@AliAbunimah Just called @Lowes branch I used to shop at and explained to asst manager that I won't be coming in any more because #LowesHatesMuslims


@iDreamOfShady اNo one likes @Lowes anyway Home Depot is where it's at #LowesHatesMuslims #racistpricks

@zaynabon @lowes rep took down my info+recorded what I said. I told him: It's not you today, Phil, but it could be you tomorrow. #LowesHatesMuslims

@Organica_ As long time @Lowes customer I will go to the competition.We used to buy our trees for fall/spring plantings.Never again! #LowesHatesMuslims

@lsarsour Call @Lowes at 1-800-445-6937 + ask them why #LowesHatesMuslims. Hold them accountable. Not another penny to bigotry. #AllAmericanMuslim

@ntantawy @Lowes shame on u 4 pulling out of #TLC show on #AmericanMuslims I'm boycotting ur store & products #LowesHatesMuslims #Islamophobia

This is what @Lowes said on Twitter:
@Lowes @ChrisDStedman We did not pull our ads based solely on the complaints or emails of any one group. It is never our intent to alienate anyone.

@Lowes @ChrisDStedman Lowe’s values diversity of thought in everyone, including our employees and prospective customers.

YOU can tell them what you think, too. Especially if you are against bigotry, hate, racism and stupidity.


You can e-mail them at: execustservice@lowes.com.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lowes?sk=wall&filter=1

Call them: 1-866-900-4650

Call your local Lowe's too!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Eid!

Happy Eid everyone! I made this cake/cupcakes for my Sunday school students for our Eid party. I used fondant for the black covering on the Kabah. The cake is actually two brownie mixes split in half with chocolate frosting in the middle. The cupcakes also have fondant as the diverse faces. I tried to make it as diverse as possible and asked my kids what they noticed about the kids around the kabah. When someone said 'They are all different" I asked them how they themselves are different. Great quick lesson on diversity before we had the party and the kids loved the cake and cupcakes!

Happy Eid!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Islam Exposed: The Real Truth

I continue to be baffled when people in this day and age still believe that Islam is evil. I won't sit here and write about how much of a peaceful and good religion it is, though. I will not, again, apologize for other people's crimes. I will say again, that there are bad apples in every religion. However, the media loves to focus on only bad Moz-lems. Here, I will post verses of Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (last messenger of God) and you can see for yourself what it's about.


photo from here


"God does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes. In fact God loves the equitable." Chapter 60, Verse 8

"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden (paradise) whose width is that of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous - Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity or in adversity, who restrain (their) anger and pardon (all) men - for God loves those who do good." Chapter 3, Verses 133-134

"And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to a needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude and encourage kindness and compassion." Chapter 90, Verses 12-17

"O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know and honor each other (not that you should despise one another). Indeed the most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most righteous." Chapter 49, Verse 13

"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors." Chapter 2, Verse 190

“Had your Lord wanted, all the people on earth would have believed. So will you force people to believe?” (Qur’an, 10:99)

“He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith and driven you out of your homes, God loves the just.” (Qur’an, 60:8)

“ There is no compulsion in religion…” (Qur’an, 2:256)

"Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious." (Al-Qur’an 16:125)



“to you your religion, and to me, mine” 109: 1-4

“Whoever kills an innocent non-Muslim will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.” -Prophet Muhammad

“You will not enter paradise until you have faith; and you will not complete your faith till you love one another.” -Prophet Muhammad

"He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry." -Prophet Muhammad

"Do you love your Creator? Then love your fellow beings first." - Prophet Muhammad


"Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal." - Prophet Muhammad


Leave comments below on other hadith, verses that relate to this topic. There are so many more and I will continue to compile them here. So much easier to just give people who want to debate me on Twitter and online this link rather than waste my time.

Peace and Love.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Converts, this one is for you.

This is for all the men and women who converted to Islam.

(photo from here )



I am sorry the way you are treated often by your fellow Muslims brothers and sisters.

I am sorry, ladies, for people who lecture you at the Mosque to start wearing hijab right away.

I am sorry, ladies, if you DO wear hijab, yet women scold you for what you're wearing.

I am sorry if person tells you your prayer is invalid because you did not recite the Quran in Arabic.

I am sorry if people continue to tell you to learn Arabic so you can pray properly.

I am sorry if you were ever told you must change your first name to a "Muslim" name.

I am sorry if you are constantly being nagged at how "wrong" you prayed and you must learn how to pray fast.

I am sorry if people tell you that if you don't pray five times a day, then you're not a good Muslim.

I am sorry if people tell you, guys, that you must grow a beard asap.

I am sorry if you are told to stop listening to music right away because it's all "haram"

I am sorry if you are told to give your dog away.

I am sorry if someone rolls his/her eyes at you if you ask a question.

I am sorry people look down at you because you were not "born" a Muslim.

I am sorry if people give you incorrect "fatwas"

I am sorry if people are shocked at you if you tell them you miss drinking.

I am sorry it people enforce their cultural practices on you.

I am sorry if people tell you to stop celebrating thanksgiving, mother's day, Fourth of July (i.e. your American holidays and traditions).

I am sorry if people often forget that the prophet's (pbuh) closes friends were converts themselves.

I am sorry for people's stupidity, ignorance and arrogance.


---

Please comment down below about what else people should apologize to converts for ...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Muslim American Consumer Campaign- Survey

Hello guys! I know it's been a while since I posted here last. My dad was really sick and I had to go back home to Ohio to be with him and the family for three weeks. He is recovering now. Thanks all for your thoughts and prayers!




You know what bugs me often? During Eid and Ramadan there are rarely any campaigns out there at stores or malls that target Muslims. I mean for all American and/or Christian holidays (ie Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc millions of dollars are spent on advertising. Even non-Christian holidays such as Passover, you will find decorations and special items just for those occasions. The only two companies that I have seen cater to Muslim holidays were Whole Foods and Best Buy. Often Costco and some grocery stores have halal items.
I don't know about you but I get super excited when such campaigns occur and it makes me want to buy their products even more because finally they are noticing that Muslims are part of America!

I took this survey here that is targeted towards Muslims in America and what services and products they want to be targeted to them. It took me five minutes to complete. And the cool part is that $1 will be donated to Islamic Relief when you complete the survey!

This is the American Muslim Mom Media Network campaign for DinarStandard.
Please take the American Muslim Consumer Advocacy Survey http://americanmuslimmom.com/consumersurvey


The American Muslim Consumer Conference will share the results. More details here: http://americanmuslimmom.com/calling-american-muslims-groundbreaking-consumer-survey-please-participate-deadline-october-19

Please note: I received compensation for this campaign by the American Muslim Mom Media Network However, the thoughts and opinions of this post are my own.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reflection: health, family and God

I am thousands of miles up high in the sky. wifi on board is genius. I am flying back home to Ohio because my dad had a heart failure. Please pray for him if you are reading this. Just a reminder to keep your family and loved ones always close and to cherish every moment. Never take them for granted. I have learned over the past several years that family is number one and they will ALWAYS be there and you can trust them no matter what. Thank God for the blessings you have and for your health.

I know I haven't updated here in so long and a lot has happened. I was in Egypt for a week and just came back a couple days ago. I will post soon.

Peace and love.

Aya

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meet Benjamin- his religion was hijacked

Yes I know people are sick of hearing how Muslims are annoyed that everyone assumed the Norway terrorist attacks were carried out by Muslims. And then when we found out it was done by a white right-wing Christian male, many news outlets failed to point out his faith or race. That's American media and double standards for you.

So I just want to put some things in perspectives since this has been irking me and yes I will whine. Let's say if everything that happened to Muslims post 9-11 happened and will continue to happen to Christians today. It would look something like this. I will use the name Benjamin, and his religion has just been hijacked. These scenarios are all true and have happened to Muslims and/or Arabs or any brown person.

Benjamin goes to a Catholic school. As soon as they heard about the terrorist attacks, the principal requests that everyone go home. There have been death threats.

Benjamin finds out his Church has been vandalized. The windows are broken and graffiti is painted on the walls with swastika signs, and "go back home."

Benjamin's little brother is made fun of at a public school and he is called a terrorist.

Benjamin's parents explain to him and his little brother that this is not what his religion teaches and that there are bad people in every religion.

Benjamin was minding his own business on his way to the grocery store when a group of Arabs stick out their middle fingers at Benjamin and tell him to go back home

Benjamin and his family are heading to Florida for the weekend and they all get to be randomly searched at the airport, how fun and not humiliating!

Benjamin looks for a job but is having a lot of trouble, although he is over qualified for many jobs. Some of his friends told him they had been treated differently at work because of their religion and race.

WHen Benjamin goes back to school, he is made fun of. He is called a terrorist, a killer, mental, white-trash, dirt, etc. Although America is his homeland, he feels so out of place!

People cannot seem to stop staring at Benjamin when he goes out. He'd rather stay at home. Why do so many people hate me for an act I didn't even do? I don't even like to kill flies, he wonders.

Whenever Benjamin goes to stores, parents make it obvious they are afraid of him. They suddenly hide their children, as if Benjamin would hurt him!

Benjamin's parents notice they are being treated differently at work. They all remind each other to stick together and that many people are open-minded and will not stereotype them!

Benjamin's cousin in Oklahoma is beaten by some gangs and his ribs are broken. The police said it's a hate crime.

Benjamin's parents get a phone call from the FBI-- they want to meet them for lunch!

Benjamin learns to move on with life, but after 10 years, people still hate. Many people refuse to build Churches in his town, there are still hate crimes, many people at work still give him weird looks, he is still randomly searched at airports, and people still ask him where he's from. His brother is occasionally bullied at school, he still notices the biased media, and people are still afraid of him.

But since Benjamin is a white, blue eyed, conservative Christian male, all those things will never happen. However, replace Benjamin with Muhammad, and those are all real stories that happened to a Muhammad or Guirges or Khadija. Arabs, both Muslim and Christians, and as well as non-Arab Muslims (and Sikhs) have been stereotyped, racial profiled, and victims of hate crimes since 9/11 terrorist attacks.

I pray for all the victims and families of those who were destructed by terrorism and inequality all over the world. Terrorism has no race, religion or culture.

Monday, July 11, 2011

To Him We Belong and to Him We Shall Return

A friend of mine, Hannah wrote her conversion story. It's so beautiful I thought I'd share here.


To Him We Belong and to Him We Shall Return
by: Hannah Nemec-Snider



On May 27th, 2011, I took my shahada, or my declaration of faith in Islam in front of our crowded masjid. However, I did not become a Muslim on that day. I have been Muslim my entire life, but was unaware of it. I have always believed in one God and Him alone. This thought is one of the most basic, but most important, pillars of the religion. The reason I never knew I was Muslim was because no one ever told me. I have a Muslim roommate, have met many Muslim people, but no one ever told me what Muslims believe in. All along I had believed in Islam, but had no idea that my faith was the same faith as millions of people around me.



Finally, after years of trying to understand my beliefs, attending different religious services and only believing in parts of what I would hear, a close friend asked me what I believed in. We had been friends for a while and I never talked about religion with him. I explained my fundamental beliefs, that I believe in God, but not the trinity, and I believe in heaven and angels, but also noted that it did not fall under any one religion and I “didn’t know what it was called”. He told me that I had been wrong all this time and that all of my beliefs are consistent with his beliefs as a Muslim.



At first I thought he was just trying to make Islam “look good”. Explaining the most appealing parts of the faith. He would send me ayas (or “verses”) from the Qur’an and I agreed with them, but I thought he was only picking and choosing the best lines that would make me more interested. I went out and bought a Qur’an for myself to find things to point out to him that I did not agree with. I couldn’t find one single thing. I agreed with every aya. I easily understood why the literal translation of “aya” is “miracle”. Every verse is a miracle. As a matter of fact, every word is a miracle.



It was a miracle in my own life that after searching for twenty years, after being confused, after thinking I would never find anyone else with my beliefs, I found Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) through His will. The best part was, however, that He had always been with me. I would stay up as late as possible reading Qur’an and crying knowing that I was reading the truth. I reflect on how beautiful it is that Allah (swt) gave all of the other Prophets the power to perform miracles for the people of their time to see, but he gave Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa salaam) a miracle that I get to hold in my hands every day, the Qur’an.



I knew I was Muslim and I knew I was so incredibly blessed that Allah (swt) wanted me, a twenty-year old college student, to come to Him. How could I be so lucky? And how could I do anything but seek all the knowledge and faith possible when I was chosen by Him to come to Islam?



There is a hadith that says, “if you draw nearer to Allah by a handspan, He will draw nearer to you by a cubit, and if you draw nearer to Him by a cubit, He will draw nearer to you by a fathom. And if you walk towards Him, He will rush to you.” Well, I drew nearer to Him by miles and miles and He far surpassed my efforts. And I sprinted to Him, and He rushed to me at lightspeed.



That is not to say there were not times when I was terrified. Americans do not think too fondly of Muslims, and after all the negative media portrayals I expected my friends to feel similarly about the subject. Some do, and I do not mind letting them go as friends. A friend should accept you for what you are, and also should draw you nearer to Allah. Spending time with those friends makes it obvious to me that they are not what is best for me, and that I prefer friends who are of my religion. When it’s time to pray, I can go pray without having to explain myself. When we see someone walking down the street that is “different” we do not judge them, as opposed to tease them or harass them as my friends and I had done in the past. That is not to say I do not make du’aa (or prayer) for them.



There are friends who support me and love me no matter what my choice is, and to them I am thankful. I can only hope that Allah (swt) draws them nearer to Him. However, what I was surprised to find out of these friends is the complete lack of knowledge about Islam, and oftentimes about their own religions as well. I was ignorant about Islam before converting, but I had not thought that all of my friends would equally as ignorant about Islam and their own religions!



It is my biggest honor in life to be Muslim. It is my second biggest honor to explain Islam to others. I am thankful that people feel comfortable enough around me at a grocery store, or in line at Subway, or at my office, or at the park to ask me about my faith, I just hope that I am eloquent and intelligent enough to speak for my faith.



There’s nothing I love talking about more than what we believe in and why we believe in it. I cannot force others to believe in Islam: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error” (Qur’an 2.256). However, I can educate people who do not know what Islam is about the basic beliefs. I cannot teach faith, that is only in the heart and that is only between you and Allah (swt), but I can teach religion and His message. This teaching, or dawah, is a critical part of Islam. Islam does not belong to us, it belongs to all of mankind. Islam, and the Prophet (saws) are a mercy for the entire world.



I have been told to “go back where I came from” in a WalMart parking lot (to which I responded, “I’m from Cleveland!”). I have been told to “shut up” while eating ice cream with Muslim friends for no reason. I have had people make sure their children did not walk anywhere near me at restaurants. I have had people tell me that Jesus loves me (to which I responded, “I love him too!”). I have had a woman tell me she feels bad for the way I dress when I was wearing a long dress and turtleneck and she was wearing a tube top and mini skirt (to which I responded, “honey, I feel even worse for you”). And, I have had parents tell their children the reason I was wearing hijab is because I have cancer. And that is perfectly fine. If these people knew the peace we had in our hearts, they would be fighting us for that.



I hope to teach people more about our religion, and I hope that more people are open minded enough to learn, and I hope that I continue learning forever. I encourage the Muslim population to get to know people from different cultures and religions and explain ours. There’s no need to fight, but how beautiful is it that we would speak for ourselves instead of letting others speak for us. May Allah (swt) continue blessing us with the bounty of iman, and inshaAllah (God willing) we will all draw each other nearer to Allah.

“To Him we belong and to Him we shall return.” (Qur’an 2.156)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

#Tahrirideas for July 8 Protests

(photo copyright(c)Zeinab Khalil)


Egyptians are planning massive protests on July 8 in Tahrir and many other places in Egypt. There have been injuries, harassment and other problems that have been occurring at protests since the January 25 revolution.

(photo copyright(c)Zeinab Khalil)


Many people have been coming up with ideas on how to keep protesters safe (for the most part) and to take several precautions at Tahrir. On Twitter, there was a hashtag #tahrirideas and there were so many great ideas so I compiled them all here. Please keep these all in mind. If you have any other suggestions, do use the hashtagh on twitter #tahrirideas or comment down below. It would be great to have committees to carry out and organize these ideas. Get ready ...

(photo copyright(c)Zeinab Khalil)


Security and safety
@Psypherize If we get attacked in #Tahrir Square again. We need slingshots for the rocks, better than throwing. #TahrirIdeas #Jan25 #July8

@H_I_S_H_A_M RT @sandmonkey: RT @ivasostar: @Sandmonkey bring bike helmets in case of emergency #Tahrirideas #TahrirIdeass

@ntantawy @Sandmonkey how about using a unified warning sound, like a horn, etc to warn of thug/army/police attacks? #TahrirIdeas


@A_M_Sabry #Tahrirideas We need watchers that can tell of any threats at at least 500 mt away from tahrir We need 15 minutes alarm before any attack

@Mwforhr RT @nellyali: @Sandmonkey we should make badges for all first aiders so we can keep pressure off the doctors in emergencies #TahrirIdeas


@Salma_El_Tarzi @ntantawy @Sandmonkey #TahrirIdeas during the 18 days we wore whistles around our necks in case we got attacked going in or out of square


@dshawki Having people secure entrances to the square to ensure that no weapons (or things that can be used as weapons) or thugs get in #tahrirideas

@omarelsewefy #Tahrirideas guys bring masks , bicarbonate and first aid supplies in case the cops wanted to tango with us

@nolesfan2011 #tahrirideas boxes of premade gas masks

@msibrahim One tent at the Center clearly marked for first aid, heat injuries;stock with gauze, disinfectants, aspirins, ice, ice bags #Tahrirideas

@msibrahim A few motorcycles for transportation of supplies, and emergency transportation of people #Tahrirideas


Rights and Equality

@nellyali: we should have, during the day and evening (any number) of workshops about ur rights if arrested #TahrirIdea

@LeilZahra Be attentive to racism in big gathering i.e. #Tahrir - say no to racism and classicism #TahrirIdeas

Environment
@zaynabon #tahrirideas don't pollute+always make sure to clean up after yourself. politely ask others to do so too. tahrir is hallow ground:respect it

@E_T_C_H Simple idea, everyone will go with his supplies, water, cola, mask, and whatever,if going home, he will leave anything unused #Tahrirideas

@Ahmed1khalil Also have some volunteers(I will be the first) to clean the square to clear up more space #tahrirideas



Hydration and Food

@mubaraketganen #TahrirIdeas bribe the fire dept. to show up & sprinkle the protesters with water to help prevent sun stroke

@noodlezzzzz "@Sandmonkey:need 2 set up the Tahrir public Kitchen, to feed people for free. Volunteer cooks & servers getting the food out. #Tahrirideas"


@msibrahim Depending on weather condition (heat, humidity) and health, take frequent breaks, 1 or 2 breaks each 5 to 20 min every hour #Tahrirideas


@radoooda Going to be very different on #july8 @ #tahrir with the summer heat. For those that go, remember to stay well-hydrated. #egypt #tahrirideas

@DaliaNewYork #Tahrirideas ladies, Pack some snacks in ur purses on #july8 guys won't think about that :-)

@omarelsewefy #Tahrirideas also bring lots of water in order to stay hydrated and avoid sun knock out , also come wearing something comfy

@Sama_Singer #TahrirIdeas Cotton white clothes avoid dark ones and get caps with you as well

@AalamWassef Reserve space for tea-koshary and merchandising vendors outside the square. #tahrirideas





Statistics and documentation
@iriniepoxy #TahrirIdeas Distbt small flyers w URL of pre-made survey to collct names, emails, intrests & gauge commitmnt. Incl email addy on ppr for Qs

@Sama_Singer #Tahrirideas report any violation (harassment , theft , fights..etc) and preferable to oust the violator out of the square

@shadenfawaz @Sandmonkey how about a lost and found?? #TahrirIdeas


@LeilZahra say no to sexual harassment and take an active part in making #Tahrir women-friendly #endSH #TahrirIdeas

@omarelsewefy #Tahrirideas we need survillance and information team.in order to insure quality of information and prevent spreading of rumors

@shadyramadan Wtch out to sexual harrassments. Tough actions should be taken against whoever is doing this so it won't turn into goup action #Tahrirideas

@b9AcE @Sandmonkey An infopoint that gathers and disseminates info on upcoming events, missing people, debunks rumors, etc. #tahrirideas

@Sandmonkey We need 5 people running around with video cameras all the time. And to upload them on hourly basis.#Tahrirideas

@Sandmonkey We need 6 guys with walkietalkies, 4 on each side, one roaming, and one in front of the computer sending out realtime updates.#Tahrirideas


Technology and Getting Around

@hananzaz Welcome&Guiding Tent near main entrances to tell ppl where everything is. Perhaps a small map (on paper) to keep would be best! #Tahrirideas

@iRafla #Tahrirideas signs for places fiha Internet (wi-fi) hotspots coz using 3g and egde sa3b ma3 el za7ma..load 3al network

@noodlezzzzz "@Sandmonkey: We need electrical eng who will get car batteries & convert them 2 charge cell phones & cameras. Also computers.`#Tahrirideas"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bringing Egypt to my Wedding in Ohio

I had always wanted to get married in Egypt, but since I did my engagement party there, we decided to have our katb kitab in Ohio. I brought a little bit of Egypt to my wedding and it was so much fun. Here are some photos! Maybe they will inspire Egyptian-Americans or Arab-Americans who are getting married in the U.S. but will miss the whole extravagance and craziness of an Arab wedding. These photos are copyrighted to my photographer Jennifer Mott www.jennifermott.com She's awesome!











This last photo wasn't taken by my photographer, but it's when the Pyramid was melting :(

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yemeni's Writing History

I haven't seen many op-eds written about Yemen lately. My Yemeni friend Afaf posted this on her Facebook and I told her it needs to be published elsewhere because it's powerful, informative and written from the heart, therefore more people need to read it.


Photo by Raja Althaibani: Child laborers take full advantage of the uprisings. Instead of selling bottled water, pens or cheap perfume, they have took on the selling of national emblems which are selling quickly. You can see here that although they continue to work, they are happy and excited to be apart of a revolution that may offer them a better future; a future off the streets and into normalcy.)


Yemeni's Writing History

By: Afaf

For continuous and consistent four months, Yemenis had written a history of how to uproot dictators peacefully. Their counterpart in Tunisia and Egypt were part of that legacy too but with few exceptions: in Yemen the military is controlled by the president and his children, brothers, step-brother, nephew, and in-law. But in Tunisia and Egypt, the military is not infiltrated by any of Bin-ali in Tunisia or by Mubarak in Egypt. Therefore, the Yemeni's revolution has and must remain peaceful because the alternative will be costly. Saleh knew from day one that this peaceful revolution will uproot him and work diligently to militarize it.

He ordered his heartless thugs to commit their massacre in the day of dignity as the Yemenis called it the Friday of dignity where 57 were killed in a cold blood without any reason simply because they were chanting we want democracy, social justice, and freedom. They could not tolerate their demands and decided to silent them, only to find out that terrorist action and criminal action has worked in favor of the revolution and many decent and those who still have in their heart an iota of conscious immediately found no place with them with Saleh and chose to leave him in an honorable move that Yemenis will never forget and should be the stand that omits all of their sins with Saleh. Then the balance of power changed, roughly half of the military with the revolution and half with Saleh, half if not more than half of the strong tribe with the revolution and the other with Saleh. The balance of power has changed the rule of the game between Saleh and our peaceful revolution.

He tried to play the time card-game hoping people will be fed up with their daily protest; but time did not help him as he thought but rather worked against him and the revolution has gained a momentum that trying to deny it is similar to denying the sunshine or the moonbeam. The revolution has rocked him and his mini-paid-gathering he labored to gathered ostensibly. He then asked for help and the Saudis were at his expenses, offering him not just one initiative but five and he felts that signing it without a ceremony will affect his abnormal personality that we are paying the price for tolerating it for three decades.

Then the last chapter of his shrewdness was to attack those who supported the revolution and promised to sacrifice their lives for it; the strongest tribe that have nutrient him for years, the hashed tribe which is ruled by Alahmar family (my relatives), he decided to attack them without any provocation just to get them to react and then declared to the whole world that Yemen is heading toward a civil war.

The other part of his plane was creating a vacuum of power where he evacuate his army from Abyan-just in Abyan not Taiz or Ibb because of the assumed presence of al-Qaida in Abyan which will take advantage of such action and take control of the city. By doing so, Saleh want to start a civil war in Sana’a with Alahmar and his tribe and create a concern for the west especially the American by allowing al-Qaida in Abyan a full control of the city and then coming the second day to fight al-Qaida just to keep the pressure on the Saudis and the west that his departure will mean the following; a civil war and al-Qaida.

But the justice of the one who is called the just was above his skillful plan and he was hit by his own security apparatus if not by his own family who decided to attack him where he was assuming to be the safest place; his private mosque inside his most secured presidential palace with his security guards glued to him. He tasted the blood that thousand of Yemenis have been forced to taste by his order for four month, in Amansora, Taiz, Aden, Ibb, Sana’a, Shiek Othman, Almukla, Abyan, Hadrmouth, Marab, and every city and town in Yemen.

People are saying that his lung has collapsed and 40% of his body is burned! He used poisonous gas on people, burned people alive (even the handicap were not exempt), shooting snipers on peaceful protesters - one of them being a close friend of ours, my uncle got attacked and wounded, burned the hearts of old, young, and children alike and he is now left BURNING. The land of Yemen, that Allah and his Prophet (peace by upon him) spoke so favorably about, he's clutching on as if it belongs to him. If anything he is getting what he deserves slowly and surely. I expect that he will also not be able to eat and drink soon, because he left so many young and old fending for themselves just for basic needs (food and water). Now, what, are we done with you, Saleh? We will be there. The question is, will you be there?


Photos by: Raja Althaibani

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are you hot in that?

You know when it's 105 degres outside, humid, and a random person comes up to you and asks "are you hot in that?" Here are some answers you can say if you are sick and tired of trying to explain.


- Always say: I'm hot. Hijab or not! (via ahmedmoein on twitter)

- It's a new sunblock (via bomba203 on twitter)

- Yes, but I got good wifi reception (via elusivemelon on twitter)

- Good question a warm brain can function better and if I have an ice cold milk shake I won' t get a brain freeze :) (via meers14 on twitter)

- Aren't you hot? Yeah, well me too. Duh. (via Durriyah1982 on twitter)

- I think even if someone was naked they would be hot

- I'm as hot as you are.

- Well think about it, what do people wear in deserts? long sleeves and cover their head to be protected from the heat.

- Yes, thank you for asking. Are you?

- Hmm, it's 105 degrees outside, and we're both sweating what the hell do you think?

- Yeah but I'm bald so I have to cover my head to not get a heat stroke.

- Is that a serious question?

- Stop. Drop. And keep rolling on the ground until they leave.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Amazing Egyptian Women

There was a tag on twitter the other day #amazingegyptians where people were off naming a bunch of cool Egyptians. I noticed one tweet that said not many women were on there. So I after some research and asking around, I compiled a list- a very eclectic list of a plethora of Egyptian women ranging from scientists, journalists, doctors, actresses, and bloggers. Feel free to comment below to add more awesome Egyptian women because I am sure there are SOO much more!



Dr.Samira Mousa the first women to study nuclear science, PhD in Atomic Radiation, worked to make medical use of nuclear tech affordable to all Egyptians

Kamilia Abdelfattah - Egyptian psychologist and educator

Radwa Ashour - noble essayist, author, and lecturer, who won prizes all over the world for her artistic novels


Shams Ahmed, Egyptian bassist

Leila_Ahmed Egyptian writer on Islam and Muslim feminism, novelist, the first women's studies professor at Harvard Divinity School

Umm Kulthum - dubbed greatest female singer in Middle Eastern history.


Tamav Irinie, A modern Coptic saint.

Injy Hassan Aflatoun - Painter, whose political attitude showed in her work.


Zeinobia
- Activist, Blogger, President Obama reads her blog.

Shahira Amin - Anchor/journalist for Egyptian State TV who resigned during Jan. 25 Revolution because of the station's lies.

Dalia Ziada- Activist, blogger, one of 150 most influential women in the world



Mona Eltahawy- columnist, feminist, public speaker

Nermeena - blogger, had her blog since 2004, one of the first bloggers in Egypt.

Eman Hashim award-winning blogger, teacher, writer, ophthalmologist

Nadia Younes: served as Deputy Spokeswoman for the Secretary-General of UN, Director of the UN Information Centre




Butheina Kamel, TV show host, candidate for Egypt's first free presidential elections post-Mubarak

Nawal el-Saadawi Egyptian doctor, feminist, writer

Hoda Shaarawi
- Egyptian feminist, nationalist

Asma Mahfouz - Activist whose vlogs helped spark the revolution.

Hanan Turk - outstanding actress, former ballerina, volunteer, worldwide ambassador for the international NGO Islamic Relief

Azza Fahmy - jewelery designer, was British Designer of the Year.

Lamia Bahnasawy - Archery champion, participated in 2004 Olympics

Nadia El-Awady President of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Dalia Mogahed - Advisor selected by Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Executive Director of Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, executive director at Women in International Security (WIIS)

Jihan El Midany - Pentathlete at Youth Olympic Games

Ethar El-Katatney
- Award-winning journalist, author.

Aya Medani, Competed in 2008 Olympics, Pentathlon, fencing.



St. Mary of Egypt - who took on man's garb to enter monastery and was falsely accused of sin

Ragia Omran - exceptional human rights lawyer

Hayat Farag- Egyptian wrestler, competed in 2008 Olympics

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My #Jan25 Tweets Compilation: Re-living the Revolution

I wasn't even in Egypt during the #Jan25 revolution but I often miss it so much that I watch videos on YouTube for hours. I also searched for my tweets and compiled them here as a memoir and I'll eventually make a scrapbook. Just going through them all reminded me of all the time, effort and hard work Egyptians went through, which eventually resulted in #Feb11. Scroll down to start with #Jan25 then keep scrolling up. The revolution continues ...





Feb 13 w kol share3 f beladiiiiii #jan25 #egypt
Feb 13 http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/12/live-blog-feb-13-egypt-protests my #egypt #jan25 cupcakes made it on @AJE !!
Feb 13 mom told me re #jan25 "lesson learned, when u believe in something you keep fighting for it until you reach it, don't change mind in middle"

Feb 12 I'll finally be able to look like a normal human and look decent when going out #jan25 Congrats Egypt
Feb 12 We will never forget those martyrs who died for their country #jan25 #Egypt
Feb12 fail: bush goes to war with 2 countries over YEARS to give them "democracy" ... win: egypt = democracy = 18 days Congrats Egypt #jan25
Feb 12 RT“@cypherbug: Got a Dictator in your country?......Hire an Egyptian #jan25”
Feb 12 and whats with ppl stilll saying we should respect hosni mubarak? FE SETEEEN ALF DAHYA TAKHDO #jan25

Feb 11 This is surreal #jan25 #egypy
Feb11 Masr masr masr #jan25 #egypt
Feb11 Power to the people #jan25 #egypt

Feb10 I love u Egypt #jan25
Feb10 I'll always keep fighting until your full rights #jan25
Feb 10 RT “@cnnbrk: Egyptian information minister denies President Mubarak is stepping down, state TV reports. http://on.cnn.com/f9CPes”
Feb10 Excllent step Egyptians! We should celebrate but we also need to continue to demand our full freedom and rights and democracy #jan25
Feb 10 Young Egyptian Elites Share First Hand Experience Protesting at Tahrir Square http://illum.es/fVlIGK
Feb10 RT“@WTOL11: LOCAL NEWS - Toledo Egyptians disappointed by Mubarak's announcement http://bit.ly/fqdo01”

Feb 9 i havent tweeted much today, but egypt has been on my mind all day, did my assignments for class all wrong, asked my prof to redo it. #jan25
Feb 9 egypt is my role model. period. #jan25 #tahrir

Feb 8 RT “@ashrafkhalil: Just back from Tahrir. If numbers keep growing like this, these guys are going to need a bigger square #egypt”
Feb 8 RT “@izzarian: Went to #Tahrir today, it was exhilarating. #Egypt”

Feb 7 Cnn email:Google executive Wael Ghomin, who went missing in protests in Cairo, Egypt, has been released, Google says. <- lol spelling #jan25

Feb 6 RT “@FaithCNN: Christians, Muslims hold hands in Cairo, some holding up crosses and Korans #Egypt #Jan25 #tahrir #mubarak”

Feb 5 RT “@HaninSh: RETWEET if you believe that Twitter is a better news source than other media channels! :) #Jan25 #Egypt #World”

Feb 4 I'll be at work till 6 can't update cuz I work with kids can't use iPhone. Tweet me updates so I can read later plz #jan25
Feb 4 i have never everrr been this exhausting and sleepless. i cant imagine what those living in egypt and protesting are feeling. #jan25 respct
Feb 4 :( #jan25
Feb 4 is proud to walk like an egyptian #jan25 #tahrir
Feb 4 I'd love to show a large crema pie in Mubarak's face just about now #Jan25 #jan25 #egyot
Feb4 for anyone at #tahrir square today you are my hero. can i have your autograph? #jan25 #Jan25 #egypt #Tahrirsquare
Feb 3 Lol people on my FB telling protesters to go home. Man people these days thinking a revolution would be a piece of cake hahaha #jan25
Feb 3 Peter Bergen @CNN: I dont think the Muslim Brotherhood is dangerous at all #jan25
Feb 3 i love egypt. period. #jan25 #feb1 #egypt
Feb 3 its time for me to sleep. hope i wake up to good news. send me updates. ill wake up early to catch up on updates. good night all #jan25

Feb 2 who else is mad?! i cant be the only one? why are people saying theyll wait 8 more months? why are people pro mubarak?# jan25 #feb1
Feb 2 a distant relative claimed that mubarak is a good man and shes furious that everyone is attacking him.we're not related anymore #jan25 #feb1
Feb2@BloggerSeif welcome back online we've all been tweeting and writing about u guys#jan25
Feb1 My uncle is at tahrir square and my cousins too! #jan25 #feb1'

Jan31 I love u Egyptian and non Egyptian tweeps out there tweeting updates and support. Power to the people #jan25

Jan 30 Running on 3 hrs of sleep and it's not exam week it's revolution week #jan25 #egypt

Jan 29#jan25 so proud of egyptians and non-egyptians all over the world protesting injustice and corruption in #Egypt

Jan 28 Cairo and Egyptian are trending
Jan 28 Hopw u had nightmares all night mubarak you've kept thousands of sleepless for years #jan25 #Egypt
Jan 28 It's 1 15 am should get some sleep #jan25
Jan 28 keep #Jan25 trending! The world needs to know the illegal crimes committed by Mubarak
Jan 28 Silence is a crime #jan25
Jan 28Tawaqalt gala Allah #jan25
Jan 28 #jan25 here we come

Jan 27 I rarely curse, but I have cursed these past couple of days, and here it goes again damn you to hell Mubarak. You're a piece of shit. #jan25
Jan 27 i just tweeted khloe kardashion about the revolution in egypt when she asked whats going on today hehe. #jan25

Jan 25 My moms so cute she called me and told if we were in Egypt on this day she would have joined the protesters #jan25 #Egypt

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Female Sahaba Riding Camels/Horses

Mona Al-Sharif was detained in Saudi Arabia for driving and encouraging other women to drive by posting a video on YouTube and Facebook. She was released later. Read more about it here http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/saudi-woman-who-defied-driving-ban-and-posted-a-video-of-herself-driving-is-detained/2011/05/21/AFLI7Y8G_story.html?wprss=rss_world

For your information, "Religious" Saudi Arabia rulers, female sahaba, including the Prophet Muhammad's wife drove a camel.

Al-Bukhari reported from Abi Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said:

“نِسَاءُ قُرَيْشٍ خَيْرُ نِسَاءٍ رَكِبْنَ الْإِبِلَ أَحْنَاهُ عَلَى طِفْلٍ وَأَرْعَاهُ عَلَى زَوْجٍ فِي ذَاتِ يَدِهِ“

“The women of Quraish are the best women who rode camels, they are most kind with their children and most caring for their husband’s wealth.”

Also,

Muslim reported from Shuraih ibn Hani’ that ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) rode a camel, and it was somewhat defiant, so she kept on beating it, and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said to her,

“عَلَيْكِ بِالرِّفْقِ.”

“Adhere to gentleness.”


Camels and horses during that time was a means of transportation = driving cars these days.

So Saudi Arabian kings, change your preposterous laws and give women their rights back -- rights originally given to them by Islam.

For people who want more proof on this hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad), other rulings: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=123096

in.your.face.

Flying Hijab(less)

I travel a lot. I used to always travel from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport when I lived in the Midwest. Occasionally I would have to do an extra pat-down, but once I didn't even beep, and was told to sit down so I would be extra searched. So I told the security guy, why though? I didn't beep. And he let me go! That's how it's supposed to be. Racial profiling sucks. Traveling out of South Carolina is even worse because there are only a handful of Muslims and/or Arabs here. Every time I travel from here I get to be extra searched, pat down, and do that PETN search (where they have you run your own hand on your scarf, then hold your hand out to the officer, and they take the sample from your hand and screen it).
One time traveling out from here I had to be searched for a total of 25 minutes- I barely made it to my flight. Pissed me off.



I didn't even sound when I went through security (I wear minimal jewelery when traveling, take off my watch, etc). But they told me I had to step aside for extra searching for wearing 'bulky clothing.' (O_o) So I had them do a pat down and the PETN search. The lady came back and said they would have to do extra search and I had to take my scarf off (gave me the option to take it off in public or in a tiny room). I kept telling them I was going to be late to my flight and I don't understand why I had to be extra searched. The lady came up wit ha theory that it might be because I had just washed my hair and put conditioner on it (O_o). After taking off my scarf and all that fun stuff, she apologized for any inconvenience and I ran to make my flight. Thankfully I did.

But think about it. You didn't sound. You were just like all the other people who went through the security and didn't sound. But you, since you are wearing "bulky" (what the hell does that mean anyway? I thought you were supposed to travel wearing loose fitting clothing to be comfortable?) you had to be searched for an extra 25 minutes, be escorted to a private room while all the people behind you in line are freaking out and praying that they don't end up on my flight.

So a couple weeks after I put a beret over my hijab and tried to hide my hijab as much as possible and wrapped the hijab ends as a scarf on my neck. I felt like a normal person! No odd stares, security was a breeze, no extra screening, and people didn't have that "please don't have her sit next to me" look on their face when I set foot on the plane. I felt like a real life American (not to mention my facial featured really helped-fare skin, light eyes, so I looked 100% Caucasian). I felt like I finally fit in. At the boarding gate there was a Muslim hijabie (which is very odd, since I had never seen a Hijabie at that airport before while traveling). I said salamu alaikum and she seemed surprised. At that moment I felt ashamed that I was covering my hijab because the other lady was the one who was being started at but she looked confident nevertheless. I still wanted to complete my experiment though and I took off the beret on the second flight to San Francisco where I was sitting next to another hijabi on the flight and told her all about my experiment.

After that experiment, I realized that fitting by being someone else did not necessarily make you happy. I have always heard the phrases "be your self, you don't have to fit in, be original, etc." I finally understood those words. I realized that wearing the hijab was being myself, and covering it up with a cute little beret was disguising who I really was. It was fun and relieving though to feel like I was really part of the American culture, although I have always considered myself an Arab-American, that one time I felt that others accepted me because ... I simply blended in.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hijab and Southern Hospitality

I had originally written this piece for my university's newspaper but since they have't updated their website in a month, I doubt this will be posted. So here it is!


I moved to South Carolina last summer from Ohio for graduate school. I moved a lot growing up: New Jersey, North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. For the most part, I grew up in diverse communities and was always taught to never treat anyone less differently regardless of the color of their skin or how they looked. I had green eyes, dark hair, fair skin, so I fit in pretty well throughout elementary and middle school. I chose to wear the hijab (headscarf) in high school because how I perceived it; it was a way of being modest and not conforming to society’s elucidation of what a woman should or should not wear. I wore hijab solely for the sake of God. After all, Mary was always depicted wearing a head covering and nuns cover their hair as well, so fitting in would be a breeze. And it was—for the most part. Living in the Midwest and being an Egyptian-American myself, there was a plethora of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, so overall it wasn’t an anomaly to see a lady covering her hair. People just moved on with their lives and accepted the uniqueness. Of course there were always a minority of people who expressed their hatred feelings out loud, whether it was by giving me the middle finger as I was driving along minding my own business, or someone yelling “go back home.” It was bound to happen after the horrendous acts of people who “claimed” to be Muslims when they distorted the image of real Muslims on Sept. 11, and when my religion was hijacked. But even ten years later, today, Muslims are still targets of hatred and many people are still unfortunately xenophobic; just Google Peter King hearings, Hate comes to Orange County, Muslim child hung in bathroom, and Murfreesboro Tennessee Mosque.

Moving to South Carolina from Ohio was a culture shock. Not only was I blown away by the remarkable southern accent, but it was difficult to fathom that I wouldn’t wear boots and winter coats for 5 months (it snowed last week in Ohio. Yes on April 18). I have also been subjected to labels, comments, stares, and online hate comments (someone responded to me by saying the following on a local news article posting: “Just keep your sharia law in dump countries like Afghanistan and Somalia. I happen to like pork and alcohol and being Christian.”)

I never knew that covering one’s hair would be such a fuss here. I mean, people wear hats all the time, right? I have met some of the friendliest people here in my work places and classes. Their kindness and tolerance really defines southern hospitality and I truly appreciate it; so thank you coworkers and classmates you truly defined true southern hospitality for me. I have also heard some rather peculiar comments, such as “why is your English so good” (which I reply, thanks yours is too) “do you have hair” “where are you from” “why do you wear that” “are you hot in that.” So I will answer them all here to clear up any misconceptions. My English is “good” because I was raised bilingual-I grew up speaking Arabic at home and learned English at school. I also majored in English literature and journalism as an undergrad, so I am slightly obsessed with writing and reading. Yes, I have hair and yes I have ears (a little kid told me I couldn’t hear her because I didn’t have ears a couple weeks ago—too cute). The next two questions, I answered them in the first paragraph. As for the “am I hot in that,” well obviously I will not wear a sweater and boots in the spring and summer here – I don’t miss Ohio that much. I like to think of the light cardigans, hijab and maxi dresses I wear in the summer kind of like sun screen. Most likely, if you are feeling hot, then I am too and it’s not the end of the world; I chose to wear a hijab, and I love it, so please don’t look at me with pity. I love living in SC.

If I didn’t answer your burning questions in this piece, feel free to contact me or stop me in the street to chat. And remember, as I learned in one of my first classes here, America is no longer a melting pot—we’re not going merge into one bowl and overlook our individuality. Rather we are a huge salad bowl: we have our difference, but we are multifarious and work together with unique backgrounds and cultures to contribute to society. Befriending people from different backgrounds, cultures, race and religions undoubtedly helps dispel negative stereotypes and xenophobia you see every day and hear about in the media; so let’s spice up the status quo!

So original: My first post!

I always fail at blogging. I think I made a blog when I was in high school and wrote about my awesome vacations in Egypt. Then I made another blog one time about current issues. Then I made another blog about my random thoughts. The only blog I actually update is www.ayakhalil.blogspot.com which is more of a professional site where I have any articles I have written over the past couple of years, being a freelance journalist and all. So this blog, hopefully it will not fail, will be about experiences I have faced that I think might interest others. Or just so I can write then and not forget about them.

P.S. I love the name I came up with for this blog. Creative, isn't it, ya'll?