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Racist Slurs Slung in the Classroom: Here’s How One Detroit Teacher Handles It

People often ask me if I get attacked for being a Muslim.  Although I might get a racist/ethnic slur shouted at me every now and then, it is actually a rare occurrence. When it does happen, it usually takes me by surprise, and on a good day, my reaction will be to smile and ask […]

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My Mother’s Warning: “You know if you put it on, you can’t take it off”

I remember sitting on my parents’ bed as a kid and trying to wrap one of my mom’s headscarves around my head. Standing on the bed, looking into the mirror that sat atop their dresser, I saw myself take the square piece of cloth and trying miserably to tie it in a knot like I […]

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Secrets of Who’s Who Under Those Head Coverings

As a Muslim woman I choose to wear a headscarf, known as the hijab, because it symbolizes the core beliefs and ethics of Islam that I hold close to my heart. Having said that, I’ve always known that the headscarf conceals identifying characteristics that allow people to recognize those of us who decide to wear the […]

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On Chanukah and Being Jewish in a Gentile World

It was the beginning of Chanukah, the eight-day festival that commemorates the victory of the Jews in the second century BCE over the Assyrian Greeks who had invaded the country. My family was not at all observant, but we always lit candles in the eight-branched menorah – one on the first day, two on the […]

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Single, Muslim and Eligible. Now what?

“Are you married?” they ask as they glance at my ringless ring finger. I have gotten this question from Muslims, Christians, whites, blacks, men, women, children and especially my students. This question knows no single demographic. However, the degree of shock to my 30 years of singlehood is most dramatic within my Arab community – […]

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Taking Charge of Those Blanket Untruths About Detroit

Since I’ve moved to Detroit some of my family members and friends are hesitant to visit me – or flat out will not visit me. I grew up in East Dearborn. As a minority in the U.S. I never felt the part because I was surrounded with Arabs and Muslims who looked like me, spoke like […]

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What Body-Covering Burqas and Scanty Bikinis Have in Common

I recently came across this cartoon and had to giggle: I’m sure this telepathic exchange of inner-monologues isn’t an infrequent experience. I had to chuckle because I am far from a burqa’d Muslim woman, but I still feel I get this same sympathetic glance every now and then. Especially in the summer—when I wear my […]

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Jackie Victor on Creating Jewish Community in Detroit

It’s said that there are two kinds of people in the world: meaning makers and meaning takers. One reason I choose to live, work and raise my children in Detroit is the unusually high concentration of the meaning makers. Perhaps because we live in a city where there are so many unmet needs, there are […]

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Friend or Foe for Motown Muslim?

“Hey! Where you going?” calls the janitor of an inner city public school to me as I jiggle the handle on a locked door in the empty hallway. “Ahh, hello there,” I reply self-consciously. Actually, no matter how many times this happens to me, it’s really embarrassing every time.   “Maybe you could help me…” I […]

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