Alhamdulillah my trip to NYC to talk at TC Columbia was perfect MashaAllah! Allah gave me everything as always.
My taxi dropped me off in the wonderful middle of Harlem because the African American Day parade was blocking the route to my apartment on Columbia's campus. I soaked up the cultural experience, feeling at home with Langston Hughes on my mind.
My hosts at Teachers College were abundantly hospitable. And friends from the two Muslim communities closest to my heart came to the lecture to support me.
Dr. Arshad Ali, who organized the panel, was gracious in his introduction of me as he noted that I was writing about the complexity (depth and diversity) of American Muslim youth identities before anyone else, Alhamdulillah. The main take away for me, which I began to realize from the three young Muslims I interviewed in preparation for this talk, and was confirmed from the research of other panelists, is that young Muslims today of Arab and Asian background are showing an outstanding amount of solidarity with other people of color, something we all agreed was mostly absence just 10 years ago and certainly 15 years ago when I was doing my research. We all thought this has so much to do with Black Lives Matter and of course growing up after 9/11 wherein for them Muslim identity has always meant a marginalized identity.
I also feel confident that superstar activist/scholars/artists beloved by Muslim youth like Su'ad Abdul Khabeer, Rami Nashashibi, Donna Auston, Kameelah Mu'min Rashad, Margari Hill, Namira Islam, Linda Sarsour, Layla Abdullah-Poulos, Hind Makki, Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, Tariq Toure, Omid Safi, Zareena Grewal, Dalia Mogahed, Omar Sulaiman, Umar Farooq Abdallah, Suhaib Webb, Brother Ali, Cristal Chanelle Truscott, and Tasleem Jamila have played a tremendous role in inspiring Muslim youth. Alhamdulillah it feels wonderful to know that my research and writing truly inspires and qualifies as activism. May Allah purify my intentions, keep me close to Him, elevate my work, and make us all beacons of light and mercy pointing to the beloved (S) and the Most Merciful, the Most Loving.