In the mini movie “Just One Night”, two headscarf-wearing Muslim women go out to a bar to experience bar life for “just one night.” The protagonist’s friend claims she has never been to this bar before; however, the protagonist discovers her friend is a regular at the bar after seeing her picture on the wall. The protagonist pulls off her friend’s headscarf in anger after seeing the picture and watching her dance with a man at the bar. They talk. In a dramatic denouement, they hold hands in symbolic acceptance of the friend’s decision to not put her headscarf back on when she exits the bar.
The United States is not the only country with a “Thanksgiving” celebration. Personally, I do not view Thanksgiving as a religious holiday—at least not one that is specific to Islam or Christianity (or any other religion). Instead, I view it as an opportunity to express gratitude and to connect with friends and family. This year I have three celebrations planned: “Friendsgiving” with other American Muslims (mostly converts), an inter-faith worship service with the Bloomington Multi Faith Alliance, and a homemade feast with my teenagers on the actual day of Thanksgiving.
When most Americans think of Muslim countries, their minds immediately go to the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan – maybe they’ll think about Türkiye, or more rarely, North African countries like Tunisia. However, it’s rare that if you ask an American to name a country with a rich and vibrant Islamic history, they will mention a sub-Saharan African country. Yet, by the eighth century, Islam was well established through West Africa and along the Swahili Coast of East Africa.
Depending on whom you ask, the meaning of “Kurdish religion” varies greatly. In Iran, Kurds constitute a religious as well as an ethnic minority, making up a large part of Iran’s Sunni Muslim population. In Türkiye, Kurds are mostly part of the Sunni majority, although there is a significant Kurdish Alevi minority as well. In Syria, a Sunni majority lives alongside significant minorities of Alawites and Yazidis. In Iraq there is a Sunni majority and a Shi’a minority as well as Yazidis and a number of other indigenous religious communities. Scattered communities of Jews and Christians can be found across the region as well, although most indigenous Christians belong to ethnically distinct Assyrian, Chaldean, and Armenian rites.
I have always been someone who likes to be social. I spent time with school, classes, and friends during the first year of my college life. Everything was great but there was something missing. This absence that I was feeling deep inside had become a problem which I couldn’t figure out because I didn’t know what it was.
Then one day, I attended a picnic with an invitation from my father. That was when my story with the yellow vest started. The vest of İyilik Derneği (Association for Goodness); a voluntary aid organization based in Turkiye. İyilik Derneği may be based in Turkiye but sends volunteers to everywhere overseas where they need help regardless of race, language, or religion.
Muslim intellectual history is rich and complex. It started as a simple effort to continue to live according to the legacy of Prophet Muhammad (s) – Sunnah – in the aftermath of his death, became refined over time, and also branched into new directions even as it remained grounded in core revelatory concepts. Yet, too often, students of Islam in general and Islamic studies programs in particular learn the core disciplines of Qur’an, hadith (reports of prophetic words, actions, and habits), and fiqh (jurisprudence) along with secondary subjects such as mysticism, theology, and philosophy as discrete blocks of knowledge.
We know that the westward expanse of Islam covered significant portions of southern Europe. From the eighth to the fourteenth century CE (until 1492, in fact), portions of the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and France were under Arab rule. This is evident in the decorative arts and architecture that remain there, but also in many foodways, which are often touted as iconic European foods, and agricultural technologies.
Popularized in American culture in the 1970s, the “Mediterranean diet” touted health benefits of “traditional” foods focusing on fish and vegetables with olive oil as the primary fat. The Mediterranean diet became such an icon that it was declared an “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO in 2013. But in the popular imagination this diet was largely built of influences of Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Southern French cuisine. Anyone who has seen a map, though, knows that a lot is missing. Where in this version of the Mediterranean diet were the foods of Turkey? Of North Africa? Of Syria?
Imagine listening to hip-hop with lyrics in German but the melody starts and ends with a Turkish folk song, and there is the Islamic Sufi flute Ney playing in the middle… Or rapping in German as if speaking in Turkish…This is exactly what Aziza A. does! 
Born and raised in Berlin to Turkish immigrants, Aziza’s dream was to become an actress when she was a child. Instead, she became the first female Turkish-German rapper and one of the several other outstanding female rappers who challenged the male dominated German hip-hop scene. She stands out because of her “Turkish roots” and the way she bravely challenges gender stereotypes about Turkish culture and even Islam to some extent in her songs. Aziza touches on social struggles of the Turkish diaspora in Germany by incorporating themes such as immigration, religion, and modernity. Some of her songs make reference to Islamic elements while some other ones focus on diasporic problems specifically.
Hijab (Veil) is a term which has multiple images associated with it. For some it might bring to surface images of the ongoing protests in Iran by women to end the mandatory hijab, while for others, it might recall images of Muslim women in France fighting against the Hijab ban. Such duality of the meaning and interpretation of Hijab can be challenging to understand without indulging into the particular sociocultural and spiritual contexts which constitute its meaning. How do we then understand the meaning of Hijab then and the role it plays for Muslim Women?