December 2011

All-American Muslim is TLC's bold new reality TV show that follows Muslim American families in Dearborn, MI. It has all the features of reality television – funny, dramatic, sensational, addictive – but it also tackles real-world struggles: family and marriage, racism, religious conflict, and how life changed after 9/11. It made me excited – the first truly mainstream portrait of Muslims in America. Last week, fringe anti-Muslim groups pressured American companies to pull their advertising dollars from the show – and it worked! Lowe's Home Improvement caved in.

For the last decade, we have heard demands for mainstream Muslims to come out of the shadows, to speak out against terrorism, and reclaim their faith.  What better way to tell one's stories than though film and television?  And what is more quintessentially American these days than telling one's story through reality TV? This fall's new TLC show All-American Muslim takes on the daring project of depicting Muslim families as real people.  Anti-Muslim groups selected the show as its most recent target, calling upon advertisers to pull ads

By Valarie Kaur and Jessica Jenkins Published on Huffington Post. It is a basic fact of the moral universe that children should not be sold for sexual exploitation.  However, in America, girls and boys are regularly manipulated, coerced, and forced into sex for money.  Most are trafficked from within the United States, not far-off foreign lands. Many are as young as eleven or twelve. And many are sold on prominent Web sites such as Backpage.com, owned by Village Voice Media. This morning, an unexpected coalition of faith and moral leaders

By Amelia Earnest Published by Yale Daily News. A decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, Yale students are still discussing their effect on the way minorities are perceived in the United States. The South Asian Society at Yale, in collaboration with the Yale Chaplain’s Office and two other student groups, held a forum Monday night for reflection on racial profiling in the post-9/11 world as part of a series of University-wide events commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. The evening’s discussion addressed societal issues that have developed since 9/11, such

I've been speaking about a rising generation ready to emerge from the shadows of the last decade and enter a new era of social change. Now we are seeing something emerge -- a grassroots campaign has caught fire, turning out thousands of people, young and old, to create a free democratic space called Liberty Square on Wall Street. All kinds of people are protesting that Wall Street has been rescued but there has been no help for most Americans. And city after city is joining them. Their statement: “We are

By Anju Kaur Published by SikhNN. A new kind of activism was born out of the Balbir Singh Sodhi tragedy ten years ago when he became the first person killed in the backlash against those perceived to be related to the 9/11 attackers. About 100 people gathered at his Mesa, Arizona, gas station to remember Balbir Singh who was gunned down on Sept. 15, 2011. He was shot because of his Sikh identity of unshorn hair and turban. His attacker, Frank Roque, went on a rampage, shooting him five times

My letter to the editor of the New York Times, defending the moral vision of the Millennial generation, was published today. I'm thrilled to be given this chance to speak out for all of us working so hard toward our vision of a more just world. You can find the letter on the NYT website, and read it below. Re “If It Feels Right

I'm writing tonight from Mesa, Arizona, where a family friend was murdered ten years ago.  His name was Balbir Singh Sodhi.He was a turbaned Sikh man who owned his own gas station and was well-loved for his generosity and broad smile.On Sept. 15, 2001, he visited Costco to buy flowers and emptied his pocket to make a donation to the 9/11 relief efforts in the check out line.  A few hours later, he was shot and killed in front of his store by a man who called