Winter Kites

Dec 15, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

How Colonialism and Patriarchy Create Enduring Misery for Native American Women

Jul 27, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

Op-Ed: Pakistani American Author’s New Book Reflects on the Racialization of American Muslims and the Solidarity We Owe Nation’s Black and Indigenous Communities

Jul 25, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

Chicago Tribune-When My Family and I Looked for a Home in the Chicago Suburbs, We Kept Finding a Color Line

Jul 06, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

LA Times-I Moved to Canada in the Trump Era. But I Still Yearn for an America that Lives Up To the Dream.

Jul 04, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

Sarasota Herald Tribune-Let's Study the True history of Cities Like Sarasota - So We Don't Repeat It

Jul 04, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

TIME Magazine-Finding the American Dream in Canada

Jul 04, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

The Gullah Geechee, American Islam and Stilton Spread

Apr 11, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

One great irony of the Muslim Ban* was that Muslims have been in America for four hundred years. They were stolen and held captive, enslaved for generations. Perhaps the clearest record we have of those early Muslims is in the culture of the Gullah Geechee, who were descended from those captured in West Africa and enslaved in the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia.

Because those islands were ideal for growing sugar, cotton, indigo and especially rice, slavers ordered massive plantations carved out of live oak forests, which were then worked by the people they enslaved under brutal conditions.

As was true for the enslaved throughout the United States, those in the Sea Islands...

Hagar, Feminist

Apr 11, 2022 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
There's a common story that Muslims are told about Hagar in the context of the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) ritual. It has some variations because there's almost nothing about it in the Qur'an, and it's instead rooted in oral traditions recorded after the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Remarkably, our version of Hagar is quite different in tone and in detail than the Jewish or Christian versions. Specifically, ours identifies Hagar as a resourceful, independent, and primary parent to Ismail and so the prophetic lineage that gives us Prophet Muhammad.

Normally, Muslims are taught, without much preface, that Hagar is the younger wife of Ibrahim (Abraham) from Egypt...

A Good Country: My Life in Twelve Towns and the Ongoing Battle for a White America

A Good Country:  My Life in Twelve Towns and the Ongoing Battle for a White America
Apr 03, 2021 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
Circa 1977 a the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (Image subject to copyright)

Exciting news! The book I've been writing, researching and breathing for the past four years is finally on its way. Due out by Random House in July 2022, the book is memoir braided with little known chapters in American history.

As Trump launched his campaign in 2015, Muslim families like mine were already grieving the execution-style murders of three beautiful, bright young students in North Carolina, followed by a year of unprecedented attacks on American Muslims. When the San Bernardino shooter was identified as Muslim in late 2015, and Trump used that as an opportunity to scapegoat us all, calling for a 'complete and total shutdown' of...

Justin, with love.

Jul 09, 2019 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
One summer, when I was 19 or so, I drove out to the Gateway Ranch, which sits on the edge of the Navajo reservation, near Flagstaff. Intended to be a place of environmental sustainability and responsible, respectful cultural exchange, it is the home of a former AIM activist, who had been invited to be principal of the reservation's first native-run school. I went with my friend Jenn, taking turns driving her Toyota eight hours out of the subtropics of South Florida, where we were at New College, and then nearly 3,000 miles across the Deep South, and Texas, a country all its own, and finally, into the dusty southwest.

That summer, I met a man named Justin. He was Navajo, and...

Faith and Charlie Horses

Jun 21, 2019 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
It's hard to explain faith. Someone--an acquaintance from college--recently wrote that they were doing me a kindness by not considering me evangelical and writing me off. The truth is, I don't mind being written off. But I am concerned about being considered evangelical. Because I'm plenty busy with keeping myself in line without getting involved with what anyone else is doing. (Unless those someone elses are trying to devastate large parts of humanity. Then I get upset and noisy.) I can't tell you exactly why I'm a person of faith. What I can tell you is that it has little to do with identity politics, or what I was born into, although those things are real and provide context. It's a million lonely...

My Body

Jun 21, 2019 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
I had an ectopic pregnancy in 2009. It was a pregnancy I wanted desperately. When the pain started, I tried to tough it out, thinking I could manage a miscarriage at home.

When the bleeding and the pain continued to worsen, I was triaged to the head of the line at the ER and immediately administered methotrexate, a cancer drug meant to break up the cells rapidly multiplying in my fallopian tube. Without the methotrexate, my fallopian tube would have burst and I could have died as a result. Despite what some idiot legislators think, ectopic pregnancies are not viable and can not be "moved into the uterus." I am super glad that methotrexate stopped those cells multiplying; and am still...

What We Have Now

Jun 20, 2019 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
North Americans and Europeans have created entire countries full of climate refugees and entire countries full of refugees from brutal colonial violence in South and Central America and the Middle East. We maintain the colonization and suppression of vast underclasses of Black Americans and First Nations people (and also often "immigrants," by which we mean brown people). The only sound response, the only ethical response, is to open borders to those whose suffering we have, ourselves, created. And to engage in reconciliation and reparations to the internally colonized, including large transfers of land and power. The pressure and the brutality will not stop at our borders as climate crisis and late capitalism make it harder to sustain a middle class,...

An Emblem, An Anthem, and a Uniform: Why Red Hats Matter

Jan 25, 2019 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
The MAGA hat is a stroke of genius.

National identities are built on purpose.  They are defined and described in ways that either encourage unity and engagement or simply affirm the powerful.  But there are three ways, in particular, that appear in the making and celebrating of nations around the world:  emblems, anthems and uniforms.

Athletes compete under their national flag at the Olympics, soldiers fight under their flag in war, emissaries plant their flag as a symbol of achievement or conquest.  Anthems are played to symbolize victory, unity, and pride. Uniforms vary depending on the context, but everyone recognizes a military uniform and many associate certain colors or a specific cultural dress with a nation or a people.

Not surprisingly, when a leader...

Celebrating Christmas with Abandon

Celebrating Christmas with Abandon
Dec 04, 2018 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
This holiday season I’m fully embracing Christmas.  Those of you who know me know I’m not a little bit Muslim.  I’m ardently Muslim.  I love dhikr, I celebrate when my kids recite chapters of the Qur’an, I quote from its meaning in conversation, I talk about the meaning and solace I take from it and from the prophetic tradition as if I haven’t fully realized I live in North America in the 21stCentury.  Or maybe I talk about those things in a way only someone in North America in the 21stCentury would.  Either way, Christmas is in no way, for me, a repudiation of Islam.

Christmas started as a way to let my kids enjoy the lights in a dark season,...

The Sound of Music and Partition and How Normal Everything Can Be Made to Seem

Jun 04, 2017 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
One of my favorite films growing up was the Sound of Music. I know, I know--but one of the scenes I found most confusing was towards the end, where the VonTrapps go perform in a show in a big theater just before fleeing the Nazi regime. I thought surely, in times such as those, no one would be performing in theaters and doing things that seemed at once so normal and so frivolous.

It turns out that this is a dangerous misunderstanding of how things work. Right now, American democracy is under serious attack and the federal government is being actively starved and narrowed to increasingly autocratic and erratic rule.

And yet, life goes on. We are, inevitably, preoccupied with the...