Sofia Answers Would-Be Allies

Dear Neighbor: I Take Your Trump Sign Personally

Dear Neighbor: I Take Your Trump Sign Personally
Oct 09, 2016 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
"Dear Neighbor:

I want you to know that I take your Trump sign personally. I take it personally because I have a vagina, or as your favored candidate might say, a “p***y.” My daughter has one, too. And I figure if you’re okay with a p***y-grabber for President, you might just be one yourself. I assume you vetted the guy before you put that sign on your lawn, facing my home, in our safe and quiet suburban neighborhood. The latest news, I bet, reaches you before it reaches me, since we don’t have cable television at our house. But your loud, proud sign supporting a sexual predator for President is still out there, right alongside the quiet part of the block,...

Is Your Passport in Order?

May 08, 2016 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
"...I have always known that I would need to prepare my children, as racial and religious minorities, to handle the kind of covert racism and ignorance I experienced with my teachers, and the hypocrisy I experienced with my childhood friend. Those experiences were not easy, but they were not crises. Through them, I developed the ability to speak loudly and clearly, to carry myself with dignity, to listen carefully, and to learn. They were the inevitable challenges of taking part in the great project of pluralism. In that project we are offered the divine opportunity to reach across gender and color, across nation, language and tribe “that we might come to know one another,” as the Qur’an describes.

But today’s Republican...

Why Shariah Law Is Not Coming to a Courthouse Near You

Why Shariah Law Is Not Coming to a Courthouse Near You
Mar 23, 2016 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
Years ago, before I went to law school, I was thinking about getting married. I wanted to know what that meant, legally. I’m a pretty good researcher and I figured if someone could just point me toward the right books, I could work it out.

So I went to the local law school and found the library. I asked the librarian to point me towards the books on marriage and divorce. And the librarian very sweetly asked what exactly I was looking for, and then explained to me that the law didn’t work the way I imagined.

It turns out that to find American law that governs the family, you would have to look in many different places. You might have to...

Muslim-Jewish Solidarity

Jan 14, 2016 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
I recently got a message from someone who wrote:  "I want to be the kind of person who stands up for Muslims as you say, but, here's the dilemma. Why is the Muslim community quiet when there is antisemitism, or terrorism by a Muslim Arab against Israel, or a Jewish community in Paris, or anti-Western hate talk? The non-extremist Muslim community is generally quiet."

Here is my answer:

Salam, Shalom, peace to you! I have a couple of thoughts on your question, so I'll try to tease them out here as best I can.  I've actually seen quite a few instances of Muslim-Jewish solidarity. If you google Muslim Jewish solidarity, you'll see what I mean. Here are a few examples:…/1961…/pillars-of-cochin-community Really very inspiring and...

Sofia Answers (2): Is the Qur’an Inherently Violent?

Dec 22, 2015 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN

The simple and incomplete answer is that yes, insofar as any book that describes battles or warfare from time to time is violent, the Qur’an is violent. However, the Qur’an forbids aggression and permits only defensive battle. It describes battle in the context of defending Islam in its infancy; it makes clear that pluralism is God’s design for humanity and directs us to compete in good works and come to know one another.

Remember that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) over a period of 23 years in the early 7th Century. At the time of revelation, there were very few individuals living as monotheists in the Arabian peninsula. Muhammad and his message represented an enormous threat to...

Sofia Answers: Why Don't Muslims Condemn Extremism/Terrorism/Violence?

Dec 16, 2015 by SOFIA ALI-KHAN
1) We do! Look at the websites of every major American Muslim organization. The Council on American Islamic Relations, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Islamic Society of North America and Islamic Circle of North America are several of the big ones. Every one of them has several items, usually on the front page, condemning specific violent acts committed by folks who purport to be Muslim, and violence in general. And that’s a tiny fraction of possible examples of us going around condemning violence. Think about it, we make up 1% of the adult population in this country. Would you even hear it if each of us were shouting from our rooftops? No, you wouldn't; you would have no idea. Which leads...