Breathing one day at a time with suspected coronavirus

Seerah, the cat, taking up her position by my side on the bed

Twenty days ago, I started self-quarantining at my mother’s home out of an abundance of caution. We had both been traveling separately through multiple international airports and had flown back to Michigan together that day. I had no symptoms, I had been washing my hands frequently and avoiding touching my face. Despite the circumstances, as we settled in, I was a bit relieved to be completely grounded for a couple weeks in isolation so I could spend some time at home clearing out my to-do list.

Then, sixteen days ago, on Wednesday, I hit a sudden wall. I normally deal…


It takes consistent effort and a whole lot of courage to consistently disrupt the oppressive systems we live in

A shot taken during my closing remarks for MuslimARC’s 2018 Michigan Gala (photo credit: Tamanna Azim)

From changing up my social media feeds so I’m following more diverse people to avoiding retailers that have oppressive labor practices, I’m often pushing myself — and other people — to do better when it comes to issues of equity and self-improvement.

But I thought it was important to mention this too right now:

If you’re struggling, please don’t let yourself get in a rut of thinking that you’re a failure because you haven’t been recycling as much, haven’t been exercising enough, haven’t been shopping responsibly enough, haven’t been reading enough serious literature quick enough, haven’t been…

The reality —…


No, we are not a “nation of immigrants.”

Panorama of the west facade of United States Supreme Court Building at dusk in Washington, D.C. by Joe Ravi (source)

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld the Muslim Ban in a 5–4 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, made it clear that the court viewed the ability to regulate immigration as squarely within a president’s powers and he rejected critics’ claims of anti-Muslim bias.

“We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Roberts wrote.

After a series of federal court rulings invalidated or scaled back earlier versions of the travel ban, the decision is a big win for the administration and ends 15 months of legal battles over a key…


The Islamophobia of liberals may take a different form, but it ultimately follows similar reasoning to right-wing anti-Muslim sentiment and contributes to a system of violence.

With my co-panelists after moderating a discussion on headwrapping across different faith traditions. Taken at the 2017 Headwrap Expo in Dearborn, MI. (Image credit: Namira Islam)

Update (September 2018): This piece has been updated, peer-reviewed, and published in Religions Volume 9 Issue 9, which you can access for free at www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/9/9/280.

I was the fifth Muslim panelist to speak at a convening where dozens of people had gathered from across the country to discuss ways in which we could combat anti-Muslim hate.

I was the first to reference scripture.

During the Q&A and after heading back to my seat, the non-Muslim clergy in the room were enthusiastic to cite their own holy texts and build upon the conversation that my bringing up Qur’an had started.

I…


You don’t have to be white to constantly center whiteness. I’m not here for the “persuadables” — at least not in the traditional sense.

Attendees getting settled at the Detroit Anti-Racism Training (DART) in 2017 at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Picture credit: MuslimARC (Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative)/Harsha Nahata

As a lawyer, persuading people is what we get trained to do. On a personal level, I enjoy the art to making an argument — being able to apply creativity to concepts is what drew me to law school.

But as someone who grew up 1. neither white nor Black and 2. feeling alienated in Muslim community spaces for not being Arab or Pakistani, certain spaces are not where I want to prioritize my time.

My parents followed the patterns of white flight out of Detroit into the suburbs of Michigan when I was a toddler. In third grade, a…


‘How not to say the wrong thing’ applies to solidarity in racial justice work too

Image Description: This square image is on textured white background. The main illustration is of curved lines growing bigger from a central cartoon avatar of a faceless brown-skinned avatar of a woman whose hair is in a bun and is wearing a white shirt. Each curved line has avatars of people from different racial backgrounds on it and these “rings” grow bigger with more people on each line. The image has two arrows: one blue arrow says “comfort in” and points from an outer curved line to a smaller curved line. The other arrow starts on one line and points out. A caption provides steps to take for Modified Ring Theory for Allyship. Credit on the image is for @namirari @namiraesq.

Note (June 2021): this article has been updated to include a new graphic that visually shows Modified Silk Ring Theory for Allyship and has steps written out, which are included in the text below. -NIA

In early 2015, during my father’s battle with cancer, I came across this 2013 gem of an article by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman in the LA Times on “how not to say the wrong thing” to someone undergoing a medical crisis. They called it the “‘Ring Theory’ on kvetching” and mentioned that it’s applicable to many different forms of crises.

The article is short…


The presidential Cabinet serves as an advisory body to the President. Every leader should have a streamlined version of this as well.

“President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson).” Source: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2012/01/31/cabinet-meeting-focused-small-business

The Cabinet form of government began in Great Britain and has come to mean a group of heads of government departments who serve as advisers to the chief of state. In the U.S. System, the Cabinet is made up of the secretaries of the executive departments. As in so much about the presidency, George Washington started the tradition of regular group meetings of department heads. James Madison was the first president to call the group the Cabinet.

(This and other answers to FAQs about the presidential Cabinet here.)

Recently, I spoke on a panel and mentioned the concept of “centering…

Namira Islam Anani

Eldest daughter, chef wife, lawyer + graphic designer. Human rights education & training on race, disability, faith. Metro Detroit / مسلم / বাঙালি

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