Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves. 

(For The Record)

Jenan hated mortals. He sat there with his friends and shouted about how much he hated mortals, that Jenan. ‘Mortals suck,’ Jenan would say, 'they should all die.’ That Jenan, he and his mortal hating ways.
Omen wondered who could possibly be the recruiter for the anti-mortal group, while staring at that mortal hating Jenan.
—  Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection, probably.

Hundreds of thousands of people descended on the nation’s capital to attend the Women’s March. This is one participant’s story: Jenan Matari, a Muslim-American woman who co-founded the website Based in Hoboken, New Jersey, Jenan had been looking forward to the event for weeks. She invites Mic into her home to meet her family and share her concerns about a Trump presidency, and tells us why the march is something her and fiance won’t soon forget.

On Eid-al-Fitr, 10 young Muslim Americans share why they fearlessly celebrated Ramadan

Raihan Faroqui, 28
Third-year medical student — Brooklyn, New York

“My mind was blank sometimes. I think I tasted what it meant to be present this Ramadan; even if it’s just fleeting moments. My heart was heavy with the senseless deaths in Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka and Baghdad — it never seemed to end. I realize the importance of the moment. How precious life is now. How quickly things change. Ramadan gave me a bit of peace, but the world still stresses me out. But then I remember: ‘You’re too blessed to be stressed.’”

Agnieszka K, 26
Special Education Elementary Teacher, doctoral student — Chicago, Illinois

“I made it to a few iftars [meal after sunset], but chose the ones I attended wisely. It has been a really positive month for me in terms of reflection and focusing on self and community care.“

Mamoudou N'Diaye, 24
Comedian — Brooklyn, New York

“I make a joke in a lot of sets where I say I have to "come out as Muslim” to people, and I don’t think I’ve felt that naked and apprehensive since the early 2000s (mind you, I was a child back then). I rarely talk about being Muslim because I often talk about race (because that’s what people see first).

Ramadan was a time to clear my head and sit down and get closer with not only God, but my family, and even myself. After some thought during some solo iftars, I have recommitted myself to using personal experiences to inform audiences and friends about Islam and combatting Islamophobia one conversation, one show, one person at a time. I won’t let the narrative of radical Islam and ISIS be the story told about me or my brothers and sisters.“

Sarah Ahmed, 26
Patient Advocate, master of public health candidate — New York, New York

"I’ve felt so broken. I’ve fasted since I was 8 and this Ramadan has been my hardest. It’s been very difficult to navigate mourning, grief and despair; the world is just breaking my heart. How can a Jamaican, black, Pakistani, brown, first generation immigrant, three language speaker, femme, visible hijabi, woman, feel safe, survive or thrive with rampant xenophobic violence? The struggle for justice blossoms from immense love; love for dignity, equity and access in the truest sense. The love in activist spaces has filled me; my heart could burst, reminding me to dream wildly and boldly. Working out with my trainer while fasting has reminded me how strong, emotionally and physically, I am. It has been incredibly healing. Actually, I guess I am more grounded and renewed than I thought.”

Hishaam Siddiqi, 25
Marketing & Business Development Coordinator — Los Angeles, California

“Halfway into Ramadan, I came to realize why it is I loved this time of year so much: Having an entire month dedicated to reflecting on your spirituality teaches you a lot about yourself. Additionally, the communal spirit of Ramadan reminded me that many Muslims have highs and lows with their faith — and that I wasn’t alone.

Seeing my fellow Muslims in various countries attacked and killed during such a sacred time broke my heart, and increased the level of respect I have for my fellow Ummah [Muslim community] holding steadfast to their faith in times of great adversity.”

Jenan Matari, 25
Co-founder & CMO of MissMuslim — New York, New York

"As easy and wonderful Ramadan was for me this year, it was hard for me to enjoy it fully. This was one of the saddest Ramadans I’ve experienced. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much hatred toward Muslims in America before. At least not in my adult life — I was 11 on 9/11. Muslims are being shot and beaten while exiting mosques after prayer. Muslims are being brutally murdered around the world. A time that was supposed to be peaceful, free of violence and all about charity for Muslims, became such a bloody month in Islam. You’d think that people would finally realize that terror groups like ISIS carrying out these acts against real Muslims never actually represented Islam, but it has only fueled their hatred for us. It’s mind-numbingly painful to realize how little some of my fellow citizens care about the people of my faith. I never imagined being afraid of going to the mosque on Eid morning, but this year I am.”

Osama Shabaik, 27
Attorney/Restaurateur — San Diego, California

“In a world riddled with problems that don’t seem to get better, Ramadan gives me the courage to do better. The other day I prayed next to an older man whose arm was shaking as a result of Parkinson’s. Despite his justification in using a chair, the man did his best to stand for the entire two hours, inspiring me that regardless of the situation I can always try harder.”

Laila Alawa, 24: “It was the first Ramadan I called the police in fear for my life, the first Ramadan I felt completely alone and alienated …”
10 Twitter Accounts You Should Follow to Understand What's Happening in Iraq

RACHEL SHABI, journalist and author

Twitter: @RachShabi

For sharp and informed commentary on what’s happening in Iraq, look no further than award-winning journalist and author Rachel Shabi. She’s been monitoring and commenting on the situation in Iraq since before it came back on our radar.

HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, former Middle East correspondent

Twitter: @hadeelalsh

Al-Shalchi, who is now working for the International Rescue Committee, was a reporter for the Associated Press and Reuters. Her feed is the one to follow if you’re looking to be up-to-date on news, particularly in the realm of human rights. 

JENAN MOUSSA, reporter for Al-Aan TV

Twitter: @jenanmoussa

If there’s conflict in the Arab World, there’s probably a solid chance that Moussa will be there to cover it. Moussa is currently reporting from Iraq, and her tweets offer a glimpse into what is happening on the ground. 

See the rest