Reflections on the MLT conference

Best. Weekend. Ever.

The cannoli I had in NYC. Yum!

The cannoli I had in NYC. Yum!

Despite the shuffling and confusion that goes along with conferences, this was by far the best one I’ve ever attended. The conference itself was a wonderful blend of different types of Muslims from differing political and religious viewpoints and endeavors. We talked about race, we talked about the future, and we talked about what Islam is for us.

I was dwarfed by the immensity of the work that many of the other MLTs are doing. Human rights, civil rights, women’s rights, film, the arts, etc. The words “incredible” just aren’t enough for these people.

Now, to the dishing and name-dropping! Forgive me if I leave out anyone—I met so many people this weekend that my mind can’t possibly remember everyone, and I have a feeling I didn’t get everyone’s contact information.

I finally met my AltMuslim/AltMuslimah pals Asma Uddin, Shahed Amanullah, al-Husein Madhany, Hussein Rashid, Zeba Iqbal, Haroon Moghul, Abbas Jaffer, and Jordan Robinson. Meeting these people, whom I literally correspond with every day, was marvelous. Putting faces and personalities to names always makes me happy. I also met some big names briefly: Mona El Tahawy, Reza Aslan, Irshad Manji, Kamran Pasha, Mazen Asbahi, and Shelina Zahra Janmohamed—names that I see on a regular basis, but haven’t previously made much contact with.

But I brushed the stars out of my eyes to hang with some incredible MLT people: Faisal Mirza, who is mobilizing Dutch Muslims online in an incredible way; Kauthar Umar, the director of New Muslim Cool, is doing incredible works in the arts; Famile Arslan, who is doing amazing human rights work; Zeenat Rahman, co-creator of The Hijabi Monologues; Asmaa Alariachi, who is bringing Muslim viewpoints to Dutch airways; Maria Ebrahimji, the editor of a forthcoming book about Muslim American women’s experiences (which you’ll hear more about later, because I’m in it) and an editorial producer for CNN; Sofia Latif, who works for Detroit’s Arab American community; Ayesha Mattu, a philanthropic consultant and an ethereal writer; Kamran Memon, who helps educate Muslims about their civil rights; the marvelous Azizah Kahera of Azizah magazine…and those are just a few of the amazing thinkers and doers I met this weekend.

And, after all the MLT madness was over, I got to meet more lovely faces! I met up with Racialicious peeps Latoya, Andrea Plaid, and Joseph Shahadi for a wonderful dinner (and a belated birthday hug for Andrea!) where we chatted about everything from race (duh) to the job market, and had a wonderful time. I regret only that the dinner was so short.

My time in NYC was amazing and has definitely shaped my outlook for the future. Watch for exciting changes as I attempt to live up to the MLT code.