Muslim Americans poll released by the Gallup Center

August 8th, 2011  / Author: Burqa

The Gallup poll reveals that American Muslims feel loyalty to the U.S.   Al Jazeera Interview

The 5 Truths About Relationships (That No One Ever Tells You)

August 3rd, 2011  / Author: Burqa

Have you ever dated someone you thought was bat$#!% crazy or drove you absolutely nuts?  Melissa Lafsky has written a hilarious piece in the Huffington Post about the real stuff relationships are made of.  Read it here and share your thoughts.

Allah, Liberty and Love – the courage to reconcile faith and freedom

July 24th, 2011  / Author: Burqa

Irshad Manji

What a great read.

Deepak Chopra said of Allah, Liberty and Love, ” When we realize that liberty and love, meaning and purpose are more sacred than ideology and dogma, our religion and spirituality will come of age.”

I highly recommend this book for anyone questioning dogma, yet wanting to keep faith.  It is a great guide to how can each of us embark on a personal journey toward moral courage – the willingness to speak up when everybody else wants to shut you up.

The Beauty of Artificial Virginity

July 23rd, 2011  / Author: Burqa

I would love to hear your thoughts on this article about fake virginity.

If you’re a woman in a conservative Muslim country, you had better bleed on your wedding night. If you don’t, your husband or his family will know you aren’t a virgin. For that, you could be beaten or killed.

If you’re a man, on the other hand, all you have to do on your wedding night is ejaculate. Nobody expects you to bleed or produce any other proof of virginity.  Read more here

Spiritual Quote of the Day

June 8th, 2010  / Author: Burqa

There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness.  That realization is true forgiveness.  With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges — the power of Presence.  Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light — Eckhart Tolle

Unity Through Entertainment

May 27th, 2010  / Author: Burqa

Watch Beauty and the East’s Coverage of the Arab American Comedy Festival.

There is some seriously funny stuff here.  I applaud the comedians and the organizers for putting the show together in this polarized political environment where everyone takes themselves way too seriously.  Sometimes the best way to connect people is through comedy and to show the commonality in all of us.  Enjoy!

Burqa & Stilettos Spiritual Quote of the Day

May 19th, 2010  / Author: Burqa

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

There Is No Warmth In Unwanted Touch

May 3rd, 2010  / Author: Burqa

Prologue (From As It Comes)

By Cecelia Falls – Writer and Poet

There is no warmth in unwanted touch.  Flesh doesn’t rise to meet flesh, to greet warmly with small hairs standing up, reaching out eagerly.  Unwanted touch is cold and foreign, hard and abrasive like sandpaper, like bones, like death.

I am in the tub.  I can see myself from the corner of the ceiling.  The smallness of me.  My color the only color in the big white room.  My hair damp and tight and I am smiling.  No, I am not.  I am not smiling.  But I should be.  I love the water.  But I am not smiling.

I already know to keep my legs closed tight—my thigh muscles flexed.  I am not smiling.  I am waiting for him.  Waiting for him to bend down and fall to his knees.  Waiting for his dry hand to touch my shoulders.  Cold.  I cannot see him.  My head is down or up and eyes straight ahead.  I cannot see him.  I will not feel him pry my legs apart with his dry cold hand.  It is easy for him—one hand.  I feel his bones, dry and hard underwater.  He is between my legs and then inside me and I cannot see him.  I can only feel his bones.  He is hurting me.

I hear his breathing.  Small pants like a dog after a quick run.  Like a dog waiting for a treat.  I hear him.  His fingers hurt, but I won’t feel him.  His breath comes faster, so eager, like a dog.  And then he stops, each breath slowing.  My legs come together tighter, so tight and then there is nothing until I hear the door close.

I hear myself sing softly.  I see my hands spread flat and open.  I see them smack the water and then there is water everywhere and I am shouting and splashing and singing so loud.  And then she comes in.  She is exasperated, her breathing fast and shallow.

“Look at this mess you’ve made!  Get out of that tub, now!”

She reaches for me.  I feel her grab my arm, almost flinging me from the tub to the tile, white and cold.  The towel wraps quickly around me but I can still feel her fingers digging hard into my arm even though she is now drying me, only mildly upset at the water everywhere.

I think she is jealous, misreading my display as childhood freedom, self-expression, fun.  So she smiles at me.

“I can’t believe you made such a mess.”

I can feel her fingers in my arm though she has walked away and I stand alone, wrapped in the towel, the floor wet.

She returns with a mop.

“Go to your room”.

I do this.  I put on the pajamas she has laid out for me on the bed.  I get into the bed, rubbing my arm where I still feel her fingers.  I hear her sigh loudly.

“There is always a new mess.”

She is more correct than she knows.

Relationship Red Flags – Know When to Run and Not Look Back

April 15th, 2010  / Author: Burqa

Today, Oprah, on her show had security expert Gavin de Becker speaking about domestic abuse and violence.   He spoke about the  four signs that are often missed. Still, he says these are not the only signs a relationship may become violent. For a full assessment, please take Gavin’s MOSAIC test.

Bumps and bruises aren’t the only surefire signs you or someone you love is in a dangerous relationship. In fact, if your gut tells you something is wrong, it probably is.

Physical Violence
Many consider pushing or hitting a major clue that your partner is capable of violence—but Gavin says it’s more than that. “It is the end of the mystery. Being hit is conclusive. It’s over. The assessment is done,” he says. “Being hit doesn’t work in relationships, and it usually doesn’t get better.”

Symbolic Violence
Symbolic violence is the destruction of objects to intimidate the other person. ” The destruction of tearing up wedding pictures. You come home and the wedding gown is torn up,” he says. “[If someone throws] a television out a window, the message is, ‘I can throw you out the window.’”

Fast-Paced Relationships
If you think you could be in a dangerous relationship, look back at when the other person began discussing marriage, moving in together and having children. “When the pace is accelerated like that in the beginning, that is itself a control strategy,” he says. “And women feel uncomfortable and they’ll tell you: ‘Yeah, I felt it was a little bit fast, but what could I do? He loved me so much.’”

If he won’t take no for an answer, it’s not because he’s smitten. “Anybody who doesn’t hear the word no is trying to control you,” Gavin says. “Persistence does not mean you are special. Persistence means he is troubled.”

Gavin says the word “no” is different for men and women. “When a man says no, it is the end of a discussion. When a woman says no, it is the beginning of a negotiation,” he says. “A woman who buckles there … is likely to buckle again and again and again. And he learns when you say no you don’t mean no.”

Gavin says some women misinterpret persistence as flattery. “What do most women do with persistence is they say: ‘Well, he calls me so often. He writes to me so often. He’s always talking about me. He’s always getting me gifts,’” he says. “Gifts like a car that he owns, he controls—he’s got the navigation system on. Gifts like a phone [so] that he can tell where you are, that he can always reach you.”

Need help? Visit or call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE

From The Oprah Winfrey Show Stay Alive” Expert Gavin de Becker Unveils the New Tool to Keep You Safe

How To Date A Feminist (aka A Modern Day Woman)

March 30th, 2010  / Author: Burqa

By Minal Bopaiah from Brevity and Wit

I recently read an eHow article titledHow to Date a Feminist” and I have to say, it’s probably the worst How-to article I’ve ever read, mainly because I wouldn’t follow their steps to date a feminist and I am one! So here’s my suggested How-to guide to dating a feminist:

1. Don’t assume that because she’s a feminist she either hates men or is trying to be like one. Instead, ask her what that term means to her. You’ll get to know her and she’ll think you’re smart for asking.

2. On the first date, avoid misogynistic humor. This usually entails not repeating anything from a Vince Vaughn movie. Or your ideas for a Vince Vaughn movie. Don’t worry–eventually you can probably get her to watch Wedding Crashers with you (although I can’t guarantee she’ll enjoy it), but don’t expect that to win her over on the first date.

3. If she mentions working for women’s rights in any way, do not disparage her efforts. Be open to seeing her perspective, even if you respectfully disagree. The key word here is respectfully. While you may think that date rape statistics are inflated, commenting that she works with liars if she’s a rape crisis counselor is not respectful (this is a true story that happened to me).

4. Read an article about women’s issues. Just one. Really, one is enough to open your eyes. It can be about anything, and chances are, there’s probably some way women’s issues combines with your profession, even if you’re in finance or construction. Plus, by reading one article, it’ll give you good date talk.

5. While I wouldn’t expect any guy to read the entire syllabus from a women’s studies course (even I skipped out on some of those readings), it may behoove you to think about what you would put on a men studies course. The greatest shame in college campuses nowadays is that women are challenged to think about their roles in the world and how to break out of stereotypes while men are not. Tell her that and it may get you some points.

6. Support her career aspirations. No wise woman is going to be all about her career. Most of them just want to enjoy family and career the way men have been for years. But being a supportive man who thinks about her career strategically and gives her sound counsel makes you a true catch and can also lead to some really great intellectual foreplay.

7. Support her personal growth. This is just sound relationship advice and not specific to feminists, or women for that matter. The key is not to be self-absorbed and to understand that there are just as many women as men aspiring for greatness–help her be the better version of yourself and she’ll probably help you do the same.

Now the only trick in all this is paying the bill. I still have no idea what the rules are on that one, and even my own preferences change. I always offer because I don’t think men should always pay, but I also think more highly of the guy who argues a bit to pay for me, not out of some antiquated notion of gender roles, but just out of kindness, the way my friend Jenna and I argued about the bill today. But that’s me. I know other feminists differ on this. The one thing I do know is that a feminist is unlikely to be the type of woman who puts out on the third date simply because you paid for 3 dinners–you’re going to have to work a bit harder than that.

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