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Of the 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, 21% are converts to Islam.

And of those approximately 693,000 converts, one of them hopes to be the U.S.’s first Muslim senator.

Deedra Abboud has faced Islamophobic attacks since she first announced her plan to run against Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in 2017. Abboud says that while people throughout the state have been largely supportive, many questions she receives are about her faith rather than her proposed policies.


Abboud documents these interactions in the hopes of clearing up misconceptions about Muslim Americans.

All images courtesy of Deedra Abboud, used with permission.

Abboud says there are some questions regarding her beliefs that come up regularly.

In many cases, people are asking out of genuine confusion or an eagerness to learn more.

Here are answers to five common questions people ask Muslim Americans. Abboud hopes that speaking to these might help more people understand her faith — and the religion of many Americans — better.

1. “Why Islam?”

“The first thing I was told was that they [Muslims] were all going to hell because they didn’t believe in Jesus,” says Abboud, talking about what she was taught growing up in Arkansas. “Then when I went to university I saw a Middle Eastern exchange student so I was always trying to convert them to Christianity.”

Abboud remembers the Muslim students being patient with her. They explained their beliefs in a way she could understand. This led to her studying Islam extensively and her decision to ultimately convert when she moved to Arizona in 1998.

2. “How did people react to your conversion to Islam?”

“My mother was actually very supportive,” Abboud explains, adding that since she had studying Islam for years before converting, it wasn’t a surprise to most people close to her.

Her transition in the workplace, however, took time.

Abboud says that she would get ready for work in the mornings, remove her hijab (headscarf) in the parking lot when she got to work, then put it back on when she left for the day.

“The reason why I disclosed it was because I heard someone saying, ‘You know, Muslims want to kill all Americans,’” she says.

Islamaphobia is not new in America, and Abboud’s action is just one example of what Muslim Americans are doing every day to avoid persecution.

3. “Do you feel your decision to wear the hijab contradicts your stance as a feminist?”

“If a woman is forced to wear a piece of clothing, it’s oppression,” she explains, “and forcing a woman to wear something or forcing a woman to not wear something are equal on the oppression scale.”

Abboud continues:

“Saying that that this is a symbol of oppression is equivalent to people saying that a woman who wears a miniskirt is asking to be raped. Neither is truth. What I choose to wear in the morning is completely a personal choice.”

4. “But isn’t Islam oppressive to women?”

Abboud is quick to point out that oppression of women happens everywhere, regardless of religion. Her faith is not what mistreats or limits women — it’s other people who use faith as an excuse for their behavior.

“My dad beat my mom, and when she went to the church, they told her to be a better wife,” she says. “When she went to her dad, he told her to be a better wife. When she went to the police, they said be a better wife.”

Abboud explains that while there are some cultures in predominantly Muslim areas that are oppressive to women, many Muslim countries have elected women as their prime minister or president, including Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey. (Can you say the same about the U.S.?)

5. “You worked for CAIR — isn’t that a terrorist organization?”

CAIR, or the Council on American-Islam Relations, is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group that formed in 1994 as a reaction to negative depictions of Muslims in the media. Despite its status as a nonprofit, critics have accused CAIR of being a terrorist organization affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I just don’t understand,” Abboud says. “If it’s supposedly a terrorist organization, how it does it continue to have nonprofit status in several states and has survived every administration for the last almost 30 years?”

Abboud started the Arizona chapter of CAIR in 2001, shortly before 9/11.

Traveling for her campaign gives Abboud the chance to clear up misconceptions about Islam, but she’s happy when voters just want to talk about the issues.

“Most people actually do want to talk about things that matter,” she says, “you know, like not dying from poor health care, protecting the internet, basic freedom issues — things [that] actually affect their lives,” she says.

It’s a great shift and is evidence progress is being made, even if slowly.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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