Check out these 2 delightfully patriotic, unapologetically Muslim magazine covers.

Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali is the face of the latest issue of GQ magazine.

And trailblazing model Halima Aden graces the cover of Allure's July 2017 issue.

Ali and Aden are being celebrated by both publications as pinnacles of American success.

GQ chose to honor Ali with the magazine's "American issue," according to GQ writer, Mark Anthony Green.

Allure, meanwhile, deemed Aden the "destroyer of stereotypes" and proclaimed her front cover look — a head scarf, with everything red, white, and blue — as "American beauty" at its finest.


Both Ali and Aden are Muslim, and their all-American covers couldn't have arrived at a better time.

Because to too many Americans, being Muslim and American aren't identities that can go hand in hand.

Muslims gather in New York City to pray and demonstrate after a community member was shot outside a mosque in 2016. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

In general, Americans have dramatically skewed perceptions of Islam, which have carved deep cultural divides across the country.

A Pew Research study conducted this year found Americans view Islam more negatively than every other major world religion (and atheism). A survey from 2015 found the majority of Americans believe Muslim values are "at odds" with American ones. These fear-driven attitudes have culminated in wildly inaccurate perceptions of the U.S. Muslim population, which stands at just over 3 million — Americans think that figure is closer to a whopping 54 million.

Polarizing, Islamophobic positions correlate strongly with alarming increases in hate crimes targeting American Muslims, too.

Earlier this week, two horrific incidents affected Islamic communities in the West: A 17-year-old Muslim girl was murdered after leaving a prayer session in Virginia, and a man in a van ran over several people leaving a mosque in north London, screaming, "I want to kill all Muslims," as he plowed through.

We have to do better. And — believe it or not — doing better truly can start with the magazine covers we see in the checkout aisle.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Can two magazines alone really stomp out Islamophobia? Of course not. But seeing Ali and Aden — trailblazers with many of the same dreams, values, and inspirations as any other American — helps in making a vital point to readers everywhere: Muslims in the U.S. are just as American as anyone else.

"I sincerely believe we have the capacity to actually make this country great," an optimistic Ali explained about overcoming injustice in his GQ interview. "There are enough people, there are enough believers out there, there are enough intelligent, empathetic souls out there that want good for the whole."

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Working parents have always had the challenge of juggling career and kids. But during the pandemic, that juggling act feels like a full-on, three-ring circus performance, complete with clowns and rings of fire and flying elephants.

With millions of kids doing virtual learning, our routines and home lives have taken a dramatic shift. Some parents are trying to navigate working from home at the same time, some are trying to figure out who's going to watch over their kids while they work outside the home, and some are scrambling to find a new job because theirs got eliminated due to the pandemic. In addition to the logistical challenges, parents also have to deal with the emotional ups and downs of their kids, who are also dealing with an uncertain and altered reality, while also managing their own existential dread.

It's a whole freaking lot right now, honestly.

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via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

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Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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