Editor's note: Ayesha Mattu, an international development consultant, and Nura Maznavi, an attorney, are the co-editors of "Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women."
By Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, Special to CNN
(CNN) - A lot has been written about Muslim women, but very little of it has been written by Muslim women ourselves.
The sensational stories — child brides, forced marriages, honor killings — always get the headlines, but nowhere do we see the stories of the independent, opinionated and hilarious Muslim women we know.
We decided to change that.
Starting five years ago, we asked fellow American Muslim women to share their stories of searching for love. We chose the topic because love is a deeply intimate yet universal emotion — and one not usually associated with Muslims.
We received 200 submissions in response to our call for stories, which we broadcast via social media and email.
Twenty five of the best submissions form our new book, “Love InshAllah,” which means “God willing” in Arabic and expresses the idea that it’s only through the will of God that we attain what we seek in life.
Taken together, the stories offer a portrait of the millions of Muslims in America, which represents the most diverse Muslim community on the planet. It includes families whose roots go back to the founding of our nation and immigrants from every country imaginable.
While compiling the book, we ran head-on into lots of myths about the love lives of American Muslim women. Here are the top 5:
Editor's Note: Sheryl Lee Ralph is a Tony award nominee for her work in the original case of Dreamgirls on Broadway. She has appeared in TV and films alongside stars such as Denzel Washington, Robert DeNiro, Whoopi Goldberg and Eddie Murphy. She is founding director of The DIVA Foundation and author of an upcoming book "Redefining DIVA," which will be released next month.
By Sheryl Lee Ralph, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Like so many others, I was stunned into shocked silence when I was told of Whitney Houston’s death. I thought about Whitney and her battles with music and misery over the years. She was so very different from when I saw her for the first time back in 1981 and said to myself, ‘oh my, that’s a “Dream”!’
I was on Broadway at the time making my mark playing Deena Jones in the original cast of Dreamgirls. We were a hit, a bonafide smash. Night after night at the Imperial Theatre, we ended every show with the kind of applause that brought people to their feet. But just up the street in a club called Sweet Water, there was a teenager doing the same thing: her name was Whitney Houston. She was as fresh and as fabulous as we were, a real life Dreamgirl who was also giving audiences moments they would never forget. I know I will never forget how in that little club, sitting with my Dreamgirls co-star Loretta Devine, we both thought, ‘Wow, this girl is the real deal.’ But just as fame came calling on us, it came for Whitney too, and it wasn’t always nice.
Everybody wants Fame, but Fame is a very difficult friend to keep. It can be like a jealous lover who wants you all to himself and when threatened, will beat you up, ruin your good looks, tear down your self-esteem and even kill you. In order to call Fame your friend, you have to have it all together. You have to be ultra-strong, solid to the core and know that God is good. Fame will build you up just to crush you down. You have got to have faith along with fame. You have got to know who you are or Fame will take you out. We have seen it happen over and over: Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse. FULL POST
Editor's note: Ken Tanabe is the founder and president of Loving Day, an international, annual celebration that aims to build multicultural community and fight racial prejudice through education. He is a speaker on multiracial identity, community organizing, and social change through design.
By Ken Tanabe, Special to CNN
(CNN) – When President Barack Obama’s parents were married, interracial marriage was illegal in 22 states.
In 1967, six years later, Loving v. Virginia, a Supreme Court decision with a memorable name, legalized marriage between those of different races.
The Loving decision is perhaps the most forgotten milestone in civil rights history.
But that may soon change.
Tonight, “The Loving Story” will have its broadcast premiere on HBO.
And for the last eight years, I have led an annual celebration to share and celebrate the Lovings' story.
Don Lemon anchors CNN Newsroom during weekend prime-time and serves as a correspondent across CNN's U.S. programming. He is the author of the memoir "Transparent." He recently took part in iReport's "I Am America" series, when he talked about growing up in Louisiana and wanting to change the face of broadcast news.
What makes you American? Check out Don's story and submit your own "I Am America" story on iReport.
Editor's note: Stephanie Coontz teaches family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and co-chairs the Council on Contemporary Families. Her most recent book is A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and AmericanWomen at the Dawn of the 1960s (BasicBooks).
By Stephanie Coontz, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is unhappy with last week's compromise over whether Catholic institutions should be required to cover contraception for their employees, arguing that birth control "shouldn't be covered by insurance at all." The issue, Santorum claims, is "economic liberty."But in the past he has made his real objection clear, categorizing contraception as "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."
Taken together with statements Santorum made in his 2005 book, "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good," his opposition to contraception (as well as to abortion, even in the case of rape) seems part and parcel of a deep hostility toward efforts to empower women and enhance their status. He has shown nothing but contempt for what his book called the "radical" feminist "pitch" that "men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace." So perhaps it's not surprising that at the time of publication he did not list his wife as a co-author or contributor, although when asked last week about this and other comments on working mothers, he now says his wife wrote that part of the book.
Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.
Jeremy Lin: 'I'm thinking about how can I trust God more' – San Jose Mercury News
Pew Research Center: Latinos to be 74% of growth in U.S. labor force through 2020 - UPI.com
How California Attorney General Kamala Harris secured foreclosure deal – The New York Times
The 'Loving' story that changed history – The Washington Post
Ladies likely to tweet twice as much about Valentine's Day as guys - The Los Angeles Times
Editor's Note: Jeff Yang writes the column Tao Jones for the Wall Street Journal Online, is a regular contributor to WNYC radio, blogging for "The Brian Lehrer Show", and appears weekly on "The Takeaway". He formerly wrote the "Asian Pop" column for the San Francisco Chronicle and was founder and publisher of A magazine. He tweets @originalspin.
By Jeff Yang, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Last Friday, Jeremy Lin – the Knicks’ sensational out-of-nowhere superstar – finally sealed the deal.
Despite his record as one of the most exciting talents to come out of the Bay Area in years, leading Palo Alto High to a stunning 32-1 record in his senior prep year, he was recruited by none of the top basketball schools, finally opting to attend Harvard University after being offered a guaranteed spot on their team.
He subsequently dominated the Ivy League, and put up numbers in his senior year that should have gotten any NBA scout excited, becoming the only player in the NCAA’s Division 1 to rank in the top 10 in virtually every performance category.
And yet Lin went undrafted, finally accepting an offer of a deep backup slot on his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors – who gave him a handful of garbage minutes, shuffling him back and forth between the bench and the NBA’s development league, before finally releasing him in December.
The Houston Rockets, who’d lost center Yao Ming to retirement the previous season, briefly picked up Lin as a potential ploy to retain their substantial Asian fanbase, but dropped him a few weeks later – on Christmas Eve.
Editor's note: Courtney E. Martin is the author of "Perfect Girls, Starving: How Perfection is Harming Young Women," and Katie Orenstein is the founder and CEO of The Op-Ed Project.
By Courtney E. Martin and Katie Orenstein, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Facebook's decision to file for public status last week means its No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, might be worth as much as $1.6 billion. According to Forbes, that would catapult her just below the seemingly untouchable Oprah in the ranking of the richest self-made women. She won't have much company: Only 7.5% of the major earners at America's Fortune 500 companies are female.
The many media profiles of Sandberg all seem to be asking the same question: How did Sheryl do it? How did she get the confidence to perform so well at such a high level?