BALTIMORE —Another phone call had come from a desperate Muslim woman living in a distant state, searching for the lady draped in lavender known simply as Sister Asma.
As the founder of Muslimat Al-Nisaa, the only known shelter in the country that exclusively serves Muslim women, Hanif has devoted nearly a decade of her life to providing safety and stability for women in a place where they could comfortably practice their faith.
But she had focused so fully on giving comfort to strangers that she had neglected to care for her mother. Back in Hanif’s home town in North Carolina, the 83-year-old woman had slipped into dementia and was dying in a hospital. Hanif, who had no income and no home of her own, didn’t know how or where she would tend to her.
An op-ed by Asma Hanif in the Khaleej Times examines some of the challenges faced by Muslims in Belgium, particularly youth, who feel that a wide gap exists between their world at home and their daily life at school. Hanif suggests that this challenge stems from a conflict between preservation of cultural and religious identities on one end, and a call for integration on the other – creating a polarized tug of war, that is experienced as real. Hanif stresses that the situation of Muslims in Belgium is directly connected to the not so distant past, with immigrants coming to work in the country answering labor calls. As ethnic minorities resided in economically low-end neighborhoods, the living patterns of their forefathers are evident today – but as neighborhood resources and institutions like banks and post offices left, economically lagging ghettos remain. More from Asma Hanif can be found at the link below.