In 2015, Coming of Faith turned from an outlet for Muslim women’s stories to a major digital media site where the world goes to hear the voices and stories of underrepresented women, churning out daily content on everything from tech to politics to food.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most popular posts we’ve shared with you this year.
Co-founder and creative director Shayan Farooq wrote a handy guide to understanding the backlash against the controversial “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave” T-shirts worn by the cast of Meryl Streep’s equally controversial historical drama “Suffragette.”
While the slogan “might sound revolutionary and badass to a white woman…it is insulting and exclusionary” to women of color, Shayan explains. By now, Streep and her crew have been widely criticized for this move, but the piece remains a good primer on white feminism and the perils of erasing women of color’s struggles and feminism.
Speaking of white feminism, let’s talk Taylor Swift. Remember the Swift-Minaj drama earlier this year? Swift has since apologized for her Grade A white feminist tweets on the VMA nominations, but former editorial fellow Caressa Wong wrote a thorough takedown of Swift claims that discussing racism and sexism in the music industry is “pitting women against each other.”
Oh, and if you’re craving some more controversial pop culture, here’s SaVonne Anderson’s latest on why accusing Minaj of being a rape apologist is lazy feminism.
Honestly, I’m exhausted of talking about and hearing about and reading about Donald Trump. But our traffic shows that you, apparently, are now. Here was our first piece on him, written in June by editorial fellow Erum Jaffrey right after he announced that he was running once again.
Unfortunately…well, at least one of the reasons is no longer true. Polls saying that he’s unfavorable among Republican voters? Ummm. I’ll let you live in your happy little bubble.
If you’re still craving Trump coverage, here was a massively popular post from November, rounding up hilarious and powerful responses to his call for Muslim ID cards.
Our former staffer Jillian Pikora, who studied at Athens Drive High School and UNC Chapel Hill with some of the victims, published a poignant collection of photos and memories from the friends of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha.
“She had that smile that is contagious, that forces you to smile with her and so did her other half, Deah,” remembered one of Yusor’s close friends. “[Yusor’s sister Razan] was also very close with Yusor. I never seen sisters so close. Maybe that is why Allah took her with her sister because she would not have been able to live happy again.”
The piece honored our three heroes by documenting the young victims’ legacy of love, a moment of warmth in a chilling time for all Muslim Americans.
In April, Mona Ghannoum compiled some tips on steering clear of cultural appropriation and staying the safe zone of cultural appreciation. It’s not rocket science: for instance, learning to speak or read a new language is appreciation. Getting an artsy tattoo of it without understanding the language? Not so much.
We’re still getting comments on it today, from “Don’t repeat history’s mistakes and stop degrading an ethnicity to a single stereotype,” to “Please write your next self righteous post to non-westerns.”
Speaking of cultural appropriation, Boston-based comic artist Sara Alfageeh created a succinct illustration of the issue with bindi appropriation. The same society that taunted young Hindu girls for their bindis and clothing and food now sees these same cultural relics as a way to get more Instagram likes. The comic, to no one’s surprise, was hugely popular on Tumblr.
In February, cofounder and creative director Shayan Farooq wrote a piece lambasting desi YouTube comedian Zaid Ali’s popular 2012 video “If you’re a Girl, WATCH THIS!”
The title alone is enough to make me twitch, but Shayan bravely takes us on a sentence-by-sentence tour of the rampant sexism and mansplaining within, from “Girls, I respect you and everything, but there’s one thing about you I don’t understand,” to “And then you say all guys want sex, but in general, it’s your fault.”
Unsurprisingly, the video has since been removed from YouTube.
“It baffles me why some of my black peers would put forth so much effort to squeeze their way into these parties, just to be forced into the middle of a circle of people when ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’ comes on,” race section writer Kassidi Jones wrote in early September.
In an important short essay about campus culture and white privelige, Jones discusses how some white frat parties use less than subtle tactics to refuse to let her and other people of color in, and why black students have created their own safe spaces as a result.
Former editorial fellow and current section writer Nidaa Mungloo‘s piece on the unrealistic representation of skin color in Bollywood – and what that means for both South Asian beauty standards and her own relationship with Bollywood movies – struck a chord with our readers.
“There is not a SINGLE leading actress in Bollywood today with dark skin,” Mungloo wrote in June. “…why should I, or any other brown-skinned person, continue to glorify an industry that demeans us, that tells us we’re not good enough simply because they said so?”
While vigilante hacker group Anonymous later announced that these names were an early release and the list was later corrected, Twitter went crazy over the possibility that two Congressmen and two mayors could be members of the KKK. CEO Laila Alawa wrote this piece up quickly when the names were put out, and was updating the editorial department all day as traffic multiplied. When we had 80 people on the site simultaneously reading this post, we could only cross our fingers and hope the site wouldn’t crash. All in all, this single story made up 9 percent of our site’s total traffic.
Remember the Super Bowl Jeep ad back in February? You may have also forgotten about the drama that erupted the moment Jeep showed a woman in a hijab, smiling as the American classic “This Land is Your Land” played poignantly in the background.
CEO Laila Alawa collected nine responses to that one scene that were so angry it was both depressing and hilarious. Look back and have a laugh.
You might also be interested in her massively popular roundup of #MuslimMeeting tweets that same month, reacting to a group of Muslim American leaders meeting with President Obama to discuss issues like the rise of anti-Muslim bigotry in America.
In a hilarious listicle, community editor Yasmeen Abdellatif took on America’s greatest Islamophobes with a satirical bite. “Muslims are taking over the world, and now they have their sights on destroying America,” Abdellatif declares. “Luckily, there are some brave Americans who won’t give this country up to Sharia law and halal hotdogs without a fight.”
What’s hilarious is that, despite the obvious sarcasm and the massive (and frankly unnecessary) disclaimer at the bottom, some people were still shocking offended by the piece. We get your good intentions, but really. C’mon, now.