2016 Events

Interested in my upcoming events? Visit HERE for more information.

Visit HERE for my most recent events and HERE for my January to June 2017 events.

 

Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew. Dec. 18, 2016
What a beautiful service, and so gracious of Rev. Karpin to ask me to be part of the celebration of the Fourth Sunday in Advent at a Service of Lessons and Carols. I read verses from the Quran from the chapter of Mary where the angel tells Mary that she will have a son, and the baby speaks from the cradle. The audience also got to hear the Arabic recital of a few verses. So many people said to me that they had no idea that Jesus's birth was mentioned in the Quran.

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Cordoba House Celebrates Prophet Muhammad's birthday. Dec. 11, 2016
There are moments in your life that are beyond precious. As I was reading to the children & parents, my granddaughter crept up to me, and wrapped her arms around my legs, resting her head. What was going through her innocent mind? Was she laying claim to her grandma?

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Islamic Center at New York University.  Dec. 6, 2016
"When did you come to the conclusion that it was ok to have a Christmas tree in the house?" Students braved the rain to make it to the book reading. Imam Khalid Latif was live streaming, and over 3,000 viewers tuned in.

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Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. Dec. 4, 2016
Over 400 Muslim and Jewish women came together in solidarity to affirm their commitment to fight against bigotry. "Who will register as a Muslim?" The hands of Jewish women went up. Daughters of Abraham prayed side-by-side, in their own tradition, to the God of Abraham. Read my blog

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Academy for Jewish Religion, Yonkers, N.Y. Nov. 30, 2016
My class: Rabbinical, Cantoral & Masters students. The topic: 'Immigrant Muslims in the U.S.' A tough question: How are you trying to bring the ultra-conservatives into mainstream?

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Center for Living and Learning. Nov. 16, 2016
'A Muslim Immigrant's Story', was the topic.  'Are you optimistic about the future, given the outcome of the election?', someone asked me. 'How can we engage with Muslims; I want to get to know a Muslim'.

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 With Judy Langer, CLL

With Judy Langer, CLL

Center for Living and Learning. Nov. 9, 2016
Quran, Shariah, women’s rights, suicide bombing, violence, polygamy, divorce…you name it, we talked about it. And of course, the ubiquitous ‘why aren’t the Muslims speaking out?’

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 With Luz Marina Diaz and Khalid

With Luz Marina Diaz and Khalid

St. Francis of Xavier Church. Nov. 6, 2016
The audience and I had so much fun during the book reading, and as always, it ended with a question: 'How can we help?' I am still getting email orders for books (we ran out). People want to give them out as gifts for the holidays.

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Gathering of Light Interspiritual Fellowship's 11th Annual Wellness Expo & Psychic Fair. Nov. 5, 2016
The highlight of the event was the services I attended just prior to the opening of the fair. Music, songs, hugs, and a spirit of fellowship. I walked in loaded with books, returned empty handed; but really, I had walked in rather empty in spirituality, and came back loaded.

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American University in Cairo, Oct. 31.
Kathleen Saville, an American who teaches at the University, read my book, assigned her students to read Chapter 1, & set up a Skype call for me to discuss the book with the class. The girls were lovely & so enthusiastic. Kathleen's memoir, 'Rowing for My Life: Two Oceans, Two Lives, One Journey,' comes out Feb. 2017 by Arcade, the same publisher as mine.

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 Faculty and students of Wagner College

Faculty and students of Wagner College

Wagner College, Staten Island. Nov. 2, 2016
Students of Autobiography wanted to know: what would the face of the future generations of Muslims be like, as in 'conservative', 'liberal', etc.  Reading assignment for class preparation: Threading My Prayer Rug.

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Muslim Leadership Training. Oct. 29, 2016
"What is Shariah?" 
I was asked this question at a recent book reading. I registered for this session to find my answer. Led by Imam Feisal A. Rauf (seated next to me), Dr. Jasser Auda, and Abed Awad, Esq., the students ranged from imams, community leaders, doctors, activists, and counselers.

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New York Library. Oct. 26, 2016
To my surprise, the room filled up with young Pakistani women, lovely-all of them, and none of them known to me. We clustered afterwards; they all live in the neighborhood, one of them had read the book and mobilized the others to come. Turned out, their children go to the same Sunday School as my granddaughter, Asha. Behind me in the photo is Barbara Donsky, author of Veronica's Grave.

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Al-Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk, Connecticut. Oct. 22, 2016
This was my first book reading in a mosque, and my first booking. Zeba Iqbal, our gracious host, had put this event on my calendar way back in June, well before the book was published. This beautiful mosque is a former church - you can tell.

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Beacon Hebrew Alliance. Oct 19, 2016
It was the Sukkah festival, and Rabbi Brent Spodek invited me for a book reading. The Rabbi and my son Asim were in class-mates in middle school. I loved it when a woman asked: why are the daughters of Pakistani immigrants wearing white at their wedding, & why not the Pakistani red; wouldn't life be so much more colorful if we held onto the traditions of the old country? She has a point.

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The Transition Network. Oct. 19. 2016
A lovely gathering of ladies in a beautiful setting on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. One of the ladies, a teacher, made my day when she stressed the need to include Islam in the school curriculum. "It has to start at the grade school level..." she emphasized. I couldn't agree more.

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Bergen County Community College, New Jersey. Oct. 1, 2016
In preparation for this session, the instructor, Ilene Singh, had given the students of the Writing Class a reading assignment: two chapters from my memoir. I spoke to them about the process and techniques for memoir writing. In this photo, Ilene is standingby my side, as she always had.

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JCC Staten Island. Sept. 29, 2016
What a spirited discussion! In this safe space, the audience voiced all they had on their minds: sharia law, the silent majority, role of American Muslims, Pakistan. . . .  
We need more forums like these, and more heart-to-heart dialogue.

Horizon House. Sept. 22, 2016
We ended up sharing our stories in what was supposed to be a Q&A.
Hands raised, "I had the exact same experience...let me tell you."
We were comparing Pakistani culture with American culture.

Flushing Interfaith Council & Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Queens. Sept. 20, 2016
Pick a faith and they were there. Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu . . . did I say Muslim?  
Q: Why the title 'Threading My Prayer Rug'? [I won't give it away].

September 12. Eid ul Adha at Cordoba House
A children-centered celebration of Eid ul Adha, with prayer, a chidren's sermon, music, story time, arts & crafts,  and of course food. I read a story of Eid and Sunday School from my memoir.

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Faith Not Fear. Middle Collegiate Church. September 11, 2016
The 15th anniversary of 9/11 came in tandem with the days of celebration of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. In the midst of a polarizing election, multi-religious communities (and those of no religion) came together in peace and unity for solemn remembrance of 9/11, education about Eid, and hope in the ultimate triumph of radical love. The event was held in partnership with TRIBE, Middle Collegiate Church & Intersections International.
It was an event of unique memorial of music and song, wisdom from diverse traditions, and a time of reflection together in a safe and inclusive space.

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Watchung Booksellers - September 8, 2016
A book reading or a reunion of University Hospital-UMDNJ of the 20th century? We were colleagues in the 1990s, we went our separate ways, then retired, and yesterday we all came together, friends forever.

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ISNA Convention - Meet the Author. Sept. 4, 2016
During Q&A after my book reading, a woman dressed in a Pakistani outfit raised her hand. 'I just recognized the author. I knew her as Sabeeha Akbar from the College of Home Economics in Lahore. I was a year senior to her.' Oh my God! Picture the hugs and teary eyes that followed. The last time we met was in 1969. And she recognized me! She is as beautiful as she always was.
And if that wasn't good enough, see who I else I met.

 Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan

 Ghazala Khan

Ghazala Khan

 Linda Sarsour & my husband Khalid

Linda Sarsour & my husband Khalid

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 John Fuller, Kinokuniya, welcomes the audience

John Fuller, Kinokuniya, welcomes the audience

Kinokuniya Book Store. August 27, 2016
After I had finished reading, a beautiful Chinese lady in the audience stood up and said, '. . . What you just read about the Pakistani culture, is so similar to the Chinese culture. We also say 'no' when offered something to drink; and when given a compliment, modesty requires that we deny it, so that whenever someone said to my father, 'your daughter is beautiful', he would say 'no she isn't'.  This lady happened to have been crowned Miss China. How about that!  Watch Video

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 Diane Matyas (S.I. Museum), Cheryl Adolph (CEO & President, Staten Island Museum), Yours Truly, Debra Feaser (Edward Jones), and Amanda Stranieri (S.I. Museum)

Diane Matyas (S.I. Museum), Cheryl Adolph (CEO & President, Staten Island Museum), Yours Truly, Debra Feaser (Edward Jones), and Amanda Stranieri (S.I. Museum)

August 14, 2016.  Staten Island Museum
"How long did it take you to write the book?"
This question from a young boy in the audience. While the adults asked questions about Islam, Muslims, and arranged marriages, this young boy wanted to know the nuts and bolts of writing a book. Pretty impressive, won't you say!
In the auditorium of this beautiful museum, over 80 people congregated on a hot Sunday afternoon (it was cool inside) for a book reading, later munching on samosas and kebobs, courtesy of Debra Feaser, Edward Jones.
"How many times did your parents say 'no' before saying 'yes' to your marriage proposal?" asked another member.  I won't give away the answer. Come to my next book reading.

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July 15, 2016. Chautauqua Institution
Why should children be left behind! At a book reading hosted by Cordoba House in their charming living room setting, Sofia Noor and Isa get their very own copy signed by auntie Sabeeha.


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July 10 & 17, 2016.  Chautauqua Institution
At Open Mic, sponsored by the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends (CLAF), a woman sitting next to me asks, 'Where are you from?' Never mind that I never got used to being asked this question, it turns out that she had traveled to Pakistan in the 1960s when she was with the Peace Corp, and had navigated her way from Karachi to Khyber Pass. Meet Keekee Minor, author of 'A Minor Odyssey'.

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July 21, 2016. Chautauqua Institution
When our fellow house guests could not get into our seminars on Islam 101, our landlady Olivia, offered to host a class in her living room. She even served drinks and refreshments. Check out the Englewood guest house. Olivia is the best host ever.

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 Booksigning following the Islam 101 lecture series

Booksigning following the Islam 101 lecture series

 Chautauqua Bookstore.  A neat place to hang out.

Chautauqua Bookstore.  A neat place to hang out.

July 22, 2016. Chautauqua Institution
'Shari'ah' was the topic for the day on the last of the Islam 101: Being Muslim in America Series. By the time the five day sessions had ended, we had made over a 100 friends and continue to receive emails from them. Another nice outcome: a gentleman stopped us on our walk to say, 'congratulations, your book is sold-out at the bookstore.' That is always good news for an author's debut book.

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 Maureen Rovegno, Assoc. Director Religion Department, introducing Khalid and me

Maureen Rovegno, Assoc. Director Religion Department, introducing Khalid and me

July 21, 2016.  Chautauqua Institution
'Shia-Sunni divide' was our lecture for that day, the 4th in a series of Islam 101: Being Muslim in America. My father was a Shia, my mother a Sunni. What does that make me? A Sushi?
Always reserve equal time for Q&A. Its the best part. And this was such an enlightened audience with an inquisitive mind.

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July 20, 2016. Chautauqua Institution
Our husband-and-wife lecture on 'Women in Islam' , the third in the Islam 101: Being Muslim in America series, drew the longest waiting line. People started lining lining up one hour prior, elderly with walking sticks and in walkers, waited out in the scorching heat. This is Chautauqua. I am amazed at the thirst for learning. Another 60 had to be turned away. 'What can I do to help the Muslims?' a minister in the audience asked. This is what I had wanted to hear. Now we have friends. But feeling badly for all those who couldn't get in.

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July 19, 2016. Chautauqua Institution
Not wanting to be turned away, people started lining up 30 minutes prior to our lecture on Islam 101: Being Muslim in America. The organizer had to turn away 60 people. Being a victim of success means feeling really bad about all those who couldn't get a seat. Today's lecture: Family Life in Islam.

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July 18, 2016. Chautauqua Institution
Expecting about a dozen or so size audience, my husband Khalid and I walked into a packed room for our lecture, 'Islam 101: Being Muslim in America.'  Sadly, 30 people could not get in. I should not have been surprised at the turnout. THIS is the Chautauqua spirit. An intense yearning to learn. Lesson #1: The Quran.

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July 19, 2016.   Chautauqua Institution
Bring five copies of one page of poetry or prose, and enjoy reading and listening to your fellow writers.  Informal Critique Session sponsored by the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends (CLAF), and moderated by the lovely Janay Cosner, a poet herself. Look out for her collection, Dancing with Breast Cancer, coming soon.

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July 14, 2016. Chautauqua Institution
Making friends is the nicest part of doing a book reading. Here at Chautauqua Institution, in the Author's Alcove sponsored by the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends (CLAF), we concluded by setting up lunch dates, a walk in the plaza dates, coffee dates - just to continue the conversation. "Are there still arranged marriages in Pakistan?" one of the gentlemen in the audience asked. Want an answer? Come to my next book reading.

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 Introduction by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Introduction by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

July 6, 2016. The Corner Bookstore
For a first-time author to have standing room only at her first book reading, is what they say 'dreams are made of'. Yes, its a cliche', but its so true. That is what family and friends are for - to cheer you on, when you make your debut. Who was happier? I or The Corner Bookstore, who had a larger turn-out than expected, with bigger sales than expected, and that too on Eid day and a July 4 week? My heartfelt thanks to all who came to cheer me on my big day. 

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 Memoir Panel with Prof. Sidney Offit and Daphne Merkin

Memoir Panel with Prof. Sidney Offit and Daphne Merkin

June 11, 2016.  Hunter College
The Summer Symposium at Hunter College's The Writing Center is always a treat, a great opportunity to learn and make friends. It was more so this year when I got to be a panelist on the Memoir Panel.

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 With Dave Bigge, and Rev. Julia Jarvis

With Dave Bigge, and Rev. Julia Jarvis

May 15, 2016IFFP
Interfaith Families Project of the Greater Washington DC area (IFFP) had invited me to speak on "Being Muslim in America"  'How can we help?' is the question they kept asking me. Such a welcoming group. Makes me want to go back again. www.iffp.net Check them out.

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May 1, 2016.  Church of St. Francis Xavier
It was a beautiful rendering of an interfaith service of mercy at Church of St. Francis Xavier, New York City. Reading from the scriptures, lighting candles, and some beautiful dance performances, eliciting the spirituality of mercy. Speakers of various faiths, offered the same message, and each in a unique and moving manner and style. A beautiful playing of the Tibetan horn.
See flyer for details

Interested in my upcoming events? Visit HERE for more information.

Visit HERE for my most recent events and HERE for my January to June 2017 events.