Khaled A. Beydoun

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Morocco's Hakim Ziyech, foreground, fights for the ball with Portugal's Ruben Dias during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Morocco and Portugal, at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. Petr David Josek/AP

History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history”, wrote James Baldwin in a world that branded his Blackness as inhuman.

On Wednesday, on a field in the middle of the Middle East and on the edge of history, Morocco will embody history for itself as the first African and Arab nation to make it to the World Cup semifinals since the tournament began in 1930. Morocco’s national soccer team will face off against France, defending champion and former colonial power.

France is favored to win this match, but more importantly, a globe of people who see themselves in their players in between the boundaries of Africa and beyond the outstretched arms of the formerly colonized world will see a team announcing, fearlessly and faithfully, that we are not your inferiors.…  Seguir leyendo »

Morocco has reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup, only the fourth African nation and first Arab country to do so. They next play Portugal on Saturday. Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

Those moments unwritten from the pages of history are often simply missing a stage. But for the Moroccan team taking to the field in Qatar to face off against heavily favored Spain on Tuesday, a new kind of stage was being set. The biggest football tournament, the FIFA World Cup, was unfolding in the heart of a Muslim nation. And authors adorned in red jerseys were primed to pen history with their feet instead of their hands.

It was a spiritual scene inside the stadium at Education City, Qatar. Moroccan fans whistled incessantly when Spain took possession of the ball, then erupted with deafening roars when their Atlas Lions reclaimed it.…  Seguir leyendo »

A member of a family that fled war in Syria and relocated to Michigan. Credit Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

Dearborn, Mich., is the capital of Muslim America, and it is never more vibrant than during the holy month of Ramadan, which comes to an end this week. Authentic Yemeni cafes are packed with customers into the early-morning hours, colorful rows of desserts are displayed in Lebanese and Palestinian sweet shops, and the tables at private iftars — the traditional dinners where Muslims end their daily fast — overflow each evening with an abundance of food.

Here, as in many communities where Muslim Americans have climbed from the economic perils that can accompany immigrant status to the relative comforts of the ranks of the working class, the bounty of the evening and early morning provide a welcome juxtaposition to Ramadan’s daily fasts.…  Seguir leyendo »