We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir

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Penguin Canada, 2019 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
A CANADA READS 2020 SELECTION
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How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don't exist?

Samra Habib has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, she faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From her parents, she internalized the lesson that revealing her identity could put her in grave danger.

When her family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, her need for a safe space--in which to grow and nurture her creative, feminist spirit--became dire. The men in her life wanted to police her, the women in her life had only shown her the example of pious obedience, and her body was a problem to be solved.

So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one's truest self.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

I'm glad I read this book because it showed me a side of Islam that I was not familiar with. The author is queer (to use her own term), yet attached to her faith, and she finds that she is not alone ... Read full review

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Seeking a foundation rooted in home, family, and faith, journalist and photographer Habib explores her identity in a sincere debut that’s articulate in its depiction of the immigrant experience but ... Read full review

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About the author (2019)

SAMRA HABIB is a writer, photographer, and activist. As a journalist she's covered topics ranging from fashion trends and Muslim dating apps to the rise of Islamophobia in the US. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Advocate, and her photo project, "Just Me and Allah," has been featured in Nylon, i-D, Vanity Fair Italia, Vice, and The Washington Post. She works with LGBTQ organizations internationally, raising awareness of issues that impact queer Muslims around the world. We Have Always Been Here is her first book.

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