NOVEMBER GIVING CAMPAIGN — Meet Maimoona. Immigrant. Muslim. Columnist.
Throughout November we’ll be introducing you to the columnists you read everyday on SpokaneFāVS.com. Their words are making a difference in Spokane, and we hope you’ll be inspired to support our work of building community and bridging divisions by making a gift to FāVS today!
By Cassy Benefield
The Muslim name Maimoona means “safe” and “trustworthy” in Arabic.
For Maimoona Harrington, a columnist for SpokaneFāVs.com, that name fits her approach to writing from her distinct Muslim perspective. Her columns touch on feminism, abortion, a Muslim woman’s decision to wear or not wear a hijab and so much more.
While she says she tends to shy away from controversial subjects, if she does broach them — in addition to making her pieces safe and trustworthy — she makes sure they exhibit deep compassion.
For instance, one of the questions asked in the FāVS’ Ask a Muslim series was how a Muslim views same-gender attraction. As one of the writers for this series, Harrington explained that although their faith does not see same-sex marriage as an acceptable practice, she wrote that it’s up to each individual to decide between them and their creator.
“You have to go through a little bit of compassion by showing that, at the end of the day, I feel like it’s your choice,” Harrington said. “Yes, God has given us guidance and everything, too, but at the end of the day, he has given us our individuality. And he’s left it to us, and we are only answerable to him, nobody else. So that’s how I put it.”
Harrington emigrated from Pakistan to America, Kansas, specifically, in 2008. Before this, she worked with her long-time friend and former British Airways colleague, Naghmana Sherazi, who lives in Spokane and has also written columns for FāVS over the years.
It was through Sherazi that Harrington was introduced to FāVS five years ago. In the course of catching up with her friend, Harrington shared with her how she wanted to write about what it is like being a Muslim in America, to be able to share her experience across cultures.
“I want the communities here, or the Americans here, to know about us in a different way,” Harrington said. “I fear that because our communities are so uptight about holding on to their beliefs and articles and they’re worried that they get little bit loose, you know, they will lose everything and I think we should show them what we are.”
Sherazi told her about FāVS, and the rest is history.
What Harrington appreciates most about being able to write for SpokaneFāVS is the chance to explore a middle ground of understanding between different faiths.
“Because when you go online in the media, there are two extremes. One is defending Islam and one is against Islam. There’s not a middle ground I see anywhere,” she said.
She also thinks FāVS also offers people a safe place to explore both the good and bad of their religious traditions and to let other people ask their questions and to read columnists’ responses.
“People should start taking a little bit of criticism to their religion. People get so defensive,” she said. “There is no harm [in letting] people talk about [your religion], and then you have a chance to explain the way you feel instead of having those two extreme opinions all the time.”
Will you make a financial gift to FāVS today? Because joining us in building community and bridging divisions is making the Inland Northwest a better place.
Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a ‘y’) Benefield is a wife and mother, a writer and photographer and a huge fan of non-fiction. She has traveled all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (2004-2006) to Romania where she mainly taught Conversational English. She received her bachelor’s in journalism from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, California. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a religion nerd who is prone to buy more books, on nearly any topic, than she is ever able to read. She is the managing editor of SpokaneFāVS.com.