Yep, so today is my first birthday! Or, at least, this blog’s first birthday! So yay!
A year ago, I was bored and frustrated with my research – I had spent years on my thesis, but felt like I was no closer to finishing it, and ever year I spent as a student, I sat back and watched the public narrative about Islam and Muslims get more ridiculous and more corrupted. And I wanted to do something to fix it. I had no idea what to expect when I started this blog – I sort of expected to get chased off by trolls within a few weeks, or to never get any readers whom I didn’t know personally, or just to get bored or distracted and forget about it.
I’m so glad that didn’t happen!
Obviously this blog hasn’t exactly gone viral, and the public narrative about Islam and Muslims is still pretty screwed up, but I’m still proud and excited by this blog. I’ve discovered so many wonderful people and gotten to hear from so many amazing points of view – your questions and comments have sent me investigating new fields and new directions that I probably wouldn’t have ever discovered before, which, in turn, has fueled new discussions and new research – it’s amazing!
But also, I’m so happy to have found a little corner of the internet to discuss religion and history and cultural tradition. As an academic, it gets so easy to feel cut off, to feel like no one else will ever care about the things you love – I am so very, very grateful to have found that that’s not the case, that there are people in the world who care about religious law and transmission history and religious practice, to find people who want to talk (and to listen) about public expressions of religion, who don’t cringe when they hear the words ‘religion’ or ‘sharia’ or ‘Christianity’!
So thank you – I can’t wait to see where this discussion goes next!
 My friends and family read this blog and have contributed to it in the past, and I’m really grateful for their support, but I still feel like them reading it isn’t really the point, as they know me personally and can always ask me questions about Islam. However, on a semi-related note, my mother does, in fact, internet-stalk anyone who leaves mean comments on my blog, so just be warned, if you troll me, my mother will find you. She won’t do anything, she’ll just track you down, for her own entertainment.