Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C.

Shadia: Thank you, readers, for the best year of my life

When John Canalis, editor of Los Angeles Times Community News in Orange County, told me that a column about my life as a Muslim American would make a good read and help people dispel misconceptions about Muslims and Islam, I thought, "Me? No way."

Shadia: Tip-top shape is a must for Islam's boot camp

One of Islam's five pillars is Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Shadia: Let's not empower extremists

When I heard about the shooting of 14-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai by a coward, who must think he's a real man to shoot a teenage girl while on a school bus simply because she wants an education, I felt sick.

Shadia: Support the civilized ads

My name is Mona Shadia, and I am a savage — according to Pamela Geller, that is.

Shadia: Faith is stronger than a film

It is fair to say that last week I was in utter agony, lamenting the hot mess in the Middle East.

Shadia: 9/11 leads to rediscovery of faith

Do you know the feeling when you have a parent or relative that you keep at a distance for one reason or another, but then they become severely ill, and you can't help but forget all your differences and stand beside them?

Shadia: Dishing over questions of faith

One of the reasons I enjoy a happy and fulfilling life is because of the people in it.

Shadia: Pursuing the 'night of power'

Something's been keeping me up at night.

Shadia: A time of faith and festivity too

Do you know how Christmas is supposed to be about faith?

Shadia: 'Taraweh' is Muslims' opera

The other night I struggled to come up with a simple way to describe the magnitude of "taraweh" — the extra prayers performed nightly during Ramadan.

Shadia: The benefits of Ramadan are truly endless

Refraining from food and water all day during Ramadan is not that bad.

Shadia: Refreshing my faith during Ramadan

Ramadan starts Thursday night (insert multiple happy faces here).

Shadia: Loving dogs at a distance

If you've lived near a Muslim or a Middle Eastern family, or if you know one, then you've probably seen them act a little weird around dogs.

Shadia: Five prayers a day is harder than it looks

I struggle to fulfill my commitment to five daily prayers.

Shadia: From 50 prayers a day to five

This might hurt. But once it's over, we'll all feel better.

Shadia: A play on perceptions

Surprise, surprise.

Shadia: Your heart and actions matter, not your appearance

A group of people once brought a drunk man to the Prophet Muhammad, thinking that because alcohol is forbidden he would react harshly.

Shadia: Standing alongside Syrians, if only in spirit

When I was growing up in Cairo, there was a rumor that the Egyptian secret service placed an informant in every neighborhood who knew every little move you made, your family history and what you said about the government.

Shadia: Dreams are coming true in Egypt

Something amazing is happening.

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