Don’t Call It a Mosque

From women-only congregations to the Tumblr Imam, a new generation of Muslim Americans is practicing Islam their own way.

If you had told me, five or 10 years ago, that in the near future I’d find myself standing among an all-female Muslim congregation in a former synagogue-turned-multifaith space in East Los Angeles, I would have had trouble believing you. Five years ago, the idea of a women-only mosque seemed like an impossibility—the kind of project that would suffer far harsher criticism than it was worth.

But just last month, I prayed my Friday prayers as the California sunlight streamed in through stained-glass windows bearing the Star of David, standing side by side with other Muslim women from all over Los Angeles County. Edina Lekovic, a representative from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a prominent public figure in the local Muslim community, offered the Women’s Mosque of America its inaugural sermon, or “khutbah,” standing at a podium between two banners bearing the name of God and his Prophet, Mohammad.

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Why Is America's Transportation System Stuck in the 1950s?

For anyone interested in getting around without a car, the new transportation legislation holds nothing but bad news.

The House of Representatives is starting work on the next big transportation bill this week, unveiling the proposed text Tuesday and marking it up today. For anyone interested in getting around without a car, the legislation holds nothing but bad news. It zeroes out funding for biking and walking infrastructure and cuts Amtrak’s budget by 25 percent, while lavishing care on cars and the highways that carry them using revenues from increased gas and oil drilling. The only silver lining is that it does not cut funding for mass transit.

The Republicans that control the House have never pretended to like alternative modes of transportation. But while the Senate’s bipartisan bill doesn’t scorn biking and walking and train-taking with quite the same verve, it still favors cars above all other forms of transportation. While Americans are moving towards a multi-modal transportation future, Congress is focused on shoring up a system designed in the 1950s to enable Cold War-era military movements and to please the auto industry. That system needs patching (its bridges, in particular), and fixing its creaking joints should, as Republicans promise, create jobs. But by prioritizing highways, the country is missing an opportunity to build a system that reflects the preferences and needs of today’s travelers.

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