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August 23, 2012

MWA Celebrates Ramadan 2012 Blog Project Resounding Success

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"MWA extends Eid greetings to one-and-all, and appreciation to the viewers who supported this year's campaign. May the peace and blessings of Ramadan remain within us until we meet again in 2013, insha'Allah" – MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz


PRLog (Press Release) - Aug 23, 2012 - Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) is thrilled to announce that its 2012 MWA Celebrates Ramadan blogging campaign was a resounding success!

During Ramadan 2012, the MWA Celebrates Ramadan blog project, featuring member experiences, poetry, recipes and photos, more than doubled the amount of page views in a single month alone over the number it had accumulated throughout the previous year.

MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz, would like to express appreciation to the following MWA Celebrates Ramadan blog project contributors: Asma Zaman, Eren Cervantes-Altamirano, Farah Kinani, Isahah Janette Grant, Jennifer Infante, Jennifer Kabir, Khulood Arendse, Nancy Biddle, Rasha El Khateeb, Saba N. Taylor, Sariya Contractor and Zainab John.

Top posts included: Asma Zaman's reflections and remembrance on Ramadan, Farah Kinani's Ramadan resolution, Janette Grant's inspirational post on how to connect in Ramadan, and Jennifer Infante's favorite Iftar recipe: Mediterranean rosemary herb lemon chicken.

Special thanks is also extended to MWA Member Coordinator Isahah Janette Grant for cross-publishing several of the MWA's Ramadan blog posts at

Additionally, MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz, was invited to give a brief radio interview on MWA's Ramadan Buddy 2012 Quit Smoking campaign ( The Indonesian language article is available online at and has been viewed nearly 2,000 times to-date.

Indonesia's leading mainstream publication, Republika, also published the VOA article at

To round-off the second annual MWA Celebrates Ramadan campaign a YouTube video ( has been added to the blog providing a visualization of the Eid prayer via Egypt together with the traditional Eid Takbir as the soundtrack. A commercial photo album of the event was also published at the London-based photojournalist site, Demotix (

"On behalf of the membership, I would like to extend Eid greetings to one-and-all, and appreciation the viewers who supported the 2012 MWA Celebrates Ramadan campaign. May the peace and blessings of Ramadan remain within us all until we meet again in 2013, insha'Allah," stated Schwartz.

Learn more about the activities of MWA members at or visit the MWA Press Room at

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August 17, 2012

VIDEO: VOA Interviews Aishah Schwartz on MWA Ramadan Buddy Quit Smoking Campaign (Indonesian w/English translated article)

News / U.S. / Ramadan 1433 H
Women's groups new convert U.S. Anti-Smoking Campaign During Ramadan 
Muslimah Writers Alliance, an organization of women writers American converts, during Ramadan campaign to urge the Muslims to stop smoking. 

Translated from Indonesian to English

Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA), an organization of women writers Internet-based Muslim convert, has many programs throughout the month of Ramadan. One is the campaign's Ramadan or Ramadan Buddy. Through this program, MWA called on Muslims to stop smoking.

Aishah Schwartz, Egyptian-American who converted in 2002, MWA Director, said, "The purpose of this campaign is to remind Americans that Muslims have a new friend of ours who converted to Islam. So that they know, they are not alone in this Ramadan."

Aishah Schwartz added, "So that's the idea initially. Thus the first two years of this campaign. Then, in the third year, I had an idea to also encourage people to quit smoking through this campaign. Insha Allah."

A Buddy Ramadan is a Muslim sister who also wanted to quit smoking, so the two new friends who can remind each other to abandon bad habits, while supporting each other in facing the challenges of fasting and in life as a Muslim. "I urge residents Muslims, especially those who are born Muslim, raised in a Muslim family, or grew up in Muslim-majority country, to be more aware of the presence of new people who embraced Islam.

Also for those who would like to invite people to become Muslims, what can we do after that person becomes Muslim? Let us support them, we give the spirit, and we try to make them feel part of the family. Because many people who change their religion, to be ignored by their own families. If a campaign such as Ramadan Buddy can give little positive impact in order to make the converts do not feel alone, then I think that's a success,"said Schwartz again.

A person who participates in this program, only to meet Ramadan Buddy was two to three times a week. All you need do is contact Buddy Ramadan. Thus the converts do not feel alone in the fasting and more committed to stopping smoking.

Indonesian version  

Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA), organisasi penulis perempuan mualaf yang berbasis internet, memiliki banyak program sepanjang bulan Ramadan. Salah satunya adalah kampanye Teman Ramadan atau Ramadan Buddy. Melalui program ini, MWA mengimbau Muslim agar berhenti merokok.

Aishah Schwartz, warga Amerika keturunan Mesir yang menjadi mualaf tahun 2002, Direktur MWA, mengatakan, “Tujuan kampanye ini adalah untuk mengingatkan warga Muslim Amerika bahwa ada teman kita yang baru memeluk agama Islam. Agar mereka tahu, mereka tidak sendiri dalam bulan Ramadan ini."

Aishah Schwartz menambahkan, "Jadi itulah gagasan awalnya. Demikian adanya dalam dua tahun pertama kampanye ini. Lalu, pada tahun ketiga, saya punya gagasan untuk sekaligus mendorong orang agar berhenti merokok melalui kampanye ini. Insya Allah.”

Seorang Ramadan Buddy adalah saudari Muslim yang juga ingin berhenti merokok, sehingga dua orang yang baru berteman ini dapat saling mengingatkan untuk meninggalkan kebiasaan buruk itu, sementara saling mendukung dalam menghadapi tantangan berpuasa dan dalam menjalani hidup sebagai muslim.

“Saya mengimbau warga muslim, terutama mereka yang dilahirkan sebagai Muslim, dibesarkan di lingkungan keluarga Muslim, atau tumbuh di negara mayoritas Islam, agar lebih sadar dengan adanya orang-orang yang baru memeluk Islam. Juga bagi mereka yang ingin mengajak orang untuk menjadi Islam, apa yang dapat kita lakukan setelah orang itu menjadi Islam? Mari kita dukung mereka, kita beri semangat, dan kita upayakan agar mereka merasa bagian dari keluarga. Karena banyak orang yang pindah agama, menjadi tidak dipedulikan oleh keluarga mereka sendiri. Jika sebuah kampanye seperti Ramadan Buddy dapat memberi sedikit saja dampak positif agar dapat membuat para mualaf tidak merasa seorang diri, maka menurut saya, itulah sukses, ” papar Schwartz lagi.

Seseorang yang berpartisipasi dalam program ini, hanya perlu bertemu Ramadan Buddy-nya dua sampai tiga kali seminggu. Yang perlu dilakukan hanyalah menghubungi Ramadan Buddy. Dengan demikian para mualaf tidak merasa sendiri dalam menjalani ibadah puasa dan lebih berkomitmen untuk berhenti merokok.
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August 07, 2012

MWA's Eren Cervantes-Altamirano shares a Ramadan memory via Muslimah Media Watch

Edmonton’s Al-Rashid Mosque. Image via Flickr.
The First Ramadan

By Eren Cervantes-Altamirano

Six years ago, I moved from Mexico City to Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. Although I moved here to study, my trip to the north resulted to be a whole religious experience. Having grown up in a nuclear family that had left Catholicism and had sought dogmatic atheism, I was largely unfamiliar with religious diversity. Thus, coming to Canada quickly sparked my curiosity, and here I am six years later with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies.

My first contact with Islam was when I was still learning English at the University of Alberta. Since Alberta is the centre of petroleum exploration and petroleum engineering education in Canada, I studied in classes where half my classmates were from Saudi Arabia and the other half from China. My first encounters with Saudi classmates, especially males, were quite frustrating. Many of them felt the need to show some kind of pious superiority, while others felt attacked in an environment where their religion was often being connected to 9/11. (Click here to read the rest at Muslim Media Watch)

Eren Arruna Cervantes is a University student in Canada. She specializes in gender politics and feminist religious movements, particularly Islamic Feminism. She is a convert to Islam since 2009 and hopes to become an Islamic scholar in the future. In addition to being a member of Muslimah Writers Alliance, Eren also writes for Muslmah Media Watch and hosts a travel blog.