New Mainers Speak 03/29/2014


New Mainers Speak 03/29/2014


Kate Manahan



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Special WMPG Women’s History Month day of programming. Host Kate Manahan sits down with the officers of the University of Southern Maine Muslim Students Association: Hawo Mohamed, Hani Ali, Salma Hassan, Hawa Shur. All four were born shortly before or after their families moved to Portland from Somalia or Afghanistan, and all were educated in the Portland Public Schools.

They discuss the differences between the terms “girl” and “woman,” including discussions they had about the topic with their mothers and grandmothers; comparisons of their experiences growing up in Portland and their relatives growing up in Somalia or Afghanistan; their experiences as women of color in Portland; cultural differences between the US and Somalia/Afghanistan; and discussions they’ve had on the topic in their USM classes.

They also discuss the 2014 USM budget cuts and their impact on women at USM, including the impacts of faculty layoffs on representation for women and women of color; cutting programs; ideas for student input; and students’ demonstrations in response to the cuts.

Song plays from 22:14-24:54.

The group then discusses their experiences of being Muslim at USM, and the impact of the Muslim Students’ Association, including the Eid reception for the end of Ramadan; their experiences reviving the group; bake sales and other fundraisers; making themselves available for conversations and questions about Islam with the wider USM community; and USM’s Muslim student population.

Finally, they discuss the impact of Islam on their lives. Topics covered include Islam as a way of life; Islam as a bridge their American and Somali/Afghan identities; ritual of praying five times a day (including as a USM student); similarities between prayer and yoga/meditation; US misconceptions about Islam; Muslims from around the world. They agree that the most important thing listeners should know about Islam is that Muslim women are not oppressed, and that Islam encourages women’s rights and equality. They also discuss their mosques in Portland, and the culture surrounding mosque attendance, including different classes, resources, and events available through their mosques.

Publication Date



WMPG 90.9 FM


Portland, Maine


WMPG, community radio, college radio, New Mainers Speak, Kate Manahan, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, Portland, New Mainers, Women’s History Month, University of Southern Maine, Muslim Students Association, panel discussion, Somalia, Afghanistan, Hawo Mohamed, Hani Ali, Salma Hassan, Hawa Shur, Portland Public Schools, girl, woman, women of color, USM budget cuts, faculty layoffs, student protest, Eid, Ramadan, prayer, Maine mosques, women’s rights, gender equality, Islamic Society of Portland, Quran, masjid, Muslim Interscholastic Tournament; community resources


Song plays 22:14-24:54.

New Mainers Speak 03/29/2014