We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir


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How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don't exist?

Samra Habib has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, she faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From her parents, she internalized the lesson that revealing her identity could put her in grave danger.

When her family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, her need for a safe space--in which to grow and nurture her creative, feminist spirit--became dire. The men in her life wanted to police her, the women in her life had only shown her the example of pious obedience, and her body was a problem to be solved.

So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one's truest self.

Title:We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir
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    We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir Reviews

  • Michael

    Swiftly recounts the photographer-writer's youth in Pakistan, coming of age in Canada, and quest to come to terms with her sexuality on her own terms as a queer Muslim. The writing's solid but feels s...

  • Brenda ~Traveling Sister is frustrated with GR

    We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir is the winner of 2020 Canada reads battling in Canada’s battle of the books for the title of the one book the country should read. I have to admit I ...

  • CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    An amazing memoir. Habib recounts her childhood as an Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan, where her family had to hide to stay safe in the face of Islamic extremists and then how this pattern of hiding combine...

  • Alex

    2.5 rounded upCANADA READS SHORTLISTED On the one hand, this is a compelling coming of age memoir about holding multiple conflicting identities and negotiating them into one's self. Habib, a Pakistani...

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Samra Habib, artist and activist, did not want to sacrifice her identity as a Muslim when she came out. This is her story of her journey and how she found community. I found it uplifting! And this is ...

  • Saajid Hosein

    This was a really well written and thought provoking memoir. I felt such a deep emotional connection to Samra's experience....

  • Meena Khan

    This book is very misleading if you are interested in learning about Islam. Please don't use this book as your reference point. For example, when the writer describes the differences between Shia and ...

  • Basma

    I have been a fan of Samra Habib's work since a few years back. I think I first stumbled upon her writing in The Guardian and later found myself on tumblr looking at her photo projects. So you can say...

  • Susan

    While I enjoyed learning about Ms. Habib and would love to see her photography, I would not say this book was much of an exploration as stated in the summary. For despite being presented as a memoir, ...

  • Krista

    When I asked Zainab what advice she would give to young queer Muslims who are looking for support and community, her response gave me chills. I still turn to her words for motivation:“We have alw...