​​
 Feeling Muslim

   Addressing the Unique Needs of American Converts to Islam

the presentations

the publications

A Letter to My Converted Sistersby Karla N. Evans, Published by AtlantaMuslim.com, October 31, 2016.


Excerpt: 

​"My dear sisters, do not ever allow anyone to make you feel as though you are not a 'good Muslim' because you are not doing things their way. Maybe you aren't doing something correctly....but we each learn and grow at our own, unique pace - no two people are alike. We are all gradually transitioning in one way or another – and some make these transitions more rapidly than others – doing more and doing it faster does not equate to doing it better – and it certainly does not make a person a better Muslim. Go at your own pace….you know yourself."



2017 Presentations


Masjid al-Qur'an, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Karla N. Kovacik, Feeling Muslim and Madina Institute “American Women Embracing Islam and the Difficult Journey of Cultivating Identity in the Muslim Community”
 Presented at Masjid al-Qur'an USA on March 12, 2017.

​ Topics Covered:
    *the socio-demographic diversity of U.S. converts;
    *that most U.S. converts distinguish between being/becoming Muslim by                  formally taking the shahada, and feeling Muslim; 
    *the diverse ways converts define feeling Muslim;
    *some key factors hindering and nurturing the development of feelings of                  Muslimness;
    *how converts feel about their integration in U.S. Muslim communities;
    *that many American women who embrace Islam have thought about leaving            Islam;
    *how a majority of those surveyed feel about classes specifically for American          converts to Islam;
    * and what Muslim communities around the U.S. can do to help.


Georgia Institute of Technology & Candler School of Theology

Karla N. Kovacik, "American & Muslim?: Responses from U.S. Female Converts to Islam."Presented online for a joint class session on Global Religions between Georgia Tech and the Candler School of Theology (Emory) on February 21, 2017. 


2016 Presentations


Rabata Educational Wing

Karla N. Kovacik, Feeling Muslim and Madina Institute, guest presenter. Presented online for the Rabata course, "Islam in America: From Pre-Columbus to Post 9/11" during a class session on converts to Islam and Latino/a Muslim Americans on November 29, 2016.


American Academy of Religion National Conference, San Antonio, TX

Karla N. Kovacik, "Identity Formation in U.S. Female Converts to Islam: Practices that Nurture or Hinder Feelings of Muslimness."Presented at the American Academy of Religion National Conference in San Antonio, Texas on November 20, 2016. 


Madina Institute USA, Duluth, GA

Karla N. Evans, University of Georgia and Madina Institute “American Women Embracing Islam and the Difficult Journey of Cultivating Identity in the Muslim Community” Presented at Madina Institute USA on October 15, 2016.

​ Topics Covered:
    *the socio-demographic diversity of U.S. converts;
    *that most U.S. converts distinguish between being/becoming Muslim by                  formally taking the shahada, and feeling Muslim; 
    *the diverse ways converts define feeling Muslim;
    *some key factors hindering and nurturing the development of feelings of                  Muslimness;
    *how converts feel about their integration in U.S. Muslim communities;
    *that many American women who embrace Islam have thought about leaving            Islam;
    *how a majority of those surveyed feel about classes specifically for American          converts to Islam;
    * and what Muslim communities around the U.S. can do to help.


Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA
Karla N. Evans, University of Georgia and Madina Institute "Beyond Fear: U.S. Female Converts to Islam."
 Presented as part of the Inaugural Religion Speaker Series at Georgia Gwinnett College on April 13, 2016.

  Topics Covered:
    * Learn about women and Islam in America
    * How do American Muslim women articulate their identity in their own words?
    * How can we overcome Islamophobia?
    * Why are U.S. women converting to Islam?
    * Islam as multicultural 
    * Lots of time for questions and discussion


American Academy of Religion Western Region Conference, Tucson, AZ

Karla N. Evans, University of Georgia and Madina Institute “Identity Formation in U.S. Female Converts to Islam: Practices that Hinder Feelings of Muslimness.” Presented at the American Academy of Religion Western Region Conference in Tucson, Arizona at the University of Arizona on April 2, 2016. 


2015 Presentations



Muslim Student Association, University of Georgia, Athens.

Karla N. Evans, University of Georgia. Presented personal story of conversion to Islam in the Post-9/11 United States


2014 Presentations

The Religious Diversity Program, University of Georgia, Athens.

Karla N. Evans, University of Georgia. Presented information about Islam as part of a student education series on the similarities in attire between various religious traditions entitled, "Wearing Religion."


2013 Presentations

20th Annual Institute for Women’s Studies Student Research Symposium - Feminist Research Across the Disciplines, University of Georgia, Athens.

Karla N. Evans, University of Georgia. Presented  – "A Mother's Cry: My Post-9/11 Conversion Experience."


Abstract: An understanding of Islamophobia has become essential to understanding Islam in America post-9/11. Islamophobia directly relates to hate crimes, racial profiling, discrimination, and unsolicited violence that many Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants to the U.S. face. While there is a growing amount of research treating the effects of Islamophobia on Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants in the U.S., research on the effects of Islamophobia on American converts to Islam is lacking. Understanding the struggles of American citizens who convert to Islam is necessary for an in-depth knowledge of Islam in America, especially post-9/11. Many U.S. converts to Islam suffer isolation from within the Muslim community and simultaneously, often find themselves isolated, rejected, and harassed by friends, and shockingly, even their own families due to their conversion. By hearing the plight of one American female convert to Islam, an understanding of the struggles faced by U.S. converts to Islam will emerge, and the negative impact of Islamophobia on the lives of ordinary American citizens, who just happen to be Muslim, will become clear. This is not a sob story. This is a story about how Islamophobia led my parents to attempt to take full, permanent, and sole custody of my son because I converted to Islam.


Open Dialog & the UGA Muslim Student Association - First Impressions: Breaking Stereotypes of Muslims, University of Georgia, Athens.

Karla N. Evans, University of Georgia. Presented information on Islamophobia and how it negatively affects American converts to Islam and the broader American Muslim community.


As American as Apple Pie: U.S. Female Converts to Islam by Karla N. Evans, Published by U.S. Studies Online (USSO), the webspace of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS), July 22, 2015. 


Excerpt:


"These responses paint an intimate portrait of the thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and hopes of American female converts to Islam from across the spectrum. The responses provide a glimpse into the lives of U.S. female converts that has previously been largely inaccessible, demonstrating the frustration of those respondents who are eager to help and feel their “gifts” are of no use or that they are “invisible,” while other responses portray converts who are integrated in their respective Muslim communities, and even providing beneficial services within those communities. However, the number of U.S. female converts who expressed feeling lonely and isolated far outnumbered those who reported the opposite."

the

presentations & publications