I wasn't rebellious. Other friends had far stricter parents and where there wasn't a relationship of respect and communication, they were usually the opposite; kids go to the other extreme.
The hijab, or sikh turban, or Jewish skullcap are all explicit symbols, but they do not represent a threat or affront to others, and have no bearing on the competence, skills and intelligence of a person.
For me, religious festivals and celebrations have become an important way to teach my children about how we can transform living with diversity from the superficial 'I eat ethnic food', to something dignified, mutually respectful and worthwhile.
I do most of my reading on the train ride to and from work. But I always have a book in my handbag so that I can read at any time, anywhere.
To the Muslim woman, the hijab provides a sense of empowerment. It is a personal decision to dress modestly according to the command of a genderless Creator; to assert pride in self, and embrace one's faith openly, with independence and courageous conviction.
In a multicultural, diverse society there are countless ways in which people negotiate the everyday lived experience and reality of diversity.
It is time Australian Muslims stop being treated as negotiable citizens in their own country. It is time people stop 'tolerating' us, presuming some right to decide if we have a place in our own home.
Most Muslim women know it is fear and curiosity that cause people to stare. They know it is ignorance and stereotypes that cause people to suppose that a piece of material covering the hair strips a woman of the ability to speak English, pursue a career, work a remote control.
If I like a book, I tend to read the author's entire collection. But I choose mainly through personal recommendations, general word of mouth and book reviews.
When it comes to the hijab – why to wear it, whether to wear it, how to wear it – there is theology and then there is practice, and there is huge diversity in both.
My family are observant Muslims, but I've come to the faith through an intellectual conviction, and that's something that they've taught me. It's never been forced upon me. They've given me a very strong identity as an Australian Muslim.
One of the first serious attempts I made to write a novel was when I was in Grade 6 and I had read 'Matilda.' I wrote my own version and my teacher had it bound and permitted me to read it to the class – cementing my love of reading, writing and Roald Dahl!
When you exist in the centre of a debate, as a topic, a hypothesis – otherised and stigmatised – you become the prop in a proposition.
A woman's body is her body and what she wears or does not wear is her choice. Get over it and move on.
It seems Palestinians can't win. The language of peace negotiations has always been predicated on a representation that Palestinians are violent and that is why Israel behaves as it does.
We are, at almost every point of our day, immersed in cultural diversity: faces, clothes, smells, attitudes, values, traditions, behaviours, beliefs, rituals.
I've always loved writing, and the impulse for me is storytelling. I don't sit down and think: 'What political message can I sell?' I love the creativity of it.
Spirituality is deeply personal. Yet, society has to face the fact that certain faiths celebrate spirituality through an overt expression of inner convictions.
With my human rights advocacy, that's always been through my writing. I've always tried to write articles and contribute to journals and a lot of online journals – about human rights, especially Palestinian human rights. I find the time to do things to do things I'm passionate about, because I find enjoyment in them. I just have to juggle.
The easiest way for readers to connect with characters and feel sympathy is to make the character entertaining, sympathetic and likeable.
Religious celebrations, and the good will, high spirits and generosity that mark them, are wonderful occasions for understanding the potential of 'everyday multiculturalism', and how people from diverse faiths can connect and show they care, rather than go down parallel, sometimes hostile, roads.