Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm sorry, did I scare you?

"Islam is a cancer to the world. Sadly, it will, eventually, come down to either them or us. I just hope it comes to a head before they can destroy the US from the inside-out."
I found this on a discussion board that I like to frequent. Sadly, this is just one of many quotes I have begun to see in increasing frequency. In my free time, I like to peruse different blogs and discussion boards in search of insight from many different perspectives. Maybe it's a microcosm of my raising. I was raised in a family where my blood comes from two faiths. Although I am very proud to call myself a Muslim, I have also dedicated myself to learning and understanding the ways of other religions. I think growing up, my religion was always sort of a novelty to others. Here I was, regular Joe Schmo. No accent, no exotic wardrobe, no excessive body hair... well OK, maybe that one. I was definitely not the guy you saw walking down the street and instantly in your mind labeled "Muslim" or "Arab." Then the towers fell. Two beacons of our nation's prosperity, rising towards the heavens themselves, felled in one swoop. Along with those towers fell the lives of countless fellow Americans, just trying to work another day to put another meal on the table. Then came the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Regardless of your stance on the war itself, many brave men, good men, have laid down their lives fighting for OUR nation. As of late, we have seen Israel and Iran going back and forth with threats of nuclear weapons and retribution. Not a good combination.
One of the groups who have faced much tribulation in these times is the Muslim American. I tend to avoid using terms like Muslim American, African American, etc. as I believe they pack us all into neat little packages, and take ways from the unique qualities of individuals. As time has passed however, the hijab atop your head, or the dark skin or even just walking out of a mosque has brought forth labels nobody should ever be given without proof. Muslims in America are no longer a novelty. They come from the same place all these terrorists come from. If it looks like a terrorist, smells like a terrorist, then it's gotta be a terrorist, right? We scare people, for reasons not of our own doing. Well I'm sorry, did I scare you? Let me tell you about me, so that maybe I won't frighten you so much.
I shop at your grocery store. Hell, I go to the same convenience store because I know they've always got the freshest Copenhagen. My kids will go to school with your kids. We interact with one another in our community. Personally, I might be the guy doing your taxes next year. We sit next to each other at Aggie football games, yellin our asses off. Maybe I don't eat pork at the tailgate, but I'm there, and I probably know just as much or more about the goings on in Aggie football than most.
But I'm a Muslim. Everything I do in life is to glorify God(Allah)swf. I'll take my kids to the mosque and they learn the same things I was taught as a youngster, which is probably a whole lot different than what you think it is. I am personally against abortion, I think kids should be able to pray in school if they want to, and I think the moral climate of our nation isn't where it should be. I believe in God, Family, and Country. I pay my taxes, vote, go to jury duty, and celebrate OUR nation just like you do. Did you know that on May 1, 1776, a Syrian immigrant was killed fighting for his adopted nation's independence? Did you know that Muslim and Arab Americans have fought in every major U.S. conflict since? You can believe what you want to believe about the religion I follow. This is America, it's your right. But when you say you're an American, it doesn't mean any more than when I or any other American who also happens to be Muslim says it.
Alot of Muslim Americans are afraid of folks who say things like this. You scare them just as much as they apparently scare you. They don't want you to give them trouble. When you say things like this, it frightens them. "We're first generation Americans, we dont want any trouble. We don't want to rock the boat." Well, more Muslims need to come out and say ignorant statements like this don't scare me. You can't control whom I pray to just like I can't control what you think of my religion. But I will say this. Folks who judge others by labels such as religion, race, or creed don't get very far in this country. Never have, never will. That's why intolerant backwards and ignorant "Muslims" who resort to tyranny and terror will never get anywhere on these shores. Because we dont let people treat others like that in this nation, at least not for long.
So in short, think what you will. But before you tell me that that the faith that I hold so dear is a "cancer," get to know me first. Meet me at our grocery store, or at our kid's baseball game. Come see me at your local mosque if you can't find me anywhere else. Know me and what Islam has made me, and then make your judgement.

1 comment:

TexasAggieWes said...

What the hell Moose, know you're dipping Copenhagen? You need to cut that shit out.