The Muslim next door


“Why can’t we all coexist?!? I am tried of the hate and the judgments! It makes me feel so torn…I am a Muslim and I am an American and I am Egyptian, but in the end I am a HUMAN and Allah (God) made us all to COEXIST!”  This was a recent status  update on my friend’s Facebook profile and it grabbed my attention .  Hanan, this post is especially dedicated to you.

Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door

The above video featured by CNN highlights the reality of post-911 America. These days Muslims Americans have had to constantly have to defend their religious practices.  It is very unfortunate that throughout history, there has to be a group of people that are targeted specifically for their religion, color, or ethnicity. It used to be the Japanese, then African-Americans, now it is Muslims (imagine being African-American AND Muslim!). 

Perhaps we (Muslims) should think of taking a page out of the advertisers handbook…..we should take the responsibility of rebranding our image so to speak. How can you, (the Muslim) engineer, doctor, writer, artist, teacher, housewife, etc, contribute your skills and talents to enhance the Muslim image in the West?  My friend had expressed the need to learn more about Islam before taking up the responsibility of educating the public about Islam.  I agree..to a certain degree.  I happen to think that the best way to learn is to engage.  In other words, go out there and mingle with the public.  Volunteer in your local community, diversify your group of friends.  Talking about the virtues of Islam is great, but how about modelling the virtues of Islam?

The terrible events of 911 instilled a great sense of fear in the hearts and minds of Americans. The media feeds us fear.  And we have become very scared of the unknown, a reminder of our own mortality. Unfortunately the fear of the unknown has further fueled the xenophobia that has become so pervasive in our great country.  

As an American, nothing gives me greather pride than my right to practise my faith the way I see fit.  Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers said “among the inestimable of our blessings, also, is that …of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will”. 

I believe firmly that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. Just as Muslims are under fire in America, people of other faiths are also harrased for practising their faiths in other parts of the world. To my Muslim brothers and sisters, will we stand by those persecuted people the same way our fellow Americans have stood up for us in our time of need?

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7 thoughts on “The Muslim next door

  1. Dear Global Muslim Woman,

    Yet again!, You never fail to impress me.

    There is a lot of misconceptions about Islam out there, and mainly caused by media.
    You have said it all “G.M.W”
    ….. and to answer your question I say “YES WE WLL” ….

    I can’t agree more… “the best way to learn IS to engage.”
    Its our responsibility (Muslim brothers and sisters,) to learn about Islam and to practise Islam so as educate the non- Muslims by our good virtuous actions. Its through our actions that we can portray the true characteristics of the Muslim Next Door and prove the media wrong.

    Jazakallah

    …….. more please

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  2. love it!! so true we need to change the images of 9/11. I try to help others whenever i can and to remove the notion of being oppressed or stupid or the negative stereotype that pertains to muslim women.if we all try to do the pass it forward and help others maybe people will see we r not terrorist but humans to! I have a share fair of discrimination but it doesnt stop me. every day i try to prove I am a muslim and I am a woman but above all am not a terrorist and i am as normanl as the next person in the world!

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  3. Well I told you’d I watch out for this and you did not disappoint. I do just want to say one thing. When I said I wanted to learn more, I was not saying I would not engage people and interact. I only meant still feel the need to grow as a muslim. Sometimes what I know is hard to communicate verbally for me, not to mention that sometimes you just don’t have enough knowledge to backup what you believe. So I’ve been educating myself. If I’m approached (wearing hejab; you’re almost always approached with questions) I have no problem answering questions and I have no problem saying “you know what, that’s a good question, I’d have to look into that to be able to answer that question correctly.” Also I believe in wearing hejab and going out the store, playground with your kids, or anywhere and representing islam through your behavior. But the question you asked me is still the hardest for me to answer how do I personally use my skills to “rebrand Islam”(I really like and I am stealing that btw, LOL). Do I start a site or do I make flyers and post them around town?!? I have been thinking about it since you asked and will continue to do so. I ask Allah everyday to guide me to the right path.

    As for you other question…I love the philosophy of “Live and Let Live” I believe in Dawa but I believe in doing it in the right place at the right time and in the right way, which is not pushing on someone and making them feel uncomfortable or degrading them or what they practice, I believe that only Allah has the power to guide someone to islam. So yes I would stand up 100% by my fellow Americans(or anyone in the world really) to defend there right to practice what they choose. Because injustice and discrimination is intolerable for all and because in the end only Allah has the right to judge.

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  4. Ignorance is the answer to the question why can’t we all co-exist.

    Bob marley sang ‘Only a fool leans upon his own misunderstanding’. If you do not make any effort to know, then you shall forever perish in darkness. The quran asks ‘Are those who know and those who don’t (know) equal?’. Certainly not.

    Thomas Jefferson taught himself arabic with his copy of quran that he had and held the first ever iftar in the white house. John Adams described Muhammad (s.a.w) as the number one inquirer after truth. Benjamin Franklin once said even if the mufti of constantinople were to send a preacher to propagate mohammedism, he would found a pulpit waiting for him. These were America’s founding fathers and their actions speak loud about Islam .

    People misconcieve Islam as a religion that hates women, violent and detests scientific progress. They think we hate our women because we cover them in hijab and forget that they have nuns who cover themselves as our women. Why do the nuns do as such? And don’t they consider theirs holy?

    Hinduism took over a thousand years to propagate, christianity took almost five hundred years to grow, so why did Islam take only hundred years to move different corners of the world if it’s not by the sword? They ask themselves. What they don’t know is Jihad has ‘Don’ts ‘ : no killing of women, children, elderly, animals, no cutting of trees etc.. So now what do they have to say about their crusaders who were going round killing anyone they come across? Burning everything in their way?

    How can we be against scientific progress when algebra was as a result of a muslim scholar? What about the geography? Architecture?

    They think all muslims are arabs! 61.9 goddam of us are not in the middle east!

    Ignorance breeds hate my sister!

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