When I decided to become Muslim, no one was happy for me. No one smiled, shook my hand, patted me on the back, or gave me a hug. No, they smirked, they laughed, they grimaced, they pursed their lips to imprison the words that nearly escaped. Some let those words free. Each syllable danced on their tongues, their lips violently shifting to conjure up insults, allegations, words of disappointment and hatred. I wished I could cover my face, shield it from the insults. But something stopped me. That something stops us all. Those who kept their lips tight or their face a guise, they were stopped by a knowing of what is right to do, of knowing that what others say isn't as important as what you believe in. And as I stood there, my father's disapproving eyes piercing straight to the heart, my mother's lip-biting clenching my throat closed, I knew my belief in Allah was what would guide me and support me, a buttress to a crumbling building bombarded by bombs and rockets, spewed from the mouths and eyes of those around me. Yet, that feeling extends outside of home, onto the streets, into the classrooms, on national television, movies, books. That stigma to be Muslim, the anti-Islam crusade in America, affects me, an American, a Caucasian, a student, a human being.
Praying Alone- Being Muslim in America
February 2, 2012