The global trend of Islamophobia is not very pretty. I don’t want to wear it. I don’t want it in my house. I don’t want it in my consciousness, but hints of it float around in my head and I need to deal with it.
I decided that one way to deal with it was to get to know better those who study and practice Islam, the Muslims.
I have Muslim neighbors. They aren’t neighbors in the sense that I can speak to them over the fence. To reach these neighbors, a good fifteen-minute car drive is required, but after hearing so many crude remarks about those people with the “head gear,” I knew the drive would prove valuable.
The head gear is a scarf, a Hijab. A man’s hat is a Kufi.
I’ve had a past encounter with people who study and practice Islam. A few years ago, I visited Marrakech, Morocco. It was a week-long visit. Five times a day, prayers were amplified over loudspeakers. The Muslim people were intermixed with other ethnicities. Everyone was helpful, although their behaviors seemed intense.
Today, it was time to get to know this culture, not as a tourist, but as a human being living on the same planet with them.
Where am I coming from? I’m a Christian. It’s the religion my parents knew and shared with me.
Granted, as an adult, I familiarized myself with the Koran, an English version, and the Prophet Mohammad. The Koran wasn’t that interesting to me. The language took twists and turns that I didn’t take the time to follow. It taught me that the language I used to explain my religion probably isn’t that interesting to others either, and doesn’t make a lot of sense to someone trained to think along a different word pattern.
Three things I realized:
- Languages are relative. They hold no absolute meaning.
- Thought patterns vary, but that doesn’t mean they all patterns are destructive.
- I can’t just think I know someone or something. I have to understand.